Thu, 18 Mar 2021 13:54:27 +0000Géralde Vincent-BancroftThere are a lot of time management techniques and resources mainly used in companies to improve employees’ performance. I can tell you that these same tools can be extremely convenient for you, as a language learner. Utilised properly, they will help you become very efficient, and you will…
There are a lot of time management techniques and resources mainly used in companies to improve employees’ performance. I can tell you that these same tools can be extremely convenient for you, as a language learner. Utilised properly, they will help you become very efficient, and you will consistently get results.
I will describe some of the most useful time management techniques that I have used to help me learn the languages I speak.
Start with the smarter goals technique to set your language goals so that you are aware of what is the path you want to take. Write them down.
I recommend you to set your strategic language goals using the SMARTER goal system:
Specific. You should identify exactly what it is you want to do.
Measurable. This will allow you to establish markers and milestones to keep you focused and on track to accomplishing your goal.
Actionable. You should use an action verb when you write your goal down. This will prompt you into action every time you review it.
Risky. Your goals should stretch you and cause you to rise to the challenge to accomplish them. Don’t set easy goals that play it too safe and keep you from growing.
Timebound. You must include a deadline, frequency, or time-trigger in every goal you write.
Exciting. Find a way to connect your goal to what is personally motivating to you. It should be compelling.
Relevant. Each goal should be relevant to your season of life, your values, and your other goals.
I like this system because it helps you clarify what you genuinely want to achieve and how you are going to know and measure if you are succeeding or not. It also allows you to make pertinent changes, if required, so that you can increase your chances to reaching these goals.
Once you have written your goals, you need to break them into concrete tasks that require to be prioritised. You may use the Eisenhower Matrix- the most popular tool- to do so.
It will help you determine if a task is high priority or low priority, urgent or not.
Arrange your language tasks in one of the four quadrants. The important tasks are the ones you should pay attention to because they contribute to your long-term goals. If they are urgent and important try to solve these straight away, whilst the not urgent and important should be scheduled in your calendar. The rest should be either postponed or eliminated.
Depending on your available time decide every day on which two or three items max you are going to focus on, and make sure you do them.
If you are mostly a visual learner, the Kanban Board might be useful. Kanban is the Japanese word for sideboard. It helps you have a visual reminder of your goals as it helps you track your progress.
On your board draw three columns: in the first write TO-DO, in the one in the middle write IN PROGRESS and DONE in the last one. Write each task on a sticky note- you may want to use different colours for different tasks- . Stick the notes on the corresponding columns.
For example, if you set a weekly task of learning 50 new words in your target language and you have learned 25 so far, move the sticky note from the TO-DO column to the In PROGRESS one.
Another useful technique is Deep Work.
So now you have clear written language goals, which are prioritised and divided into actionable tasks on your kanban board. Now you should actually do the work. This is where the Deep Work technique comes handy.
Remember that productivity depends on focus.
First you should avoid all distractions and set yourself for a focused high-intensity activity. The Pomodoro Technique is a simple, yet remarkably effective method that will help you get in your zone of genius. The aim of this technique is to use time as a valuable ally in accomplishing what you want to do and allow you to improve the way you work and study.
Break down your daily work and assign intervals to each activity separated by short breaks. According to this technique, you work 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. Every 25-minute period is called one Pomodoro. If you were to work for more than 4 periods you would take a break of 15-30 minutes before the fifth session. Use the timer on your phone, or if you are afraid of distractions a kitchen timer will be fine.
You might want to also track the time you spend on each activity. It gives you a clear idea of how much you dedicate to different sides of language learning.
For instance, register how much time a week you spend on a listening activity like watching a film, or writing or reading or speaking with a friend or a tutor in your target language.
Every little moment adds up and it gives you a more accurate idea especially if some adjustments are required to help you reach your goals.
I don’t personally use bullet journals, but they seem to be a quite popular method to help you organise your language activities.
In the journal you will have three different logging sections:
* One where you log your daily tasks, events, and notes.
* Another section for your monthly logs. In this section you can find a calendar and a to-do list.
* The third section is for your long-term goals and commitments.
Some journals even have a habit tracker section and another one for notes.
These are only a few time management methods, but I am sure that if you start implementing them you will be amazed at the extraordinary results you will achieve in your language study.
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