Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:40 pm

lemme_try wrote:(...)Does doing anki and listening audio help you to maintain the language? Would you say it works? What do you think?


Thanks for sharing your story.

I don't spend as much time on languages as I did many years before. So with the current time limit (as a result of external factors), I'd say that my regimen does its job. As long as I take morning walks, I can just as well listen to something in a target language. I would never sit down and "just" listen. When I have some spare minutes, I do Anki reps (in a number of languages, but on different levels). And reading is my activity before making dinner or after other commitments. At the moment, these three things are the only ones I can do "with ease", every single day.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby Le Baron » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:52 pm

lemme_try wrote:So I've started fully focusing on the task at hand. And I noticed great benefits. After jogging, my mind is not as fatigued as it used to be. When I only focus on the language, I retain more, I feel happier with my progress. When I read, I try to allocate chunk of time, and don't like to be disturbed. Works great.


This is how I've started approaching it. I wouldn't say that I don't listen to audio properly when I'm doing other stuff (working, cycling etc), but I certainly miss stuff and it becomes routine-like. Focusing on it like you describe makes me see things I missed before.

I also stopped reading alongside other activities and instead read without distraction for a shorter period. So yes, I second what you say.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby garyb » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:03 pm

The usual advice is to find "hidden moments" throughout your day, which is always worthwhile but especially as a beginner most of the activites that lend themselves to these moments come under the category of accessory work rather than core study. Doing a few Anki reps in the supermarket queue is a great way to fit in some extra revision of what you've been learning, but isn't a substitute for a focused one-hour study session. Duolingo is much more usable and useful on a computer than on a phone, which sadly makes it less appropriate for fitting in extra study on the go. Input from podcasts or online videos is great when you already know enough of the language to follow them, but until then...

I've just had to accept that less time means slower progress, but I am finding that choice of material can help make limited time better than nothing. Assimil lessons for example require a commitment of half an hour each day, while some more traditional textbooks (like Spektrum for German, which I'm currently using) have lots of small exercises so you can do as few or as many as you have time for on each day.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby El Forastero » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:39 pm

I tried (intentionally) to learn a new language being extremely busy: Russian. I can say that I failed spectacularly in my attempt because after six months I would hardly pass the A1 level. Maybe my problem was choosing a language to learn from scratch, from the absolute zero, with no context to practice, no students to interact with, no teachers to ask for a question... Everything was based on free online resources.

Anyway, the fact that I failed doesn't mean that I didn't play my part properly, but that I need more time and consistency, maybe a different approach to do so. Maybe if I restart my journey (and I will, someday) I will try to have more than two hours a day to study, because only one hour is far from being enough (And I verified so, sadly).

And what did I do in this one hour? Well, it wasn't a continuous 60-minute period, but 4 or 5 moments throughout the day. Honestly, those could sum more than 60 minutes, maybe 90 and sometimes 120. But being isolated and disperse, I couldn't always use it for follow a lesson and try to understand grammar, nor even try to produce some texts or short speeches. That's why most of this time was used to listen to the short audios that the course I followed provided me, to do some memrise excercises and to improve my typewritting (that was the way I chose to be familiar with the alphabet).

I suppose If I hadn't been in an absolute zero point to start, I would have had more progress. For example, when I started italian, not only was I a spanish native speaker but also I had already certified C1 in french and portuguese, so listening to short audios in some spread 10-minute periods throughout the day was very fruitful due to my sort-of-B1-listening-level that I have due to my background.
Last edited by El Forastero on Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby Beli Tsar » Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:28 pm

garyb wrote:The usual advice is to find "hidden moments" throughout your day, which is always worthwhile but especially as a beginner most of the activites that lend themselves to these moments come under the category of accessory work rather than core study. Doing a few Anki reps in the supermarket queue is a great way to fit in some extra revision of what you've been learning, but isn't a substitute for a focused one-hour study session.

Where I've found the most success is integrating the two. Core study is key, but I can't do it often enough for it to really snowball and build, so I need to leverage the 'hidden moments' activities to improve my retention and use of core study.
So, in the blocks of good time I do have (a few hours at the weekend, maybe) I read a textbook or whatever, and then put all the worthwhile exercises and words into Anki. It really helps if it's an electronic textbook or otherwise copy-pasteable.
Then Anki + listening through the week. My log shows I haven't made particularly rapid progress at anything, but it feels like an improvement on the two other choices - to study a textbook occasionally, and forget what you learned in between, or just to drop the textbook and study with easier methods.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby rdearman » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:29 pm

The best way to find time is to axe something else. You exercise? Stop. You watch TV? Stop. You play games? Stop.

Adjust your priorities or if you are not willing to sacrifice something else, then don't worry about learning right now.
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby Serpent » Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:24 am

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=4&TPN=1
https://learnanylanguage.fandom.com/wik ... _listening
rdearman wrote:The best way to find time is to axe something else. You exercise? Stop. You watch TV? Stop. You play games? Stop.
All of these can be done in L2 (easier to do if you're at least a false beginner)
So I've started fully focusing on the task at hand. And I noticed great benefits. After jogging, my mind is not as fatigued as it used to be.
I find music much more relaxing than podcasts/audiobooks :)
El Forastero wrote: I can say that I failed spectacularly in my attempt because after six months I would hardly pass the A1 level.
This is not a failure at all :) Keep going!
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby IronMike » Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:15 am

Simple: Family comes first. I'll drop all language-related (or [noun]-related) stuff for anything my family asks. Language study is important to me, but not as important as anything my family needs from me.

Now, if I'm busy with stuff that isn't life-threatening, or family-mandatory, then I'll make time for languages. If I can combine the two (listening to L2-podcasts while exercising, for example), then of course I'll do that. But again, all my hobbies are secondary to family and work, because without those two, what am I?
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby kelvin921019 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:36 pm

I can't say I'm an extremely busy person. I realised how much time I actually have after I started learning languages. I make use of the transit time and the time I used to spend on aimlessly surfing the internet / watching netflix on language learning. After 1 year of learning, now I can aimlessly surf the internet and watch netflix in Spanish :lol: :lol: .
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Re: Finding time for languages when you are extremely busy

Postby alexkelbo » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:09 pm

What has worked for me quite well is this: The first thing I do every day after getting up is language learning. I don't make coffee, I don't even hit the shower first. Starting the day with language learning first thing guarantees that I do at least a little something language related.

Now, I'm lucky enough that my work starts rather late and I don't have a lot of other obligations so I usually do 1-2 hours a day before anything else. But even if you can only spend 15-20 minutes, or you simply don't feel like doing more, then no matter what happens that day or how stressful it is going to be, you're making some progress or at least maintaining what you have already learnt.
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