“I don’t have time for English!”

By 18 March 2019 Video lessons No Comments
finding time to learn english

Hi there! I’m your English coach Christina, welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll learn American culture and business know-how to become confident in English.

Let me ask you a question: What’s the biggest reason that you can’t do as much English as you would like? Complete this sentence “I don’t do as much English as I’d like because….”

If you said “because I don’t have time”, you are in the right place. You have plenty of time to improve your English, and I’ll show you how!

Let’s go!

One thing that helps me to find time to do things is to join a program, where I can put the appointments in my calendar and I have to go because other people are expecting me.

That’s part of the benefit of joining my Faster Fluency Conversation Club. You get 3 regularly-scheduled speaking sessions, a community of learners and a teacher, plus resources to increase your vocabulary with conversation themes each week.

Next week, our theme is time management! So if you want to talk about it and have a structured conversation program, join us! All of the details are on this page.

Now, be prepared, because I’m about to be brutally honest.

“I don’t have time” is bullsh*t

I warned you, no more nice Christina (just for the next minute, and it’s for your own good).

“I don’t have time” is the poorest excuse. Every single person has 24 hours in a day, or 168 hours in a week. In a week, you’ll spend around 56 hours sleeping, and around 45 hours working. That leaves 67 hours for YOU.

Sure, you have family and housework to do, but if you have 67 hours available and you can’t find just 1 hour total in your week to improve your English, it’s because it’s not really that important to you.

Which is fine, it’s not important for everyone.

But think about how you spend your 67 free hours: Watching TV, scrolling on Facebook, checking email again and again.

Your time is your most precious resource, because you can never replace it after it’s lost. You have the time, but you’re choosing to use it for something other than English.

So the first thing we have to change is your attitude.

YOU choose how you spend your time

Try this. Think of an activity you would like to do more of, like practicing English. Today, you’re going to have lots of times when you choose what you do.

On the bus, do you look at your phone, or listen to a podcast in English?

On your lunch break, do you check your emails, or do a short activity to improve your English?

It’s your choice.

So every time you don’t do English, don’t say “I don’t have time to do English”. Be honest with yourself and say “I choose to do something else instead of English”, or “English is not my priority right now” or “English is important, but not so important that I accept to change my habits to improve.”

It’s hard to admit this, but this is the honest truth. It’s easy to say the weak excuse “I don’t have time” because it makes it feel like it’s out of your control.

But the truth is, you control your choice of how to use the free time you have each day.

Be honest with yourself, and you’ll see, you’ll start choosing English, if it’s important to you.

How to find time to choose to do English

Now, concretely, how do you find the time in your day to choose to improve your English?

The first thing is to identify how you spend your time.

This week, track your time:

  • How many times per day do you check email? Is it really necessary so often? How much time do you spend on social media on your phone? Do you need that much time on Facebook?
  • How much time do you spend traveling to and from work?
  • Waiting in lines?
  • Watching TV shows that don’t really interest you?

Note this in a spreadsheet for the next 7 days. You’ll be surprised where you’re losing a lot of valuable time.

Then analyze it. What activities can you reduce or stop doing?

Aim to use 10-20% of your “free” time to do English instead of wasting it. This is a small amount, but we’re going to build new habits, so we should change a little at a time.

If you waste 5 hours a week watching TV or playing on your phone, you can easily exchange 30 minutes of Facebook for 30 minutes of English work.

Do the same thing next week, and build up a new habit of choosing English progressively.

It’ll be more sustainable this way, and after a month, you’ll see that you’re doing maybe 2-3 hours of English every week!

Harness the power of “micro moments”

Think of all those very short times where you’re waiting, or traveling to work, or just feeling distracted.

What do you often do? Pull out your phone and check social media or the news. Maybe just for a minute or two, but over a day, these micro moments add up.

So make it easy for you to do a few minutes of English here and there. Install some language learning apps on your phone, like MosaLingua or Quizlet.

Print a vocabulary list and keep it in your bag.

Bookmark an online course on your phone’s internet navigator, so you can do an exercise quickly.

The idea is to make it super easy to pull out your phone or printed resource to review in micro moments of 1 or 2 minutes.

Then, you can continue to think about the words in your head, and that counts as “working on your English!”

If you want some ideas on how to fill your day with micro moments of learning, there’s a great article with a sample language learning routine on Olly Richards’ I Will Teach You A Language. on how to choose to improve your English throughout your day.

So to recap:

  1. Stop with the lame excuse “I don’t have time.” We all the same amount of time in a week.
  2. Remember that YOU choose how you use those 67 free hours you have each week.
  3. To use them better, start by tracking how you spend your time.
  4. This way, you can reduce the wasteful activities and replace them with English, progressively.
  5. Finally, harness the power of micro moments, and make it super easy for yourself to review an app or do a short course activity when you have a few minutes of downtime.

Now, what about you?

What is one activity that you know is a waste of your time each day?

Can you commit to doing English instead of that activity, for just a few minutes each day? Of course you can!

Tell us what you’re going to do, in the comments below.

And if you want to have structured time each week to practice speaking English, and have a community who expects you to be there each week, join my Faster Fluency Conversation Club!

It’s my online conversation practice club, where you get a conversation theme and exercises to practice speaking 3 times a week. And our conversation theme next week is time management!

You can get all the details on how to join at https://christinarebuffet.com/join-faster-fluency-conversation-club/
Thank you for learning with Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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