WHAT DOES YOUR WEEK LOOK LIKE?
When searching for time to learn, it is a good idea to first analyse your activities throughout the week. What do you spend time on each day? Is the answer to this question obvious? Not necessarily. Usually, you know how much time you spend working, especially if you work full time. The matter can get a bit complicated, though, when working time is counted by a freelancer. Do you have the impression that you sit down to a project at dawn and finish your work after dark? Think about what you are doing during this time, apart from working.
It will be much easier to find time to study once you write down how many hours you spend each day on work, commuting, eating, how many hours a week you spend in the gym, how much time you spend doing homework with children, on entertainment, Netflix or reading books.
PRIORITIES AND TIME FOR LEARNING
After writing down the activities for the whole week, think about those which are necessary at the moment. You are learning German, but you have the idea of trying a bit of Chinese? Establish a hierarchy. Which language is more important at the moment, for professional and personal reasons? Make a note of why the course is important to you – such notes may be useful when planning the next steps in your personal development.
If you find an activity that is not necessary, and it is placed lower in the hierarchy than the new language course, you will be able to integrate this course in its place. As you can see, when looking for time to learn (languages and other things) it is very important to understand your own schedule and prioritise skillfully.
TO LEARNING! READY, STEADY, GO
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Well, there is certainly a grain of truth in this saying. If you want to find time to learn, you must always be ready to absorb knowledge. When there is an unexpected “hole” in your schedule, you should be on the alert. Don’t waste this moment. It’s a gift worth using.
Cancelled meeting, someone running late? Are you waiting for the doctor, the bus is stuck in a traffic jam? Instead of fretting, reach for the headphones and recordings in a foreign language, start listening to a podcast or do a quick revision of words from SuperMemo. Now the Internet is available almost everywhere, so you have plenty of language opportunities at your disposal whenever the opportunity arises.
HOW CAN I FIND TIME TO LEARN? ANSWER: IMMERSION
Try to integrate language learning into daily activities which you normally do in your native language. Then you won’t have to rearrange your day at all. Time to learn will be found by itself!
Do you like reading? Reach for original, foreign-language literature. Start with simplified, abridged versions of your favourite books.
During your journey to work or school – in the car, bus, tram or on the bike – instead of listening to the radio in your language, turn on Spanish or French audiobooks. At home, from time to time replace Polish news programmes with news programmes from Great Britain or the United States, or from another country (the Internet allows you to get news from all over the world).
Are you at the cinema? You don’t have to set aside time to learn the language, just don’t read the subtitles when you’re watching a foreign language film. At home, try watching movies with subtitles, and, if you feel up to it, without subtitles at all!
You definitely spend a lot of time on the Internet and using electronic devices. It’s time to change the interface from your native language to a foreign one – it’s that simple! You will still do what you want to, but you will also be able to improve your Spanish or German and so on. As you can see, sometimes the answer to the question of how to find time to learn a language can be trivial.
TIME TO LEARN? TIME FOR COMMUNICATION!
There are certainly lots of people around you who are learning languages. Make use of it. Kill two birds with one stone. Instead of looking for time to study between appointments, arrange a meeting where you can talk in Spanish, or another language over coffee. Do your roommates speak foreign languages? Make a rule that one day a week, you switch to communication in a language other than your mother tongue. To become fluent in a given language, passive learning is not enough. You have to use the language, so get to work!
LANGUAGE LEARNING IN SMALL STEPS
Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to them consistently. When you establish a clear path, it will be easier to find time to learn, because you will know exactly what you want to achieve. Remember that you don’t have to study for hours to achieve satisfactory results – just reserve 20 minutes a day. There is great power in mini sessions! SuperMemo focuses on learning in small portions, but served up regularly. See for yourself how much you can learn in a month by spending only about a quarter of an hour a day on it. Those who are persistent and systematic will be able to learn and acquire almost a thousand new words during this time! It really is possible, and so is finding time to study, even on a tight schedule.