Learning a new language is challenging, especially when you have a full-time career. But not only does it save you money in the long term, it also opens new business opportunities and allows you to converse with locals. In order to help you structure your time so you can make your language goals happen, here are some of the best ways to make time for language learning even when you’re super busy.
8 ways to learn a language even with a busy career
Now that you’ve decided to learn a new language, let’s discuss how you can maintain this while still working your 9-5. It’s all about finding the right balance that fits your lifestyle!
1. Choose a flexible learning platform
If you’re like me, you’re already scrambling to make time for exercise, so the last thing you want is a class you have to spend lots of time travelling to and add to your stress. That’s why Lingoda’s flexible learning option is perfect for people with busy careers. Language learning with Lingoda’s online courses is completely flexible, because you can schedule classes with qualified teachers and join lessons right from your home in any time zone and for many different languages.
As they say in Spanish, asombrosa! (awesome)
2. Decide on a stress-free time to learn each week
Are you swamped with meetings in the mornings? If so, think about scheduling some dedicated time after dinner to practice your language learning. Or maybe you’re more alert in the morning? Great! Set aside 15-20 minutes and make it a part of your morning routine to focus on learning a new language when you’re feeling upbeat.
From my experience, writing down the exact days and times in combination with the goals I want to reach each week helped me progress tremendously. Whichever part of the day you choose, try to keep it consistent. Three months from now, you’ll be well on your way to language learning success!
3. Find a good teacher
We’ve all had that boring teacher who sits at their desk, speaking in a monotone voice, with the same dull look on their face. On the other hand, I’m sure you can also recall the time a teacher took you on an educational adventure that you still remember to this day (like when Mrs Schutz took my third grade class sledding outside near our school one winter day, I guess she was instilling the love for spontaneity in us!)
Needless to say, the teacher you’ll be learning from really makes a difference. So, when selecting yours, make sure you pick one that will keep you on your toes.
To give a great example, let’s take a moment to meet one of Lingoda’s French teachers, Nancy. Her passion for teaching is obvious as she explains how her love for travelling abroad in Quebec and Puerto Vallarta is a vital element that embodies her teaching. If you’re learning French, be sure to check her out.
4. Make a long-term commitment
Many people who decide to learn a new language often give up shortly after starting.
Why is that?
Glad you asked.
It’s essential to be patient with yourself, and draw upon what you already know. For example, there are over 20,000 different cognates from Spanish to English like problema (problem), or solución (solution). Taking mental note of these easy bits of vocabulary enables you to make connections and strengthens the neural networks in your brain.
Try your best to incorporate small and consistent increments of practice each day (even if it’s only 15 minutes). When you speak a second language as a part of your daily routine, it inevitably becomes part of your new lifestyle. For example, maybe the next time you’re on lunch break at work, you only use Spanish vocabulary.
5. Have someone else keep you accountable
In my personal experience, having accountability buddies has always been productive. Think about it… you don’t want to let that person down, so you feel an urgency to get to practising! Ask a friend, family member or even coworker to meet twice a week to review your progress.
Whether or not your accountability buddy speaks the language you’re learning doesn’t matter. In fact, learning by teaching even increases your retention rate, while being held accountable by someone fluent in the language helps you achieve your language learning milestones. A true win-win!
6. Celebrate milestones to stay motivated
Remember when you were 8, and your family member rewarded you with ice cream after getting good marks in school? Keep that same energy flowing as you reach your language learning goals. A little treat here and there at work is always a great idea, even seriously if it is still ice cream.
7. Balance fun learning with business learning
As I mentioned earlier, learning a new language is all about balance (and a bit of fun)! Learn a mix of business vocabulary and slang words and phrases, so you fit into your new work environment and sound like a native speaker. When you have a balance of both, it helps keep you interested.
Even though I am quite the nerd myself, there are only so many classes I can take about economics and politics – I need a bit creativity and culture here and there to keep me motivated. So whatever your mix of interests is, make sure you apply that same balance to your language class topics.
8. Integrate language learning with your work
Since you’re learning a new language to boost your career anyway, start to use it in your work environment. Whether you’re chatting with your coworkers or writing emails and reports, thinking and using a new language helps you learn it much faster.
Now you have all the tools you need to pursue another language while balancing your 9-5. You got this!