learning tips for busy people // self-learning diaries #2


This is the first proper episode of my new
series, called the self-learning diary. If you want the full picture of what this
is all about you can check the first video which I will link down below. So, the first month as a self-learner has
been slow, to say the least. Between presenting my master’s dissertation,
starting a new job and finally getting started on planning and meeting vendors for my wedding,
a lot has been on my plate and I rarely found the time to engage in intensive study sessions. Although I’m lucky to work only 35 to 40
hours a week, adding to that a more creative side-hustle like YouTube really takes a toll
on my levels of energy at the end of the day. However, I created some rules that despite
not making much sense in their usefulness, are good enough for me because they are easy
to remember and allow me to structure my day a little bit better in order to incorporate
some small language learning sessions during the week. Basically I’ve created two systems; first
of all, I’ve been interchanging language learning according to the time of day. I have been studying Japanese in the morning,
Latin during lunch breaks at my work place and German in the evenings. The way I decided to allocate languages according
to time was not random, though; I prefer to study Japanese in the morning because it’s
the most intense for me in terms of memorizing the characters and then being able to remember
what they translate to as well as grammar and sentence structure rules. Latin is the easiest for me because it’s
similar to Portuguese in many ways and I’ve been learning it through reading exercises
that focus on contextual reading. The book is small and the simple language
makes it a good companion for lunch breaks. I keep all my Latin materials in my office
so there’s a full allocation of those materials to one place only and I won’t fall into
the temptation of switching languages while I’m home just because Latin is easier. German is more intermediate in terms of difficulty
so I prefer to leave that learning session for when I have More time in the evening,
which, despite not providing that full fresh feeling that I have in the morning, still
allows me to do a short session of productive work. My second rule is to use any of my selected
learning tools to study and avoid forcing myself to use only traditional means. This means that for instance when I’m tired
in the evenings I like to refresh my memory by doing a lot of Duolingo levels in German,
reading short stories or revising past materials. If I’m feeling more energized I try to learn
new chapters in my main textbook and explore more formal grammar rules. What about consistency? Well, consistency has been hard to achieve. There are days when it is impossible to study
or dedicate more than fifteen minutes to language learning. Other days, I feel like I’d rather do more
entertaining and less focused activities to distract myself from the rest of my work. However, as much as daily consistency has
been hard to achieve, I feel that pursuing weekly consistency has been more important,
as it allows me to manage my time more effectively according to my workload. To make sure I’m succeeding in that whole
weekly consistency thing, I’m trying to schedule mini goals for the week. Usually on sundays I tell myself what I want
to accomplish in terms of language learning until next Sunday. This can be either getting to a certain point
in the textbook, being able to talk about a specific subject or say a specific set of
sentences, or reach a certain level in Duolingo. The fact that I establish weekly goals makes
me feel like I’m challenging myself instead of getting into a boring learning routine,
and it also lets me organize my tasks as I get through the week instead of forcing myself
to study just because it should be part of a specific routine. It has definitely been working a whole lot
better for me. By the way, I’ve been using Goodnotes 5
a lot for this whole language learning process. I organize my notebooks by language and every
time I find something interesting related to the languages I’m learning I just throw
all the information and images I can find in there and then organize everything according
to what I think will be useful down the road. Here’s a sneak peek of some of my Japanese
notes. It’s not much but I feel that being able
to keep on learning while working is such a big thing that every bit of progress is
great. I’ve been trying as much as possible to
cut back on paper consumption so I’ve decided to use mostly my iPad for note-taking, annotations,
summaries and practice sheets and materials related to language learning. While I prefer the feel of pen and paper,
I think that having the opportunity of owning a tool like an iPad that mimics as much as
possible that exact experience without all of the waste associated with handwriting is
more than enough for me to feel the incentive to switch those habits. Having everything stored online means I have
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I will see you next week. Bye guys!

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