Lack of time. It’s one of the main obstacles of learning a new language, right? It can be difficult to make time for language learning in our already busy schedule. Yet, we live in a world where information is at our finger tips. Long gone are the days of endless searches in the local library to find relevant information. We now have the world in our pockets.
It’s true, we all lead busy lives. There’s also a considerable amount of wasted time in our active schedules. The average European for example, spends over 300 hours a year commuting. That’s nearly eight full working weeks of potential learning time. Surprising, isn’t it? The average person also wastes a substantial amount of time waiting in all sorts of situations. Waiting in line, for an appointment, for friends to arrive, for a concert to begin or for the moment they’ll finally meet Twinkledum the leprechaun (I can’t wait). There is a lot of waiting in life, that’s unavoidable. But instead of getting bored, angry or impatient, try to see it as an opportunity to learn something new. Using these precious minutes to your advantage is a game changer.
Meet Positive Joe. Joe can’t get enough of language learning and wants to learn something new every waking moment. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios to see how Positive Joe reacts.
Long line at the grocery store: “Awesome! I will learn a few new words!”
35-minute delay at the doctor’s office: “ Cool! 35 minutes of language-learning time!”
17-hour delay at the airport: “Amazing! I’ll be freakin’ fluent by the time I get home!”
Now, I understand that it’s not always possible to turn on your inner positive guru, but when you can use wasted time to your advantage, it’s simply awesome. A few minutes here and there will add up to a lot of hours at the end of the year. Take advantage of this. If you ever find yourself bored, transform wasted minutes into language acquisition minutes. As Barney Stinson would say: “When I’m bored, I stop being bored, and be awesome instead”. Ah! What an inspiring fellow…
This can have a huge impact, not only on your goals, but also on your mood. If you enjoy what you are learning, you will even start to appreciate the moments when you do have a few minutes to learn. Plus, when you use that wasted time wisely, there is no reason to feel negatively towards waiting.
Being stuck in traffic is one of the things that tends to create a lot of frustration in people. Granted, after a long day of work, we all just want to get home as quickly as possible. You can’t look at your phone while driving, but you can definitely use that time to train your ear to your new language. Listening to audio material in your target language is a great way to spend your time. Listening to audiobooks, podcasts, TED Talks or audio from movies and TV shows can work wonders on your listening skills. It’s nice to feel like you’re not wasting time in the car. Hey, you can even use the audio from these videos to get some great language-learning tips while you drive! If you use public transportation, you can use Ouino every day during your commute. You could complete a lesson on your way to work or another one on your way home. All these things can make a huge difference on your goals and mood. That precious time quickly adds up and you will soon reap enormous benefits.
There’s a lot of waiting time we can’t change. We can only change what we do during the wait. But there’s also a lot of wasted time that we do have control over. Whenever you continuously change the channel on television, find yourself attentively watching an infomercial on the new glow-in-the-dark Vacuum 3000 or reading an article of the top ten scariest squirrels in Antarctica. That would be a great time to learn.
Learning a language is great because you can do it anytime, anywhere. Whenever you have enough time to play Angry Birds or Candy Crush (although they’re very entertaining, very important games, alright? Just saying… :P), you usually have enough time to learn. Playing those games can be really fun. But after countless hours of playing, all you really get is a sweet high score (okay, that’s pretty cool). But if you find a language-learning method that you really enjoy, what you get in the end is a new language to communicate with millions of people around the world. It can also improve your brain power, memory and multi-tasking skills. That’s not a bad trade off for time that would otherwise go wasted.
Now, we are not saying that you should never waste any time. It’s totally okay to let go every now and then and let your brain wander in the land of daydreams and brainless entertainment. It’s part of what makes us human. But it’s also important to realize that most often than not, there is a lot of time that goes wasted on any given day and that only using only a fraction of these precious wasted minutes can have a real impact on the progress you make in language learning.
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it with your friends by using one the social links below. If you are looking for a language-learning method that will allow you to learn whenever you’re bored, check out our website at Ouino.com. Thanks a lot! Until next time!
Image Attribution of NeilPatrickHarrisHWOFSept2011.jpg used and modified in this video: Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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