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marcchristensen

Finding the time to practice

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Hi all!

I was wondering whether any of you struggle to find the time to practice your target language as much as  you would like? I really struggle with this. 

How do you combat this problem? 

Any advice would be appreciated! 

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I used to have problems with time, but all I did was taking Google Calendar and scheduling all my activities there.
It'll take lots of effort at the start, but it became a habit to me now.
Also make sure your activities are described short, but specific.

I won't show you my calendar obviously since it's highly confidential, but I can give you an example schedule based on how I do it.

All day long - Go through the kanji on WaniKani.
7:00 - 7:30 - Wake up, shower, put on clothes, etc.
7:30 - 8:00 - Listen to a podcast at JapanesePod101.
8:00 - 8:30 - Breakfast.
8:30 - 9:00 - Flashcards.
9:00 - 12:30 - Web development job.
12:30 - 13:00 - Read or watch news in Japanese.
13:00 - 13:30 - Lunch.
13:30 - 17:30 - Game development job.
17:30 - 18:00 - Dinner.
18:00 - 19:00 - Ask friends about Japanese based on what I found that day.
19:00 - 20:00 - Listen to the same podcast again.
20:00 - 21:00 - Fitness.
21:00 - 22:00 - Review what I've learnt.
22:00 - Go to bed.

Everything in bold is related to language learning.
Try to fill up as many blank spaces as possible, every 2 minutes you're waiting for your train to arrive, every 5 minutes you wait for the waitress to give you your order, even that 1 minute you're waiting for the traffic lights to go green, it can all easily be used for language learning (like going through flashcards, apps, etc. on the go), because it adds up a lot in the end.

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2 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

I used to have problems with time, but all I did was taking Google Calendar and scheduling all my activities there.
It'll take lots of effort at the start, but it became a habit to me now.
Also make sure your activities are described short, but specific.

I won't show you my calendar obviously since it's highly confidential, but I can give you an example schedule based on how I do it.

All day long - Go through the kanji on WaniKani.
7:00 - 7:30 - Wake up, shower, put on clothes, etc.
7:30 - 8:00 - Listen to a podcast at JapanesePod101.
8:00 - 8:30 - Breakfast.
8:30 - 9:00 - Flashcards.
9:00 - 12:30 - Web development job.
12:30 - 13:00 - Read or watch news in Japanese.
13:00 - 13:30 - Lunch.
13:30 - 17:30 - Game development job.
17:30 - 18:00 - Dinner.
18:00 - 19:00 - Ask friends about Japanese based on what I found that day.
19:00 - 20:00 - Listen to the same podcast again.
20:00 - 21:00 - Fitness.
21:00 - 22:00 - Review what I've learnt.
22:00 - Go to bed.

Everything in bold is related to language learning.
Try to fill up as many blank spaces as possible, every 2 minutes you're waiting for your train to arrive, every 5 minutes you wait for the waitress to give you your order, even that 1 minute you're waiting for the traffic lights to go green, it can all easily be used for language learning (like going through flashcards, apps, etc. on the go), because it adds up a lot in the end.

I really like you how your day is set! Doing this everyday should really improve your skills in the language you are learning....i should do it, thank you for sharing :) 
PS. Omg, you have dinner at 17.30.... at 17 i normally eat a snack, than i have dinner at 19.30/20 :D

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@Mameha Yeah, I heard that Italians eat really late before (although it's still early compared to Spaniards).
That schedule is just for demonstration, you don't need to follow it literally like that (knowing not everyone is learning Japanese, and knowing not everyone is a web- and game developer),
In your case you could just swap "ask friends about ... based on what I found that day" and "dinner".

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Just now, Blaveloper said:

@Mameha Yeah, I heard that Italians eat really late before (although it's still early compared to Spaniards).
That schedule is just for demonstration, you don't need to follow it literally like that (knowing not everyone is learning Japanese, and knowing not everyone is a web- and game developer),
In your case you could just swap "ask friends about ... based on what I found that day" and "dinner".

Actually i normally eat at 19,30 but some people has dinner at 18.oo too (i think in north) and someone after 21.00. Some saturday i had dinner even at 22.00/23.00 because i was out with my friends :D

Anyway yeah, it is surely personal and it depends of jobs, other stuffs to do etc but it's a good thing to organize the day systematically like this.

