I’d be lying if I told you that you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to learn a new language. And for many of us who lead busy lives and constantly juggle priorities – the thought of this alone is enough to discourage us from following up on a language we’ve always wanted to learn.
Once you decide to learn a new language, you need to commit. In other words you need to stay consistent. Achieving consistency with a busy schedule is not easy, but with a bit of determination and focus – a busy life does not need to spell the end of your language learning dreams.
Here are my top 3 tips for fitting language practice around your busy schedule:
1.Technology is your friend
Are you one of those people who complain about how busy and stressed they are, but still happen to fit in enough time to squeeze “one more” episode in on Netflix? (guilty!) Why not try watching your favourite series in your target language. Many Netflix series have audio and subtitle options in a range of European and Asian languages.
Explore other ways you can use technology to facilitate your language learning. Perhaps, it’s listening to a podcast during your commute or switching the language settings on your phone.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Learning a new language takes time, which means hours and hours of practice. However, it doesn’t all have to happen at once. I’ve had my fair share of 2-3 hour long language lessons. After a while, my brain disengaged and I became very frustrated. Anyone would struggle to keep focus for that long, even in a native enviornment.
Do yourself a favour and take it easy. Taking small bitesize chunks out of your day to practice will ensure you get vital daily interaction with your target language, but also don’t burnout and run the risk of giving up. Depending on the busyness of your schedule, I’d recommend at least 20 minutes a day.
3. Patience is a virtue
You need to develop a lot of patience and resilience when learning a new language, sometimes life happens and we can’t always find the time to do everything we want to do. Understandably, learning a new language may not be the highest priority in your life and if you need to focus energy on other things – that’s completely fine! Don’t beat yourself up about it, keep motivated and make sure to get back on track as soon as you can. Remember, slow progress is better than no progress!