Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Small things to fit in your schedule when you don't have a lot of time to study:
When you first said that you were going to learn a new language, you probably created a study plan and thought “This is the perfect plan.”
But then LIFE hit you and you suddenly found yourself skipping 2 weeks of this “master plan”. Maybe, you started studying again, or maybe you extended your break... and now here we are; too busy to study again!
The big question here is…
What do you do when you’re too busy to practice your language?????
Is it ok to take a break?
There’s NOTHING wrong with taking time for yourself and skipping some sessions!!
Especially when you’re overwhelmed in other areas of your life, remind yourself that life happens and self-care should be a priority.
If studying feels more like a burden than an adventure, it’s probably time to take a step back to re-evaluate why. You don’t want to look at your language with doom. Come back to your study plan when you feel like you’re able to rework it and a backup plan (which we’re talking about in this post!)
I'm ready to learn, but I'm just busy...
Maybe you’re still motivated to learn, but you can’t afford to literally sit and put pencil to paper. That's perfectly fine! Language learning can happen anywhere at any time: it doesn't have to be a chore. In fact, you can find some simple, short, and fun activities related to your interests to help you keep up with your learning habits.
Even if the activities aren’t in your original study plan, doing something is better than doing nothing if you're determined to meet your language goals. Most of the activities we’ll list today are so accessible that you can do them during a morning commute, while you’re resting before bed, or even while you’re listening to music!
By keeping it fun, simple, and short, you can kill two birds with one stone. If you're do this the right way, you'll look forward to your morning podcast commutes or your language playlist while you clean your home, and the language you're learning could continue to feel like a hobby.
You'll be glad you didn’t give up on studying for the day AND you’ll be able to grab something from what you did.
Without further ado, here are some language activities to fit in when you’re too busy to sit and study:
Find a short video in your language (no more than 5 minutes) and write/type how many words you know.
Choose a video that seems fun and use subtitles. Remember, this isn’t your typical study session. These are mini sessions! You’re just trying to take in a little bit of the language so you can keep good study habits. This is a good way to check your progress while watching something you enjoy.
Listen to a song in that language and write/type how many words you know.
Again, choose a song that seems interesting to you and use subtitles. These are mini sessions!
Write/type 5 sentences about your day in that language.
This one is a bonus for people who have journaling goals! If you want to modify this, keep the sentence count between 3-5 sentences and just focus on a topic that you can write about mindlessly.
Record a short video of yourself doing something and try to explain it in that language.
This one takes a little more energy than the other suggestions on this list. These days, social media influencers capture these short, relatable moments of their life and talk about it. IF you’re up for it, this challenge could be your private TikTok video or instagram short you can share with your friends for that extra confidence boost.
Do short vocab quizzes on quizlet.
This one is perfect for those moments when you have to commute or wait in the doctor’s office. It’s a short review activity, not a study session to learn new words. Pro tip: having small vocab sets can help for small sessions like this.
Read children's fables from your language’s culture in English.
Why? First, children’s fables are interesting, and you want interesting activities for your busy days. Second, sometimes learning about the language’s culture in English can be more meaningful than translating large groups of text for language practice. Actually, we encourage learning in the target language, but it can be stressful and time consuming. You don’t want that when you already feel like you have a lot on your plate. And finally, knowing children’s fables can be great conversation starters when you meet people. Bonus: If you have time, write 2-3 sentences about the story in that language.
The main message here is to...
figure out if you need to take a break or not
prepare small activities for those days when you can’t fit in your scheduled study session, and
make sure that your activities are short and fun so that you can keep enjoying the language journey.
Language learning should be something you look forward to, not something you consider an extra burden. When you start feeling like you can’t put time into it, make it fun for yourself! You got this.
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How do you find time to study on your busy days? We’d love to hear from you, so tell us about some activities you do on your busy days down below!
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Ok, now it's really done! Happy learning!
Study like a diamond ♢ Practice like a club ♣ Vibe like a heart ♡ Speak like a spade ♠