As you may already know, I’m currently back to learning Japanese. I LOVE studying this language. It’s so much fun! But with Christmas coming, things are about to get busy. Let’s talk how to organise your language learning at busy times.
I didn’t always get to learn as much as I would have liked over the past year.
My final year of university study had to take priority, the Japanese had to be put on the back burner. But this wasn’t as bad as it might sound.
I got back to Japanese straight away, but, as I said, now Christmas is coming and preparing to swallow up all that lovely language learning time.
In this post, I’m sharing with you some tips on how to organise your language learning at busy times to ensure things go to plan and to stay sane, as well as some of the benefits I discovered of a forced break from language learning. You know, just in case things don’t go to plan.
How to Organise Language Learning at Busy Times
Get more in now
Chances are that things are getting gradually busier.
Make the most of this transition period and squeeze in some extra study time while you can to make up for the inevitable lose of time later down the line.
Wake up earlier, stay in bed
If you can set your alarm earlier and actually wake up instead of press snooze (easier said than done when it’s cold and dark outside) then you could sneak in some extra language time before the rest of your day begins as normal.
Hey, who says you even have to get out of bed? Keep your books, notes, or tech by your bedside and you can just roll over and catch a few minutes of Memrise or a page of two of grammar staying snug and cozy and warm in bed.
Be kinder with your goals over Christmas
Accept when you’re going to get less done due to the office Christmas party or the Santa Run and plan accordingly.
Instead of keeping your goals rigid at times like this, be flexible, and as a consequence, be kinder to yourself.
After all, Christmas only happens once a year! And the chance to see Sharon from Accounting blind drunk singing Fairytale of New York on helium may never come again once she realises what she’s done and hands in her notice January 1st due to embarrassment.
Always be ready
Those extra few minutes of language time could strike at any moment. And when they do, you don’t want to be thinking “Gawd, I wish I had my Spanish book with me now. Think of the words I could be learning!”
Instead, you want to be thinking, “Right, I’ve got a few minutes now between dessert and The Queen’s Speech. Time to check HelloTalk.”
Squeezing every possible language learning moment out of Christmas Day like a pro.
Benefits of a Forced Break From Language Study
It’s not all sunshine and butterflies. At least, not in December in England.
However, if you make some killer study plans to thrive with your language learning this Christmas and things don’t turn out as you’d hoped, it’s not all bad.
Here are some benefits I’ve learnt from taking a forced language break.
Re-evaluate your why
In Finding Time in Your Life for Language Learning (you can get your free copy by signing up here!) I talk about establishing your why.
After all, if you don’t know why you’re doing something how can you maintain focus?
Taking a break from Japanese gave me the chance to re-evaluate why I want to learn the language.
Forcing myself not to even open my Japanese books or click that Japanese YouTube video made me all the more excited for when I was ready to again.
Taking a break gave me a completely new motivation for Japanese and an excitement to get back to it that I would have lost had I tried to struggle through.
you see it from the outside
Sometimes it can feel as if we’re not giving our language learning our all.
Taking a complete break gives us the chance to realise just how much time we normally devote to language learning as you find yourself twiddling your thumbs wondering what you used to do with this time…language learning, that’s what!
I think this is one reason for the boost in motivation, we realise that actually we were kicking some serious language learning butt. Go team!
the chance to try other languages
When we’re focusing on one language, it feels naughty to even look at a book, video, or Memrise course for another language.
How could I betray my one true language?! How could I even think about it?! Does this mean I don’t love learning Japanese?!
No. Of course not.
The joy of language learning is how addictively one language leads to a curiosity for another. There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, devoting time to your ‘mistress language’ (for want of a better word) does somehow feel kinda wrong, right?
A forced break allows you dabble and satisfy that craving.
FYI, I’m totally not endorsing this behaviour with your human relationships. “We were on a break!” may stand with your languages (and Ross Geller), but probably not with real humans.
Because if you’re reading this, you’re probably a take-no-prisoners-language-learning-machine, I’ve put the key points from this post into a wallpaper that you can set as the background on your phone or print and stick on your wall.
It’s optimised and tested on an iPad Mini but I hope it also fits most devices! Let me know if you need different dimensions.
The idea is to remind yourself how to stay sane when trying to learn a language with a gazillion other things to do and to just take it a little easy if things don’t go to plan.
What are your tips for how to organise your language learning around festive times and stay sane? Share in the comments!