Fitting it all in – Language learning and life

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I know that sometimes it can feel like there isn’t enough time in the day and language learning will have to take a back seat until you have some quality time to spend but I have found if you use all your free “time pockets” you can squeeze out more than you think. When I say “time pocket” I mean a small amount of time where there is the possibility of adding some language learning spice. Whether it is in the shower, commute to work or a coffee break there are lot of little opportunities littered through the week where you can boost your learning.

Now, before I tell you about what I do to fill my time, I feel I must be honest and say that this will only work if you prepare. As the saying goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. If you just sit down with 5 minutes to spare and don’t have anything ready you will spend the whole time searching, trying or downloading materials instead of actually learning. For me the perfect time is a couple of hours on saturday or sunday evening post chores but use whenever works best for you. Find all your websites, apps, podcasts and flashcards that you will need in the week so when the time comes you are ready.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but here is an example of how I fit learning into my 9 to 5.

7am – Radio in the shower (10 minutes)

I love listening to the radio in any language and the 10 minutes in the shower can be a great way of sneaking in an opportunity to tune your ear to the sounds of your language.

1pm – Some podcast or website reading (15-30 minutes)

When I am not working through my lunch, as often happens, I try and get a bit of time to swat up on some grammar, find a useful website for later or listen to a podcast and take some notes in my language journal.

7pm – Watch a film, play a game or read a book (15-30 minutes)

While I will generally relax and catch up on Netflix I do try and do some ready, watch some videos or listen to a podcast during the adverts or when I am bored of the show. If you use the all day bonus (see below) even sitting and playing games on your phone can be a great way to practice.

10pm – Flashcards before bed (5-10 minutes)

Reviewing flashcards is the perfect activity to be done while I am waiting for my girlfriend to get ready for bed with all the many potions and lotions. 10 minutes (at least!) that I would have wasted on youtube before now become productive time.

All Day Bonus – Set your phone to the language

This may not be an option for beginners but once you have a basic understanding of simple sentence I would advise anyone to switch their phone into the target language so you can naturally learn new words and phrases. If you have an iPhone Siri can also be a fun language friend by testing out simple requests and your general pronunciation without having to interact directly with someone.
In all honesty I don’t do all of these everyday but if you can fit one of these in everyday you will see the benefits I promise. In the future I will post more detailed information about the apps and websites I use but feel free to comment below if you are struggling and I will try to point you in the right direction.
I will put more information up in the future about all the apps and websites i find useful but in the meantime if you are struggling to find useful stuff let me know in the comments and I will try and point you in the right direction.

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