Finding the time to learn a language

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Finding the time to learn a language

“I have all the time in the world to do everything I want!” said no one, ever.

Let’s face it: we all struggle to find some spare hours to dedicate to ourselves and to the activities we truly love.
If you’re trying to learn a language, though, the more interaction you have with it, the better.

So, instead of thinking about how much time you don’t have, think about the time that you’re wasting.

Yes, you didn’t misread. Have you got an idea of how much dead time you have in a day?

Driving, for example, is a big time waster. If you’re a commuter, then you wait for the bus/metro/train to arrive and you wait in it while going to work/school or home.
You even wait when you have an appointment with your doctor or dentist. And you’re probably busy with your daily tasks, like washing the dishes or cleaning your room.

Have you ever thought about it? You can use those minutes or hours of dead time to practice your language!

Develop good habits.

Language learning has to become a part of everyday life if you want to succeed.
Remember: it’s better to study for 15 minutes daily, than studying for 3 hours twice a week. Follow the three steps below to develop some good habits:

  1. Form a language-learning routine you’ll actually stick with.
  2. Remove the distractions that are keeping you from practicing (checking the emails too frequently, checking your mobile phone every 5 minutes, etc).
  3. Answer this question: What are you currently doing in your native tongue that could be done in the one you want to learn?

Let’s say you’re learning Italian. Here are some suggestions:

  • Wherever you have the chance to listen to the language, do it.
  • Listen to the radio when you’re taking care of your room or your house.
  • Take your iPod or mobile phone filled with podcasts or music everywhere (at the gym, at the grocery store, etc).
  • Take your language journal everywhere.
  • If you can’t miss your favorite TV show, go ahead and watch it, dubbed in Italian.
  • If you love reading books or blogs, find Italian ones.
  • Download some cool apps  that you can use anytime you have to wait for someone or something.

There are no doubts: the more time you put in, the more successful you will be in your language journey.

As William Penn said: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst”.

Use your time wisely.

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I really want to know your opinion about this topic. How do you manage to find the time to learn something new everyday? Let us know in the comments!

Chiara Grandola

Hey there! I'm Chiara, also known as Claire on the language learning community. I'm deeply in love with any form of art, different cultures and... guess what?! Yes, languages!

  • Matteo

    In your profile you say you are not fluent, but your “writing” skill looks really good.

    • Hey Matteo! Thanks for stopping by. Thank you for your kind words as well. To be honest, I have a proofreader for my articles. I still make mistakes from time to time. Plus, I don’t consider myself fluent when it comes to “speaking” in particular. I’m working on it, though 😉

      What about you? 🙂

  • Matteo

    What about me?
    I am an Engineer. I am a practical person. I can understand and make myself understood. And well, during a job interview I would add “… i write high quality technical documentation on daily basis”.
    But, i never had any special love for languages; i just had to speak with people (and read books!). I lived for few months in the US and now i am in Germany, where it happens that people speaks…. German….

    I do mistakes too, especially in German, hopefully not in Italian. But, for what concerns the speaking, it’s just matter of getting used to. After a while you know how to express yourself without thinking too much…

    ….and I like to turn dreams into action.

    • Interesting! It seems like you have a very nice background! 🙂
      How long have you been living in Germany? The language is a bit tricky, I’ve heard. The grammar is quite different from the English one, isn’t it?

      “….and I like to turn dreams into action.” Oh, I absolutely love this phrase! Well said and good luck with your dreams! 😉

      • Matteo

        It’s 2 years and half now (but I live in a kind of English-speaking enclave).
        Concerning the language: Yes, we can say “tricky”. But, generally speaking, the grammar is only part of the problem, there are many others….
        Right now i should be kind of B2-C1. I can understand most of what people says, i can watch the TV, but speaking and writing still require a lot of effort, and deliver a poor result. It’s not easy.

        • Yeah, I get it. It’s kinda the same for me with English.
          Considering that you don’t have a passion for languages, I think it’s an impressive result! You must be proud of yourself! 😉

          The most important thing is… do you like living in Germany or do you miss your home country?

          • Matteo

            yes i think it’s OK here. Once you get used to thinks like the shops closed on sunday or after 18.00 (20.00 in the shopping center!). I don’t miss Italy. I have’t any kind of nostalgia. But, for me it’s pretty easy to pass by for the week-end, when I want to do it (actually not that often). I am not that far away, just about 500-600km.

  • Lu

    You tackled a thorny issue. We tend to consider time as our enemy, but we just don’t know how to organize our day. I like very much this advice: “So, instead of thinking about how much time you don’t have, think about the time that you’re wasting”. Complaining about not having enough time is a good way to waste time.
    Great post! 🙂

    • Thank you very much! ^____^

      “Complaining about not having enough time is a good way to waste time.” That’s absolutely true!

  • So much of what you say is so true! People always ask me how I find the time to study Italian each day, and then I tell them that its not really a matter of finding the time – anything I would normally do in English I just do in Italian instead. I guess its taken me a few years to be able to do this though. And it can be somewhat isolating. None of my friends watch Montalbano or Il Commissario Manara, and they’re not always as enthusiastic as I am about seeing the latest Italian film. But thats what the internet is good for. I’m enjoying your blog.