Are you one of those busy professionals with a burning desire to learn a second language? It’s more common than you think. The trouble is that the stresses and tough timekeeping of work doesn’t leave a lot of room or energy for language learning after everything is else is done and dusted.
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🛸 Nothing Is Impossible
With the right mindset and a set of useful tips like the ones below, even the busiest professional can make time for language learning. Follow our advice below and you’ll be able to realize your language goals without losing an iota of your professional impetus.
1.) Consider Online Classes
When time is a big factor in your ability to do anything outside of work, you need every advantage you can get. Online classes remove the need for you to travel to any classroom or other learning location. You can learn from home, or even from the office if it’s convenient.
Even as little as one hour a week with a native-speaker teacher is enough to make a difference. If you have the right mindset, and keep your weekly appointments, you don’t need a lot to start to make progress. Sometimes, less is really more.
2.) Learn on the Go
If you have a smartphone or an e-reader, then you’re ready to learn. While you’re riding the subway or bust with possibly 30 or 40 minutes to kill, why not whip out your language app and practice some vocabulary? You could also read a short story or practice some conversation through online chat with any friends or contacts you have who speak your target language.
Listening practice is also an easy aspect of language learning that you can do on the go. Whether you’re on public transport with your earbuds in, or listening in the car on your morning/evening commute, you can easily fit in some valuable practice.
In short, you have to make use of all the tools at your disposal. If you stop to analyze your day for a moment, you might find many viable windows of time in which you can insert some quick language study. Each block may not be extensive, but when applied together continuously over several months, it really starts to add up.
3.) Apply Your Workplace Discipline
Another thing that helps busy adult learners is trying to stop thinking of language learning as an “extra” of the work day. When you think of it in this way, it’s much harder to apply yourself to actually take action on it. Instead, build language learning into your working day, either completing work at your desk, or during your journey to and from work. In this way, you are far less likely to miss out on practice.
If you can’t do this for all your language learning, at least try to integrate the most essential parts into your workday like your online class with a native-speaker teacher. Other things like extra reading and vocabulary you can always work on at weekends at home.
4.) Set Realistic Goals
Busy people are often driven and goal oriented. This is great in the workplace, but can be counterproductive for language learning. That same ambitious drive can lead them to set themselves unattainable goals such as becoming fluent within a year, or mastering 1,000 new words per week. In the beginning when they’re planning a schedule and gathering materials, it all seems easy. When they actually face the work after a busy day, however, it’s another story.
Learning a language effectively when you’re busy is about creating realistic targets and manageable amounts of content. If you think it’s unlike you can study three nights per week, then don’t set that target. If you know that, regardless of circumstances, you can guarantee 1-2 nights a week of language study, then that should be your goal; at least in the beginning it should.
As you delve deeper into your target language and become more comfortable with your online teacher, you can easily hope to expand on that range.
😃 If You Think It Can’t Be Done – Then You Just Might Not
Those same traits that make you successful at work --- diligence, timeliness, intelligence and critical abilities --- can also make you a successful language learner. The main obstacle you have to overcome are your own doubts. Hopefully the tips above will provide some much-needed guidance!
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