School, work, volunteering, family commitments… Our schedules get packed up pretty quickly. So how can you find the time to study a language? Adding yet another activity to your day may seem unfeasible. And yet… anything is possible! With a little organization, patience, and the right method, you can achieve anything. In this video, Luca gives you some tips to help you carve out time in your already busy schedule!
5 Tricks to Find the Time to Study a Language
“How do you find the time to study languages?” That’s a question people ask me all the time. Especially when I explain that despite a demanding job, my wonderful wife and two sons, and my many interests, I study languages every single day. So if you’re having trouble finding the time to learn, or if you think you’re too busy to learn a language, hold tight for some tips and tricks to solve your problems.
1. Define your priorities
It’s all a matter of priorities. If you have a passion, you don’t count the hours you spend on it. I deliberately find the time to study languages because it’s one of my priorities. And one of my passions. With everything crammed into my schedule, I know that my time is limited every day, so I prefer focusing on the activities that are really important to me. I know that if I need to, I can go a day without TV, without video games or social media. But ask me to skip my language practice for a day… it’s a no from me!
Here’s a pro tip: write down your priorities and refer to the list every morning before you start your day. This way, you’ll be sure you don’t get distracted by other, less important activities.
2. If you can’t find the time to study, learn to make time
I hear people complaining all the time about not having the time to do this or that activity. While I can certainly relate to this feeling, my answer is always: learn to make time! Everyone has the same amount of time, whether they’re in Africa, Asia, Europe, the city, the countryside or a lost corner of the world. 24 hours, or 1440 minutes. Some people do 10 times more than others in that same amount of time. But how do they manage it? There’s no secret: they take the time. You are the master of your day and your time. If you want to find the time to study a language, it’s as simple as that.
Don’t hesitate to prioritize your activities and deliberately decide how to spend your hours. They are valuable and, as I said, limited. So it’s important to do this daily. One of the best ways to go about this is to take your calendar and book certain time slots for the activities you care about, like learning a language. There’s no need to lock yourself away for several hours in a row to study. Take a look at our method, which is based on learning a language in short sessions (10 to 15 minutes per day).
There are several ways to schedule time, and one of them is definitely to reduce distractions.
3. Avoid distractions at all costs!
Reducing distractions is a key way to make time in your day. Another, which goes hand-in-hand with this, is to avoid activities that provide immediate gratification but do not leave you with anything in the long term. That’s right, I’m looking at you, social media and TV…
Let’s talk about Facebook, Instagram and the like. A recent study conducted by GlobalWebIndex revealed that on average we spend 2 hours and 22 minutes every day on these platforms. 142 minutes of your day liking cat videos and browsing your “friends” photos… crazy, right? And if you add television, many people watch at least 3 hours of TV every day.
Couldn’t you take just 10-15 minutes of that time and reassign it to something that could change your life, like learning a new language? And if you are a helpless social media addict, then watch one of my colleague Lize’s latest videos, where she explains how to turn these platforms into learning resources.
4. Wake up a little earlier
In another video called “My Language Miracle Morning,” I talked about my habit of waking up quite early every morning to spend time doing things I love, such as learning languages. If you really do not have any time (and you don’t spend time on social media, watching TV, or on other distractions), then this could be a good solution for you.
But don’t worry, there’s no need to set your alarm at 5 a.m. Waking up just 20 minutes before you normally do can give you enough time to practice a language.
This will have 2 other positive consequences:
- Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, your brain is fresher and less distracted in the morning, so your study sessions will be even more effective;
- By starting your day with a short learning session, interruptions, distractions, and fatigue are less likely to get in your way. You won’t have to worry about accidentally putting it off since it’s the first thing you do.
5. Use your downtime
It might be obvious, but if you start observing people you will notice that a lot of us do not make the most of the time we spend waiting in line or commuting. We all have downtime. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment, queuing to pay after doing our shopping, commuting to and from work… If you add it up, you probably have a lot of “dead” time. And some of it could be used to do productive stuff like reading books, or again, learning languages!
Your smartphone is your best friend during these moments of your day. With just a couple of clicks or taps, you can watch a video in your target language or learn some vocab by using your favorite language app (which I really hope is MosaLingua!).
Take advantage of the little moments of downtime by:
- listening to foreign-language radio or music in the car, on public transport, or when working out;
- reading foreign-language newspapers or books while you’re traveling, or even on the toilet!
- learning a grammar point while you’re in the bathtub, or in a waiting room;
- watching a film or a short video in your target language in the evening, to wind down from the day.
Over to you! It’s up to you to choose which of these methods fit your daily routine best 😉
Shall we recap?
To sum it all up, these are my tips on how to find the time to study a language:
- Set your priorities and make sure language learning is one of them
- Learn to make time by planning your day and deliberately deciding how you spend your precious time
- Avoid distractions and minimally beneficial activities
- Wake up a little earlier and squeeze in those 10-15 minutes of study, which will really make a difference in the long run
- Use your downtime as short time slots to practice your language skills instead of wasting it
As always, these tips are useless if you do not act on them. If I were you, I’d test one or more of them and see if they work for you. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly and radically they change the quality of your language learning and your life.
Below you’ll also find other useful articles which go hand-in-hand with these tips, and which give you the keys to improving your language learning process. Click on an article to read it:
- How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?
- Get Organized: The Perfect Plan for Making Fast Progress
- The 5 Language Learning Methods That You Need to Know
- How to Learn a Language in 3 Months
Video: How to Find the Time to Study a Language?
You can also find all these tips in the video below. Luca recorded the video in English but you can activate the subtitles in different languages, including English, of course. Simply click on the gear on the bottom right. If you’d rather watch it on YouTube, click here.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: you’ll find plenty more handy videos there.
See you soon, and happy learning!
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