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I'm retired, so no problems here. My schedule:

05:45 get up

06:00-0700 Meet with Chinese tutor on Skype for 1hr conversation

0700-0730 misc

0730-0800 15min L3/15min English language exchange

0800-0830 misc

0830-0900 Put the notes from my moring Chinese conversation into Anki, after researching it in a dictionary

0900-0930 Anki for Japanese, Chinese and Russian

0930-1000 Set the day's diet in cronometer

1000-1100 Cook and eat a large breakfast while playing a Chinese TV show 

1100-1130 misc

1130-1200 Chinese grammar and writing practice

1200-1400 Exercise (cycling or strength training), shower and lunch

1400-1430 misc

1430-1500 Chinese reading and listening

1500-1515 Careful watching of a Chinese drama

1515-1600 L3 Reading and listening

1600-1630 Careful watching of an L3 drama

1630-1700 misc

1700-1800 Cook and eat large supper while playing a Chinese TV show

1800-2200 misc

2200 go to sleep

 

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23 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

All day long - Go through the kanji on WaniKani.
7:00 - 7:30 - Wake up, shower, put on clothes, etc.
7:30 - 8:00 - Listen to a podcast at JapanesePod101.
8:00 - 8:30 - Breakfast.
8:30 - 9:00 - Flashcards.
9:00 - 12:30 - Web development job.
12:30 - 13:00 - Read or watch news in Japanese.
13:00 - 13:30 - Lunch.
13:30 - 17:30 - Game development job.
17:30 - 18:00 - Dinner.
18:00 - 19:00 - Ask friends about Japanese based on what I found that day.
19:00 - 20:00 - Listen to the same podcast again.
20:00 - 21:00 - Fitness.
21:00 - 22:00 - Review what I've learnt.
22:00 - Go to bed.

Just out of curiosity - why so little listening? Unless I've misunderstood, it looks like you only have 30 min/day, and not even every day, of normal (not made for learners) Japanese listening.

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8 minutes ago, Wanda Kaishin said:

Just out of curiosity - why so little listening? Unless I've misunderstood, it looks like you only have 30 min/day, and not even every day, of normal (not made for learners) Japanese listening.

Because as I already said before, it's an example of 1 day based on how I do it, it's not my exact daily routine.
Besides, this example shows 1 hour and 30 minutes of listening (or even 2 hours if you count the "review" part, or even 2 hours and 30 minutes if you count the "watch news" part, or even more if you add up any empty 'on-the-go' spots).

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1 hour ago, Blaveloper said:

Because as I already said before, it's an example of 1 day based on how I do it, it's not my exact daily routine.
Besides, this example shows 1 hour and 30 minutes of listening (or even 2 hours if you count the "review" part, or even 2 hours and 30 minutes if you count the "watch news" part, or even more if you add up any empty 'on-the-go' spots).

Glad to hear you're doing more than you wrote. But to clarify, I said "normal (not made for learners)" listening. It looked to me like all you're doing is listening to the news for 30 min on some days. 

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"where there is a will, there is a way"

If you want something bad enough you'll make it happen no matter the obstacles.

So the real question isn't how do we deal our schedule, the real question is how will you deal with your schedule.

I understand you're fishing for ideas here and that's good, and this is my advice to you - just figure it out!

Sometimes we already know the answer to our problems, we just don't listen to our "inner-self" / gut / call it whatever...you know what I mean. Don't let excuses blind you!

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There's a great Google Chrome extension called StayFocusd which temporarily blocks all other websites (and I believe you can also whitelist others) to effectively force yourself to work (or focus, as it were).

You might find it useful to effectively force yourself to try and learn within an allocated timeslot. I use it sometimes (albeit not for languages) and it really helps me concentrate and block out distractions. Because I work, it's hard to find time to sit down and study, so I find it pretty great.

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If you really want it you will find the time to practice :)    It's all a matter of priorities, even studying for as little as 15 minutes daily makes a huge difference as long as you are persistent.  I plan to take 15 minutes to study a bit Dutch in the morning before work and other 15 minutes at night before bed :) 

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There is always a way, if you really want it you will find time. When I just don't have the time I talk to myself when I'm walking from place to place, saying nonsense but it helps me improve my pronounciation, I think that is a good task to do when you don't have time.

You should also carry a book in the language you want to learn so when you are either taking the bus or waiting in a line or something just take it out and start reading it will improve your vocabulary and your reading skills by a lot.

 

 Cheers.

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Just like anything else, you won't find the time unless you make the time.  Time is a malleable thing.  Take advantage of your downtime to study.  Better yet, try to immerse yourself as much as you can into the language you are studying.  Leave post-its with vocabulary words on your refrigerator and read them in the morning, practice thinking in the language, write diary entries or letters to yourself in the language, watch movies, read books, get apps on your smart phone.  There's an endless amount of methods to squeeze practical application into your schedule.  

