Do you want to learn a new language but don’t have time? It’s understandable. With busy schedules, it can be hard to find an available space for anything outside of work and family life. Luckily, there are some effective ways that you can still study a new tongue even if you’re really busy!
In this blog post, I will share 11 ideas for how to learn when your schedule is packed!
Easier said than done? Nope. It’s actually very easy to learn a language while you’re busy getting things done at work, taking care of your kids, or keeping up with your social life. You just need the right tools and strategies for learning so you can maximize every available moment to get fluent faster.
When I was young there were always spare times, but when you’re an adult life becomes busier and it’s harder to find the time for anything.
However, there are ways that you can learn even if you’re busy! Even when life feels like it’s dropping in your lap – here are 11 ways to find the time.
Only have one project.
One rule that I follow is to have one project at a time.
Committing to doing one project first before another allows you to make real progress. When you commit to one project, that allows you to focus on what is most important.
This way, you can gather all your energy and attention on it without feeling overwhelmed or distracted by other tasks.
Once this project is over, you can always add another one on your list if you wish.
One of the main goals you have is to learn a language.
Writing out your list of daily tasks will help organize it and get rid of any unnecessary things on there so that you can save time for what matters most. You can also add another task after this one if you want. It’s completely up to you! By the end of this project, you’ll have a good idea of what things can wait and which ones cannot.
Write down your daily activities.
The next task is to write down your daily schedule for the week on paper. Be as detailed as possible! Write down everything from when you wake up to how long it takes you to commute into work each day. This way, you can see how much time is really spent on unnecessary activities.
Organizing your schedule and planning ahead.
Block off times in your schedule so you can dedicate a set period to your language studies.
Learning how to prioritize tasks as opposed to merely keeping busy with little accomplishments will allow you better use of time towards learning a new language.
If you have limited availability to learn, you need to make studying as easy as possible.
Set up your environment so that you can start immediately.
The first step is to make sure your language learning app, website or other resource is accessible. These days you can learn on the go with apps like Duolingo and Memrise that are available both in an app store and as a web page (so they work on any device). Tons of people already use these services.
If you require too much set up every time you wish to study, you will soon give up.
The best option is to find a time and a place where you can learn the language. That way, it becomes part of your daily routine and something that stays with you throughout the day.
You don’t even have to make learning a formal activity – studies show that informal learning works too! Use the language when shopping or having dinner, it is a great way to practice it.
When it comes time for your break, instead of checking email or social media like many people do, why not spend this valuable time with something rewarding? Learning a new language can be fun and very gratifying.
Download materials on your phone so they’re ready when you are. Use the time that would otherwise be wasted to study. For a reading activity, you can download a digital copy of your favourite magazine or newspaper. So, you can read it on the train, while waiting for an appointment, etc. Or have your Kindle at the ready or a book in your target language.
Use language learning apps that fit into small pockets of time.
As mentioned before, Duolingo is an excellent App to use especially at the beginner level, and they also have a myriad of languages to choose from.
Check out free podcasts
Check out free podcasts and video lectures to learn something new at home in just 20 minutes before bed. The series News in slow French, Spanish, Italian, German etc. are very handy allowing you to have contact with authentic language as well as learning about the culture of your target country.
Listen to audio lessons
Listen to audio lessons, language courses on your commute, while walking the dog, or exercising.
Integrate learning with your life.
Find meaning to your wish to learn a language. Think of a specific reason why you want to learn it. If the answer is “I don’t know” or “because I should”, dig deeper to the origin of your wish. Analyse the advantages that learning a new language will add to your life.
If you already have a good motivation, think about how much time do you spend watching television every day? How many hours are wasted on social media? How many hours are wasted on the road, driving to work?
Now think about how much time did you spend studying your native language when you were in school. So why not apply that same amount of dedication to learn a second language now? You will get fluent faster and maximize your efficiency at the same time!
Applying a skill to make other parts of your life smoother and easier is the key to make it last. If your learning has nothing to do with other things you care about, your motivation will fall away.
Remove all the time-wasting alternatives.
Don’t watch TV programs in your mother tongue. Watch your favourite show only in the target language with subtitles on (or just read along)
Reduce the time you spend social media sites.
Watch YouTube videos only in your target language.
Listen to music in your target language because it improves pronunciation. This is a good exercise because you will need to understand every word by listening closely.
Find ways to keep yourself motivated to learn a foreign language.
Have the drive to learn.
finding time to learn, as I mention above, is a matter of motivation. if you are motivated enough to learn for your own personal reasons, that motivation will help push past any obstacles in the way. Your motivation to learn must come from within and not because of external consequences like failing an exam or guilt.
however, there is nothing wrong with some extra incentives and rewards if they can help further motivate you to achieve your language learning goals.
sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to learn a language, but if you’re really wanting to do it, then finding time is usually not the problem.