Creating Time to Study a Foreign Language
There is only one thing that you really need to learn a language – time. Lots and lots of time. For most people, there isn’t enough time in the day to take that step to learn another language. Well, that is at least what you tell yourself. With a good language learning schedule, you can achieve your language learning goals efficiently.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you are ready and willing to make the necessary time to learn another language. If you are sincerely dedicated to learning to speak another language, I can help you make the time to accomplish that goal.
If you commit yourself to these five strategies, you will quickly find that the time was there all along. Reach fluency faster without sacrificing more of your time than you need to.
1. The 80/20 Rule Can Help You Prioritize
It can be very difficult to prioritize goals because of the number of distractions that you encounter over the course of a day. The key is to learn how to prioritize. Use the 80/20 rule to help get your schedule working for you.
This rule has been proven to be an effective way of forcing you to examine your life to figure out what really matters. Also called the Pareto Principle, it is fairly easy to apply. During the early twentieth century, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 20% of the population within Italy owned roughly 80% of all the land. He then looked into this phenomenon in nature. He found that approximately 80% of the peas came from 20% of the pod. This proved that the phenomenon was not isolated to just one area of life.
In terms of prioritization, the smallest things in your life (the 20%) tend to take up the largest amount of your time (80%). You can also apply the Pareto Principle to languages. Reach fluency in record time by understanding how the 80/20 rule applies to vocabulary and speech.
You can use the Pareto Principle to free up a lot of time for your language studies. And it is only going to take you about 10 minutes to do so.
- Write down all of your regular activities – daily, weekly, and monthly. Everything, including sleep, cleaning, errands, work, exercise, learning another language, commute, play time, cooking, study – everything.
- Look at your list for the things you think are the most beneficial. Obviously, things like exercise and cleaning are in there, as well as work and study. These should be your highest priorities.
- Mark everything on the list that you think are either the least beneficial or create the most misery (yes, things like work will probably fall into both categories, but being able to pay your bills is a pretty large benefit). Mark off anything that falls into one of these two categories (as long as it wasn’t also part of your previous run through of the list). You will cut these tasks out of your life.
Now you have your priorities listed. Time to rank them.
2. Make Language Study Your Top Priority
If you want to learn another language, make it your biggest priority. Most people approach learning a language as if it were something that could be worked into a busy day. If it is a priority, you work your day around it. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you set aside the time for it instead of trying to squeeze it between other tasks.
You may be busy (most of us are), but there is time in your day for language learning. It’s up to you to make it a priority worth working the day around instead of trying to find time later.
3. Best Times to Study a Language – Early Morning and Near Bedtime
Here are two reasons to work language studies into your early morning.
- It will become an automatic habit that you do before the day gets too busy.
- You reinforce the idea that it is a top priority. It is so important that you wake up and start learning.
Here are two reasons to work language studies into your bedtime routine.
- It is the perfect complement to your morning studying. By creating bookends out of your studies, you are increasing your motivation.
- You are reinforcing what you learn as you drift off to sleep.
4. Block Out Time and Make Language Learning a Habit
No matter when you plan to study, add it to your calendar with reminders. If you treat it the same way you treat your appointments and meetings you are much more likely to follow through.
Successful people create routines. Having a good language learning schedule means you can make it a habit. The more you practice, and the more natural it feels, the more success you’ll have. If you block out time for your language studies, soon you’ll start to build that habit.
5. Work It into Other Activities
There are so many ways to incorporate language learning into your other daily activities. You can listen to audio tapes on the way to work. Speak to an international friend during your walks/jogs. Or watch a video in your target language as you cook and clean. You are not fully utilizing your brain during these activities, so put your brain to good use.
You can also use wait time for language learning. Whether you’re waiting for the dentist or a friend running late, have a language learning app nearby. Turn the frustration of waiting into study time.
Fit the Best Language Learning Method Into Your Schedule
If none of the above methods work, you still have a chance for learning a language. Perhaps right now there’s no way for you to free up a lot of time in your daily schedule. That’s completely understandable.
The best course of action, in this case, is finding the best language learning method. Maximize the efficiency of your material, so you can still learn a language fast with little time available. That’s why we created OptiLingo’s Guided Immersion. OptiLingo was founded by a busy father of four who loves languages. He wanted to fit language learning into his schedule, so he studied the best language learning theories. His combination of comprehensible input, spaced repetition, and high-frequency phrases lead to the creation of OptiLingo. These proven methods have helped thousands of busy people reach fluency in their target language. Only 20 minutes a day can unlock the benefits of being bilingual.