Life is about priorities. It doesn’t matter how busy your day is. You still manage to brush your teeth, go to work, and eat something. You may not spend a full three minutes brushing your teeth. You may not have the best work week or eat the healthiest meals, but you make sure to squeeze in those three things.
This is how you should approach learning a new language. Waiting for the perfect stretch of time to learn is unproductive. Instead, when things get busy, look for even the smallest way to incorporate practicing English into your daily routine. To get you going, we’ve pulled together seven great ways to help you do just that.
Turn Your Down Time Into Language Learning Time
Tonight when you get home and all you want to do is crawl under the covers and watch something online…be sure to watch it in English.
It doesn’t have to be educational or informative. If you want a guilty pleasure, find a reality TV show online. The point is to watch something in English, even if it’s just to unwind.
Read News Headlines in English
Most people quickly skim the top news stories in the morning. If English is your second language, skimming entire news articles isn’t very easy. Since you want to quickly know the day’s news (and you don’t have time to translate an entire piece) find an English language news site and read the headlines. You’ll know what’s happening in the world while learning a lot of useful nouns and verbs.
Work Out To English Pop Songs
Listen to songs in English while running on the treadmill or commuting to work. Don’t be embarrassed to choose popular, top 40 songs. They are repetitive, rhyming, and catchy – the perfect combination of factors for memorization. The lyrics will get stuck in your head, teaching you pronunciation and prompting you to look up what they mean.
Take a Mental Vocabulary Quiz
Stuck in traffic? Are you one of a dozen people on a boring conference call? Making breakfast? While your mind wanders, play a vocabulary game in your head. Think of how many objects you can name in English or how many related verbs (“to drive”, “to listen”, “to toast”) you can remember. In this way, you can turn mindless tasks into useful memory exercises.
Download Language Apps (Even If You’ve Progressed Beyond Them)
Language learning apps are great for picking up the basics of a language, but if you’re at the point where you can practice conversation they are a bit too basic. So why download them? Well, apps like Duolingo are quick, convenient, and user-friendly. They also send you reminders of how long it’s been since you used the app. Playing on one of these apps for a few minutes when you’re super busy does two key things:
- Keeps you in the language learning headspace, so you don’t go long periods of time without any practice
- Boosts your confidence with the relatively easy activities that motivate you to challenge yourself even more
Think In English
You’d be surprised how useful this is for language learning purposes and for de-stressing. Thinking in English is helpful for obvious reasons. You have to search your memory for all sorts of verbs, adjectives, and nouns. The psychological benefit is that you’re forced to prioritize your thoughts, slow down those anxious racing thoughts, and mentally tackle each matter one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be planning out your grocery list and thinking about errands entirely in English.
Host English Speaking Guests Through Home Sharing Sites
This piece of advice comes from Benny Lewis, polyglot and founder of Fluent in 3 Months. If you use sites like Couchsurfing or Airbnb, he recommends choosing guests who speak whichever language you’re trying to learn. It’s a pretty cool idea. You wind up meeting new people and practicing some of the most important useful kinds of conversation: introductions and directions. Couchsurfing is free, but if you’re using a site like Airbnb, you make a little extra money on the side. This is also interesting to consider when you travel if you are trying to decide between Hostel or Couchsurfing.
People do this all the time as guests by spending time in the country that speaks the language they wish to learn. But if you don’t have the time or money for this, doing this as a host is a great alternative.
No matter how busy you are, it is entirely possible to carve out some room in your day for practicing English.
Visit www.talaera.com to find out more and start your language journey today.