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Spare time? I don’t have any! You mutter to yourself.

Truth is we all have spare time or at least low – value uses of time as explained by Josh Kaufman author of The First 20 hours, how to learn anything fast. These are moments that you could eliminate and replace with higher value activities, because they have a low priority or are of no importance in the grand scheme of life.  I will give you three somewhat more universal examples of low –value uses of time and what Josh suggests for personalizing it, so you can start implementing them and seeing a change in your Spanish learning without having to carve huge amounts of time specifically for your language learning endeavours.

These moments will depend of course on your current circumstances, whether you are retired, you work full time or if like me you work and you have a young family.

Example 1  

You are queuing at the supermarket, there are a few people before you or the person in front of you is paying their big bill in pennies or they can’t find their membership card to get points, the fact is you have 5 minutes or so of “spare time”.

Could you at this point try and describe in your head, not out loud apparently that is not acceptable, what this person is doing in Spanish? Could you try and recall food vocabulary that you see on the counter? Could you describe what people around you are wearing? Could you tell what the weather is doing outside?

Example 2

You are waiting for the kettle to boil, or the toast to pop up from the toaster; you are waiting for someone to pick you up, or you are expecting a phone call. You are stuck in traffic. The point here is you have a few spare minutes whilst you are waiting for something else to happen or change.

Could you revise your numbers? Count from 20-100 and backwards if the traffic jam is too long?

Could you try and recall words from your Spanish lesson that week? Could you say what you are about to do using the structure ir + a + infinitive?

Example 3

You are checking Facebook for the third time today, you are following a long stream of conversations on WhatsApp or simply wasting time by reading what stupid thing Trump has done now!  Could you replace some of that time with Spanish practice?

If you are spending 30 minutes or so on such activities, could you replace with diligent listening? Could you instead go on Spanish learning apps or websites?  A quick google search for best Spanish apps will inspire you and give you ideas.

There are a million ways in which you could implement short or long bursts of Spanish practice into your everyday life. To find those moments, Josh Kaufman suggests recording your use of time on a notebook over a few days to identify low – value uses of time.

Saying: “where has this week gone!” will take on a different meaning!

After I implemented the above I discovered I could practice German numbers for a total of about 30 minutes throughout the week without changing my routine at all. Let me illustrate. On my way to teaching; I drive from Wickham to Kintbury every day. This entails crossing the A4 which usually takes me a few minutes and then the level crossing in Kintbury which also takes me a few minutes. Precious minutes to practice something I wouldn’t have time for otherwise.

Now the question is… how are you spending your spare time?


 Love learning – Love Spanish

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