One of the most common reasons for not learning a language is “I never have the time”. I said it many many times myself before I started and felt perfectly justified in doing so.
Whether it’s work, family, friends, other hobbies, all of the above or countless other reasons, there is always something else that takes too much of your time and you just don’t have a second.
I know the feeling.
But here’s the thing…
Everyone is busy.
No matter how busy you think you are, you can still find the time by following these quick tips.
7 Tips to learn a language even when you are too busy
Know why you are learning
Without the desire to learn, you will never find the time. The first thing you need to figure out is the why. It could be that you want to be able to go on holiday and speak, progress at work or find a partner – whatever the reason, you need to know what this is. This will be your motivation to keep going when things get tough.
Write it down.
If you ever feel yourself starting to waiver, take out that piece of paper and then picture yourself at the goal, talking away in your target language. This will give you the motivation you need to continue.
Make a commitment
Your overall goal is the reason you gave above but, if your goal is for a trip next Summer then this won’t keep you going in the short term. As soon as things get busy you will put it off.
You need to make a commitment. It doesn’t have to be much but figure out how much time you can commit to each day.
Write it down.
Don’t kid yourself. If you work 12 hours a day and have 3 young kids that you have to chase around the house when you come home then studying 3 hours a day will not be achievable or sustainable. Try and you will burn out faster than you can say “stop annoying your sister”.
If you genuinely feel like you don’t have a spare minute, start by committing low – 15 minutes is achievable for anyone. The important thing is building a routine. It is much easier to start with an easy routine and work up than it is to admit to yourself you have over committed and ease off.
Sounds pretty obvious right?
How many times though have you planned to start tomorrow or next week or after you finish something else?
The world is full of people who are “going to learn a language”. The only way to stop being one of them and to become a language learner is to start learning your language today!
Tell your friends
Let everyone know you have started. This gives you accountability. Put it in a Facebook post, tweet it or just tell your family and friends. It’s much harder to stop once you have told everyone you are doing it than if it’s a secret project.
Have a stockpile of quick study materials
This is probably my biggest secret.
OK, so it’s not really a big secret but it is how I managed to continue to learn Italian consistently for 45 minutes a day while also working 16 hours shifts at work.
Everyone thinks that language study involves sitting down with a grammar book and studying for hours on end but it doesn’t have to be.
I stocked up my phone with materials I could quickly use on the go and split my study in to “chunks” – an MP3 from Glossika in the car on the way to work, 10 minutes on Duolingo or MosaLingua when waiting on an email, a quick passage from a storybook during lunch… there are lots of little spaces throughout the day that you can squeeze these in. Record the amount of time and, throughout the day, make sure you meet your minimum commitment.
I also swapped out my Spotify playlist for Italian music. I didn’t count this as study time but it did help tune my ear to the sounds of the language and made me fall in love with the language even more.
You have to speak
Don’t forget that you are learning to speak another language. This is a skill and it can’t be learned by reading a book or listening to someone else. You have to speak!
So how the hell do you manage that when you are busy?
There are many services online where you can book lessons with a native speaker. This means that you can take a lesson or schedule a speaking session from the comfort of your own home – so you don’t even have any travel time.
The service I regularly use is iTalki, I like it because you can book sessions of 30, 45 and 60 minutes with a teacher very very cheaply. It even has an “instant tutoring” option where you can take a 30 minute lesson with any of the native speakers that are currently online. We can all find a spare 30 minutes in a week right?
When I was at my busiest, I did my lessons first thing in the morning at the weekend before my day really started so that it didn’t really impact anything else.
You want to do this a minimum of once a week. Twice is ideal. If you manage 3 times then you will be on fire.
And that’s all there is to it.
Start today, you can do it – it is much easier than you think. The most important thing is to start.
So what are you still doing here?
Not got a stockpile yet? Search the Language Learning Library and find them now.
Have you started? Leave a comment below so I can cheer you on!