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Time Management Tips for English Learners

Time management for English learners

Everyone here wants to learn English and speak it fluently, right?

The #1 problem of every learner is not vocabulary or grammar rules but finding time to learn English. So, the paradox appears: we all have the idea of how to learn English, but most of us don’t have any idea of when to do it.

As a result, we procrastinate. And big chances are, we procrastinate because we have no idea how to manage time. We have to work, eat, sleep, sustain a family…

As they say, who want – do, who don’t want – find an excuse.

So, when is that time to use for English learning?

There is always a solution, and there are many time management tricks for English learners to use and deal with procrastination once and for all.

Make a schedule

There is always more to do that you have time for, so you should set priorities and make a schedule of your learning. Set goals in language learning to make the process easier.

For example, you may divide all stuff into two groups:

  1. English stuff you need to practice every day. (It is reading, writing, listening, and speaking.)
  2. English stuff you want to get done by a particular time. It can be an English essay, a chapter of your book, a post for your English blog, etc.

Remember that it’s often easier to do things in small doses, so never say you don’t have time. For example, your learning schedule can look like this:

  • read something for 20 minutes on the way to work;
  • listen to a podcast for 10-15 minutes on the way home;
  • chat with English-speaking friend in the evening;
  • write an essay outline just before going to bed.

You can make a weekly schedule or a daily to-do list. The key moment is to follow this schedule and not to find excuses for omitting it.

Use technology

If you have troubles remembering to do English practice, try setting up your devices so they remind you. Plus, you can learn English with the help of mobile applications and other tools developed to help you succeed.

You can try some apps from BusyTeacher’s 9 Best Mobile Apps for ESL Students, or choose one of 8 Best Apps for Learning English from FluenU.

There are tons of ways to automate your study, schedule, and ease it, so don’t hesitate using them to manage your learning and find time for it.

Learn what matters

As Swedish polyglot Erik Gunnemark noticed, we need only a few hundreds of words to communicate in a target language. To understand 95% of talks and be able to answer common questions, 1,000 of carefully chosen words and word combinations is enough.

As far as we know, learning separate words never works for people who want to speak English fluently. The reason is obvious: when you try to remember a word, you can’t find any associations for it and, thus, make it impossible to use this separate word in your speech.

The solution would be learning English collocations, not separate words. Collocations are words that go together in phrases, making your English sound better and more fluent. Read this article to learn details about using English collocations in your speech.

Tip: Choose one English collocation daily and make it a phrase of the day! It means practicing it throughout the day, trying to use it wherever possible, writing a story with it, listening to songs with this phrase in lyrics, using it in talks with English-speaking friends, etc. Such a trick can be good tactics to remember new words and collocations in your target language.

Develop useful habits

Most of us can’t find time for learning, but we all have habits that are hard to give up. Why don’t we try to develop any habits that could help us learn English without thinking where to find time for it?

If you don’t like traditional forms of studying, considering them a reason of your procrastination, try to make some of the following activities your habit:

  • Change the operating language of your mobile devices into English
  • Play games in English
  • Hang out with native English speakers
  • Watch TV shows in English with subtitles
  • Read books in English
  • Start a blog in English
  • Try to think in English whenever you can

Try multitasking

We all multitask in everyday life. You can clean a room while cooking meals, or have a telephone talk while washing dishes, for example. So, why not to try multitasking in learning English?

Thus, you can listen to a podcast and complete some English exercises at the same time. You can listen to lessons while gardening or jogging, you can listen to audio books in English at the gym, you can think on your English essay or learn a couple of new English words while waiting in the queue, or you can sing an English song and practice your pronunciation while doing your housework.

Don’t be afraid of looking for new ways and places to learn English, and you will be surprised to find out how much time you have to complete all tasks.

Get rid of distractions

Even when you find time to learn English, there are so many things and items distracting you from this process.

Not far to seek, stop checking your emails, Facebook, or Twitter so often! Turn off your TV, ask your relatives not to disturb you while studying, don’t concentrate on unimportant details, don’t chat with friends if it’s not a part of your learning process, etc.

Set deadlines, remember about them, but don’t forget to take some breaks, too.

Devote your vacation to learning English

Yes, most of us work or study hard, and we all want to take some rest during a vacation. Yes, we all are busy and can hardly find time to deal with everyday life. But why not sacrifice one (just one!) vacation to learning a language and improving your life once and for all?

One intensive course of English can help you learn the fundamentals of this language and understand how it works. Once you find out what English is all about, you will be able to manage your time and continue learning it independently.

Are you a student who has three months of summer holidays? Follow the example of Maneesh Sethi who learned a language in 90 days. Are you an employee who has a month vacation? Spend it on taking free English courses online or attend some offline courses in your neighborhood.

So?

To learn English successfully and speak it fluently, non-natives should know and keep in mind many aspects; and time management is one of them. While you understand the importance of speaking this language, it can be hard to find time for learning it. Make a plan, organize everything, develop useful habits, don’t forget about making the most out of modern technologies, don’t let anything distract you from learning process – and your English will flourish soon.

About the author: This article was written by Mike Hanski who is a writer for Bid4papers and an occasional musician. He likes to write on topics related to eLearning and all things social media. Feel free to contact him on google+ and twitter.

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  • Pingback: How a Polyglot Can Help Us Become Better Language Teachers | LearnWithOliver.com()

  • Thanks for the nice words, I’m really glad you like my blog and the stuff I publish here! Speaking of having a conversation with me – I’m sorry my friend but these days I’m extremely busy dealing with my students in the evening and being away at the college during the days so I really don’t have any time to chat with you guys! Sorry about that! 😉

  • Thanks Kleber for the positive feedback, much appreciated! 😉

  • zolihatef

    Hi Robby,

    Thank you for your nice and useful advice. I Do enjoy following your blog.

    I have been studying the English language about 5 years or thereabout and I was following different kind of podcasts . Once I was at the computer I happened to listen one of your audios. I found them interesting and now I believe they are so so much useful for anyone who wants to improve her or his spoken field.

    I just wish that I had a chance to have a conversation with you just for a second.

    Thank you again and God bless you!

  • Kleber

    Awesome tips! As you mentioned in the beginning, we all know how to learn it. Thank you very much for the encouraging words. It’s very motivational for us learners. very well done!