We’re living a frantic life and it seems there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything we wish to do. Often, learning a language ends up by being the most neglected area of our life. But why do some people manage to achieve so much more in the same period?
The answer is time management.
Time management is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities.
Good time management demands a shift in focus from being busy to being effective.
You will never find time for language study if you’re unable to be on top of your to-do list in all areas of your life.
Being involved in endless activities, and always playing catch-up does not guaranty the best of results, it is often the contrary. You end up tired, stressed and not at all motivated to open your language book for a study session.
When multitasking you end up tired, stressed and not motivated.
When you manage your time efficiently you become more productive at work and at home, you’re less stressed, and find more balance in your life as you accomplish all the goals you set up to achieve both at work and in private.
You must ditch your addiction to being busy and start working smarter.
Follow these tips to up your game.
Multitasking is truly ineffective. When you do two tasks at the same time, your attention is divided between the two and it takes the double amount of time to finish each one. You lose concentration when jumping from one task to another and the result is that both tasks are poorly executed.
The best is to focus on one task at a time.
When you’re studying your second language, block time out just for that and let people around you know that you’re not available during this period. Your retention of the information will improve considerably, and you will start seeing results.
Prioritise your tasks
It is good to have a to-do list, but if that list is endless it will add stress and will probably lead to procrastination.
Learn to prioritise
Learn to prioritise the tasks in your to-do list. One way to do it is by numbering each task (1 being the high priority item and 6 the very low priority). I recommend you to have a daily to-do list with no more than four items that will be easier to accomplish. You will feel less pressure and it will have a feel -good factor when you crossed all of them daily.
Another way to prioritise is by using the Eisenhower Matrix. It will help you determine if a task is high priority or low priority, urgent or not.
The same apply to your language study. Depending on your available time decide every day on which two or three items max you’re going to focus on, and make sure you do them.
See the big picture. Write down your plans for the near future as well as how to you visualise your life in the next 2,5,10 years work-wise, as well as personal and your language learning. What outcome are you pursuing in all these categories, because goals give you a destination and vision to work toward. It will allow you to also manage your priorities and your time so that you move from A to B.
Set SMART goals.
Smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and time-bound .
You should focus on your long-term goals without overlooking your short-term priorities.
To be productive, you must learn to avoid distractions. It is reported that some people tend to lose as much as two hours a day in distractions. Imagine what it could do to your life if you could reclaim these two hours.
When involved in an activity, try to stay away from emails, IM chats, phone calls, colleagues or family members interrupting; because every time you stop a task it takes time to get back in the flow of the activity as you lose concentration dealing with other things. If you want to be in control and do your best work, you must find ways to keep interruptions to a minimum.
Procrastination happens when you put off tasks that you should be focusing on right now. When you procrastinate guilt creeps up because you’re conscious that you should be doing this task that you’re dreading and avoid at all cost.
You must learn to fight procrastination back. One useful strategy is to tell yourself that you’re going to work on this task just for five minutes and often it’s completed. The problem is starting, once engaged in the task it becomes easier.
If you want to learn more about procrastination register to my FREE audio-course: Overcoming Procrastination, it gives you more in-depth strategies and tips.
Learn to say “NO”
Most people find it hard to say no and end up with lots of commitments they are unable to handle. This will affect all areas of your life and for sure you will probably have no time for your language study.
Teach yourself subtle ways to say “no” to the extra tasks whilst being nice to the person who wants to burden you.
It is recommended to take breaks often so that your brain can be at its best and you feel energised. Go for a walk if possible or take five minutes to meditate. This will improve your concentration and it will make a huge difference in your productivity.
To be productive, it’s necessary to have a holistic approach to all areas in your life. It is not possible to improve one if there are problems in others. To find time to study this foreign language, you should spring clean your schedule and make room for this activity. Managing your time adequately will help you achieve it. Do it and see the results flowing.
If you want to know how good you are at managing your time, TAKE THE QUIZ!