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I'm lucky in that when I was learning Spanish I could just talk to my friend in Spanish as it's his native language. Sometimes he'll talk to me in Spanish automatically too so I have to think about it quickly on the spot. I'd like to be able to do the same with Polish as I have some Polish friends. That way you're not expecting to need it and it can catch you off guard but can be a bit more like natural conversation. I suppose when I learned Spanish though it meant I could practice whenever I saw him, and he could practice English, which was useful.

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While I was on my studies (English studies) I was told by my teachers to stand in front of a mirror and practice by watching myself how I pronounce everything. They also told me to say whatever I see or feel. The point was to start thinking in English not only translating it in my head. It was never a full conversion but it was successful. The problem for a foreigner who is learning a new language is in details and form. Things like TH or W is very hard when you don't have it in your language. We have regular d sound that is not a voiced of voiceless dental fricative but it is alveolar. Also formation of sentences is different. Syntax that is. The position of adverbials  is not the same and even the rules for subject, predicate and object are different.

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7 hours ago, djordje87 said:

Things like TH or W is very hard when you don't have it in your language. We have regular d sound that is not a voiced of voiceless dental fricative but it is alveolar. Also formation of sentences is different. Syntax that is. The position of adverbials  is not the same and even the rules for subject, predicate and object are different.

4

Yeah, that stuff is very important when it comes to learning a new language. Also, I've found out something else: the longer you learn, the lesser dependent on your mother tongue you should be. For example, I stopped looking up for meanings in translation. Instead, I use foreign e-dictionaries and apps. Well... I guess they're not that foreign to me anymore.  

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On 3/30/2016 at 4:57 AM, Teira Eri said:

Just like anything else, you won't find the time unless you make the time.  Time is a malleable thing.  Take advantage of your downtime to study.  Better yet, try to immerse yourself as much as you can into the language you are studying.  Leave post-its with vocabulary words on your refrigerator and read them in the morning, practice thinking in the language, write diary entries or letters to yourself in the language, watch movies, read books, get apps on your smart phone.  There's an endless amount of methods to squeeze practical application into your schedule.  

Great advice, and yes, is about making time. This actually reminded me of those people who keep saying that they can't find te time to exercise for 30 minutes a couple times a week.  You need to make the time, squeeze it in your schedule when you can and that's it ;)  Nowadays there are so many options for those learning a language, the person who doesn't study or practice is because they don't want to. 

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You know what, being a mom and working as well, it's hard to find time to learn other languages so I do understand where you're coming from. But here's the thing, if you want it, you'll make time for it. No matter how busy I am, I still find the time to bond with my son, take care of myself and yes, learn a new language. Whenever I have some free time, instead of watching television or going into Facebook, I'll pick up my book and start studying whatever language I'm into. Right now, it's Japanese. 

Of course, studying from a book is not your only option. You can also try downloading apps that can aid you in studying. Apps are great because they're very convenient and practical. Even when waiting in line in the bus stop, you can just open the app and start learning some new words or phrases.

There are 24 hours in a day, surely you can save some time for learning a language, even if it's just a few minutes a day. Good luck!

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Well if you're really interested on leraning the language and it is something exciting for you then you will never need an schedule to practice it, you can always do anything you could ever imagine while you practice, for example, I still do this though, when you're cooking or executing any chore, you can say what you're doing in another language, always in your mind, that's a good way of practicing or at least that's what I do all the time.

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Finding time throughout the day can be tricky; try starting out by putting some time away as soon as you wake up, and right before you go to bed. Other than that, if you try and become more aware of what you're doing and how, you'll find you have more time than ever. Try putting on a podcast, audiobook, radio or TV show in that language while you're doing chores or other tasks that need to be done but aren't extremely important. Use the time you have to do both learn and take care of your to-do list.

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I feel the same way; there is never time to learn the language I want to. But looking through others responses, I think flash cards will help me a lot.

That moment I lie down with my phone unable to sleep before midnight, I could just learn a few words on a flash card.

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I agree with posters who say where there's a will, there's a way. I strongly believe It depends on how big your desire is to learn is, really. But i also think if you're struggling to find the motivation, you've done the right thing asking the Linguaholic community to share some ideas with you, and I hope you can glean something useful from the contributors. In the past when I was learning languages, I had all the time in the world and was also very passionate and eager to learn. So it never felt like a chore at all. I was also driven, motivated very eager to learn. So your problem may in part be due to lack of enthusiasm. I hope you find the answers that you seek :)

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