Think you’re too busy to practice Spanish? With these time-management tips from language teacher Lauren P., you’ll be able to study Spanish even when you’re short on time…
Learning Spanish can seem difficult when you’re pressed for time. No matter how busy you are, however, you can find 15 minutes a day to practice. These tips will help you budget your time so you can fit Spanish practice into your busy schedule.
Set Up a Routine
The only way to commit to anything is to make it part of your daily routine. You don’t think about cooking, showering, or working ahead of time because these things are already part of your daily routine. Set your alarm a few minutes early, or decide when and how you can make good use of your time. Reduce the time you spend online, watching television, or chatting with friends.
When you’re relaxing at home watching TV, watch the Spanish Channel instead. If you subscribe to certain premium channels, you can even watch some of your favorite movies in Spanish. Since you already know the plot, you’ll find yourself translating scenes and picking up new words and phrases. Stop convincing yourself that you don’t have time; schedule Spanish practice as a non-negotiable part of your day.
Learn Spanish Like a Native Speaker
The best way to learn a language is the same way as the native speakers. As a child, you learned vocabulary, verb conjugations, and grammar rules by listening to fluent speakers. Eventually, you became confident enough to start speaking yourself. The complexity of your vocabulary and sentence structure grew gradually over time. The same process works when you’re learning Spanish. While most schools and Spanish learning programs promote memorization of study guides, it’s actually more effective and efficient to practice Spanish through real-life conversations. You can do this by making up realistic sentences and questions, or recording real-life sentences throughout your day. Translate these sentences to Spanish and say them out loud.
You can also use any study guide or Spanish website to review related Spanish nouns, or learn to conjugate Spanish verbs. Then, make up realistic sentences with these words. Since you want to avoid incorrect translations, it’s essential to meet with a private tutor who can ensure you translate sentences correctly.
Learn Spanish on the Go
If you really don’t have time to sit down and practice Spanish, you can practice on the go. How much time do you spend walking, driving, sitting on the train, or waiting in line? While walking or commuting, tune into one of hundreds of Spanish radio stations or podcasts, like SpanishPod101. By simply listening to native Spanish speakers, you’ll learn pace, accent, and pronunciation, while picking up common words and phrases.
If you take the train or bus to school or work, read the Spanish version of your favorite books. Since you know the basic plot, you’ll be able to translate certain words and phrases.
Download an App
You probably spend idle time texting friends or using mobile apps. Make the most of your time and download Duolingo or another language learning app. You will feel like you’re playing a game as you progress through increasingly difficult levels of Spanish. Any time you’re waiting around or on the go, you can be productive with Spanish apps, books, podcasts and websites. You will be amazed how much Spanish you can learn even when you’re away from home.
By practicing like a native Speaker and incorporating Spanish into your day, you can make Spanish practice part of your routine. Now you just need to hold yourself accountable.
Ready to get started? Find a Spanish tutor in your area here!
Lauren tutors various subjects in New York, NY. She has her Master’s Degree in Education (with a concentration in students with learning disabilities), and is a certified NYC Special Education teacher. Learn more about Lauren here!
Photo by Petr Dosek