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Block 4: "Lack" of time


How many times have you said, "I'll do _______ when I have more time"?


How many times have you actually done _________ when you had more time?


Guilty as charged! You, just like me and every other responsible adult out there, has said this sentence at least once, and probably more than once! I'm going to get a bit personal today, and just like the rest of the posts in this series, these tips can be applied to ALL areas of your life, not just learning a language. Wins all around, right? You're already a winner because you've taken 5 minutes out of your day to read this post, so good for you! Keep reading if you want some reminders on how you can help yourself make the time to invest in yourself. I'll repeat that - make the time to invest in yourself. Good stuff, no?

 

Real tips from real people


Now, I'm no coaching guru, I'm not an expert at anything really, but I have learned a few things about time management, from juggling work and studies, to becoming an entrepreneur. But perhaps what works for me won't work for you, everyone has different ways of organizing their time. So I've asked some friends, family and clients to contribute as well, so as to give you a wide array of tips to choose from.

How do you manage to find the time to do what you need to do for you, even though you are crazy busy? (For example, exercise, studies/learning, meal prep, etc.)
  • I am a morning person, so I like to be able to take advantage of the early morning when everyone else is asleep and my phone isn't likely to ring to spend a bit of time on myself - I might do yoga, or perhaps water my garden or listen to an educational podcast to get my creative ideas flowing for the day.

    • that's me, Claire. I'm up at 6 every day, because I know that I would rather be a bit tired than cranky all day because I didn't have time for my yoga.

  • I use the word "AND" instead of "OR". For example, shall I study my Italian now OR go grocery shopping. NO, I'll study now AND then go grocery shopping.

    • Rob, he's taught himself to speak Italian, not because he's smarter than you, but because he's consistent and makes time to study.

  • If I am suddenly motivated to do some exercise, bake a cake, or read my book, I do it immediately! If I'm not working, of course.

    • Leah has just finished an MBA (that she completed while working a full time job), so if anyone is a master time hacker, it's her.

  • My "for me" activities have had to evolve to become more mobile and flexible, for example, reading books on my phone as I always have my phone with me. Or combining activities into other necessary things, like doing quick sets of body exercises while cooking a meal.

    • Julian is a working dad with 2 little boys, 2 dogs, and hot pepper plants to take care of. He definitely doesn't have time to spare, but this is his hack to make more time.

  • I have a personal and a business list for every day. If it isn't written down it won't happen. If I have to choose because I'm short on time, I ask myself, "What is more beneficial to my life in this very moment?"

    • Patti is a self made entrepreneur who has learned that in order to be in the "zone" for her business, she also has to set aside time to take care of her health, through exercise, meditation and healthy cooking.

  • Invent a time machine. I'll keep you posted on this one, when I figure out how to be Hermione from Harry Potter, all problems of time will be solved.

    • Lauren has a full time job, a toddler, and a cat. She's also smart enough to invent a time machine, so here's hoping!

So, could you apply any of these tips to your own routine, in order to make time to dedicate to learning English? Nobody is perfect, nobody is always able to make the time, but if you commit to at least trying, you will soon find that it becomes a habit and no longer a chore. Identify a time of day that could work for you, find a place where you can be in your zone, and block your calendar so that you can invest in yourself. Your future you will thank you for it.

 

My language learning story, chapter 4


Last week, we arrived to Italy, where I told you about starting from zero again, and learning Italian with a bit of a different approach than when I learned my second language, Spanish. Today I want to give you some practical examples of what I did to learn as quickly as possible, without making it so difficult on myself that I didn't commit. Here's some things I did to accelerate the process, and don't think that you can't do the same just because you aren't living in an English speaking country.


So, running to and from various public administration offices, getting told to go from one office to another, to bring back more forms, more stamps, a kidney, you know the drill, was helpful, but I put myself in other situations that were even more helpful. I had to walk my dog, and Alex is one of those dogs that makes super best friends or super worst enemies. Thankfully, he found some friends, and if you've even taken a dog to the park, you'll know that when the dogs play, the owners talk. It's like kids...they play, the parents talk. Maybe I would have never talked to these people outside of this context, but every morning we were there, and at first they talked and I said a few words, but little by little, I started trying to engage more and more, and I must say, that consistency was so beneficial to my learning progress. Something else I did, besides get a job (teaching English), which put me in more situations where I needed Italian, not with my students or colleagues, per say, but some people in the office, was to watch Netflix in Italian in the evenings. It was an easy way to relax at the end of a long day, but also a way to feel productive while I was doing it. I used Italian subtitles, and I must say, I think I picked up quite a lot of vocabulary from doing so. I didn't have the mental energy to actually study (I told myself I would finish the book that I got when I did my course, but I never did), but this was an activity that was easy, enjoyable, and something I could stick to doing a few times a week. Consistency is key. In Rome, I didn't have the same lifestyle as I did when I was in college, so I had to consciously look for situations where I could speak Italian. This is something you can start today. You don't have to go and live in the UK or the USA. Just look for situations where you can practice. If you don't know where to start, start here! Sign up for Conversation Club! Speak English, meet new people, and build your confidence in yourself. Win win, right? Anyways, that's all for today, tune in next week for the last language block, and the final chapter of my language learning story. See ya!

 

Glossary

  • guilty as charged: an expression used to say, "I'm guilty" (I've committed the "crime")

  • to juggle: in this context - to have several (often difficult) things in progress at the same time

  • a wide array: a fancy way to say "a lot" or "a variety"

  • cranky: adjective synonymous to "irritable"

  • grocery shopping: your weekly trip to the supermarket

  • to spare: to have extra or something

  • toddler: a small child, able to walk but not yet able to go to school (think 3-5 years old)

  • a chore: a task that is boring or difficult

  • stamps: those little stickers that you used to put on your letters to send them in the mail

  • kidney: you have 2 of these internal organs, but you can live with only one.

  • you know the drill: an expression to say, "you know/understand what I'm talking about"

  • to pick up: a phrasal verb, in this context it means - to acquire or learn

  • stick to doing [something]: a phrasal verb - to continue or persevere



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