10 Ways to be More Productive in Language Learning

We are not born with a positive ‘go do‘ mindset. It is our experiences, cultural background and religious beliefs that shape who we are as individuals. Although our genetics do have an influence on the chemical makeup of our attitude a positive outlook is actually a skill that anyone can learn!

It takes hard work, consistency, and perseverance.  There will always be highs and lows that life will throw at you. You mold your own perspective and are ultimately responsible for your own self-growth and success.

“Remember you shape your perspective and are ultimately responsible for your own self-growth and success”.

Limiting exposure to negativity, focusing more on the positive, offering and asking for help when needed, will help you feel better prepared for learning a new language. It can be very challenging to remain positive when faced with the challenges that can arise. For example, a language partner might not show, a tutorial may be canceled or you may not be feeling confident about an exam. These experiences can all have a negative impact on your attitude for study and make you feel less motivated. However, it does not have to be that way. You can shape your own response to negative experiences and improve your performance.

1. Focus on the Positive to be More Productive

Step back and take a deep breath and remind yourself of all the reasons why you are learning the language. Write down all the things that are going well for you. A good idea is to invest in a journal. To get some ideas on how to use a language journal check out 10 ways to use a bullet journal for language learning. Once you have done this make a start! Any fear of failure of excuses for having a lack of time will greatly reduce.

2. Look for the Good

Many people find it hard to stay positive when faced with negative situations. If you are struggling with

learning a language, always remember that this difficulty will pass and if it doesn’t you can adapt your learning to better cope with the challenge. Be grateful for the things that are going well for you.  Honour even the smallest of successes that you have when learning a new language.  Noticing and pointing out the good will help you

to stay more positively focused, motivated and will build greater confidence.

A positive attitude can also influence those around you. Give thanks when someone makes an extra effort to help you. If you’re impressed with someone, tell them. Praise encourages an appreciation and this positive reinforcement will be returned to you in some form or another. Looking for the good can also reduce nonconstructive competition and comparison between other language learners too.

3. Escaping Negativity

If someone is being rather negative about another language learner refuse to join in. My trick is to turn the conversation around with some humor or telling a story of something else thus changing the topic. Joining in with negativity not only hurts those around you but over time you could develop a ‘toxic’ mindset too. A toxic mindset is detrimental to your own well-being. There will always be people who like to dwell and suck up positive energy like a vacuum and leak out negative vile. They think that the world is against them and they have a right to have whatever they want with little regard for those around them. They always complain and are quick to criticise others. Be aware of these people and try to avoid them because their pessimistic outlook will start to impact your own. Although sometimes it can be our very own thoughts that are negative check out this post to learn how to manage negative thoughts.

4. Environmental and Biological Factors

Scientific studies have shown that our environmental factors can impact on our ability to learn. ambient temperatures are linked to productivity. The comfort zone is between 22ºC/72ºF – 25ºC/77ºF. It is also important that you are aware of your most productive time of the day. Even if is 11pm at night or 5am in the morning. Pick a time that feels right for you. Our learning styles can be very different to one another so it is important you have the right learning style for you. If you are not as productive as the day before try switching computer for a book or working with pen and paper rather than a phone app. Switching environment can be a great motivator and might even promote some creativity!

5. Less is More

Less actually equals more! Productivity is not measured by how long you sit in your designated study area. The Pomodoro Technique is an excellent technique. Work in short bursts with maximum focus and take short breaks when your attention starts to wonder. It is important to just focus on one thing at a time. Research has shown that multi-tasking is inefficient.

6. Setting Goals for Language Learning

If you say “I want to learn French” that isn’t a very precise goal and sounds very overwhelming. Break goals down into smaller more management chunks over a specific time period.  It is important to set ambitious, but realistic goals. If your goals are over ambitious you are setting yourself up to fail and impacting on your future motivational levels. You will find more enjoyment in learning if you’re always aiming to do better. Acknowledge what you can’t change and work on the things you have control over. Ask yourself what your ultimate goals are? Where do you see yourself in 6 months, five or ten years time? Then ask yourself what you need to do to get there.

7. Journaling for Success 

Make a plan in a journal. For more information check out How to Set Language Learning Goals in Your Bullet Journal.

8. Pareto Principle

More commonly known as the 80-20 rule. This principle draws upon the rule that 80 per-cent of our effects come from just 20% of the cause.

9. Social Stimulus

Developing relationships with other language learners is one of the most effective ways to improve your attitude and performance. Feeling supported will help you have more fun with your language learning, Reach out and realize the value of study partners. If you begin to feel negative, look to upbeat language learners to put things back into
perspective for you. Language is key to being social and developing people skills is an important part of language learning. By sharing your goals you will feel more accountable for them. Check out the 24 soft skills that are required to be a successful language learner.

10. Reward yourself

If you’ve just completed a goal, gone up a level in your fluency or you’re feeling
really exhausted, consider taking a break from studying for a couple of days. A long
weekend can improve your productivity and leave you feeling refreshed and more motivated too.

 What helps you to be more productive in your language learning? Comment below…

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The Mindful Language Learner

Trisha, is the founder of Language Learners Journal.com. An award-winning blog dedicated to empowering and promoting a more mindful approach to independent language learning and teaching across the UK and beyond. Trisha has a professional and academic background in psychology and well-being. She has been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years and has professionally taught CBT-based mindfulness for the past 7 years. You can follow Trisha on her official Facebook Page, Instagram or Twitter accounts to discover how to apply simply mindfulness practices and scientifically proven strategies to your language learning...