#1 Make it your favorite hobby
I have lots of hobbies. I’m the kind of person who is either keeping myself busy or relaxing on my couch reading a book/watching a show. One hundred percent energy or 10 percent energy, I guess? Some of my other hobbies are playing the violin (I also play guitar, ukalele, and a smidgen of piano), riding horses, reading a book, writing poems/short stories/working on a longer book, French into English translations (which I also do for freelance work and this also counts as language practice), drawing/painting/various art projects, watching movies/tv shows…and then outside hobbies include hiking, picnicking, exploring different neighborhoods in my city, going to the movies, and hanging out with my friends and family. I also have a betta fish and a number of plants that I keep alive in my home!
Language learning is my hobby that takes #1 priority at the moment. This has fluctuated throughout my life (which is totally okay), but I see more progress when it’s at the top of my to-do list.
#2 Create daily habits
Create a daily routine for your language learning. Fitting a little bit of practice into your day keeps it fresh in your mind and integrates it into your life. You’ll learn more vocab/grammar/language and it will stick more solidly if it’s a daily routine.
#3 Fit your language learning into every nook and cranny of your life
If you like to watch tv, listen to music, read books, listen to podcasts, and watch the news, consider doing these normal activities in your target language! You learn more vocabulary this way- words that you might not have come across in your textbooks, and words that are topic specific. You also immerse yourself more into the language this way.
#4 Habit stacking
I’ll probably talk more about this later. The idea of “multi-tasking” has been around for a while- like listening to a podcast while doing the dishes. But a new term that I’ve seen used by the language community is called “habit stacking”. You add your language learning to a habit that you already do- that podcast could be in French, while you’re doing the dishes. You could listen to a Spanish audio cd while brushing your teeth before you go to bed. When you eat breakfast, you could watch a Polish youtube video, and when you work out, you could count out reps in Chinese!
#5 Language laddering
I don’t do this too often…this is something that I could probably play around with to add to my own learning routine. But it is a very cool language learning concept: you use a stronger language that you’re learning to help you learn a newer language! So you could set your Memrise or Duolingo account language to Italian as you go through their Chinese courses, for example.
Just a few ideas of how to fit language learning into your busy every day life! Let me know if you have any tips and tricks of your own.