Photo by Nomao Saeki
It’s 6am and you think you have the whole day to wake up because you don’t have classes or work today. Then is 10 am and you are still in bed… 1 pm and you feel like a zombie craving for food… then is too late go to the grocery store, you haven’t taken a shower yet and voila. Its 6pm and you have lost the light of the day. Welcome to lazy Saturdays!
See, it’s fact proved that the brain works better in the mornings and it’s so true that we don’t dare to waste it… we are so overprotecting it that we rather don’t use it (seriously?). When learning a language, you need, you must take advantage of this fact! Take advantage of time! This doesn’t mean that you won’t have a lazy day, but rather to have a productive day. If you wake up early, you will have time for everything and then you can take a nap… and above all, you’ll feel that you have accomplished something more.
Have a look of what a productive day is:
6am you wake up, go for a run…. 7 am you get into the shower and eat breakfast. 8 am you start preparing your material… by 10 in the morning you already went over two lessons and noticed some new things that you didn’t see the other day in class. By 12:00 you have refreshed your knowledge and now it’s time to eat (you can take a long break-and a 30 minutes nap)… You sit back at 3pm and memorize some new verbs, at four memorize new vocabulary…. By 6pm you are ready to watch a movie in the language and you will see how much you actually learned that day.
The next day, you can just watch movies or listen to music, as well as trying to read easy books. The Penguin series give you the different options in the different levels. Therefore you have plenty of books to read.
Another useful thing would be that you also listen to the radio in the language and watch the news. I remember one of my Italian friends who had a beautiful Italian accent, suddenly she started speaking very British to me. See, she started watching the TV Series Downton Abbey where all the series happen in the 40s (I must say that I love that show and I even recommended it to my students after seeing the results on my friend), so she has had refined her hearing and therefore grasping her pronunciation. I personally think is incredible how nowadays people have so much access to different cultures. Same happened to one of my Belgian friend who was practicing Spanish, kind of learned in a blink of an eye by watching Narcos. The point is that you don’t have excuses, but the most important thing is that if you wake up too late, you will lose the day and probably the week, the month, the year.
Be smart and set your alarm early. The earlier you get up the more you will accomplish. Now, waking up early means that you have to go to bed early as well, and this is important because your brain needs to rest enough, so you can actually use it. You don’t want to start day tripping for sure. Do you remember how well you used to memorize when you were a kid? Well, back in the days you probably started classes at 8am or even before right? Then, people started saying it was too early and now the kids go to school at 9am or so… in some countries. The problem with this is that three more hours and the body starts sending signals of hunger and there isn’t any other stronger distraction as this, because eating is part of your health. But if you wake up early, you will always eat on time and be really tired at night. That means that you will really rest and you will have more room the next day for more vocabulary, verbs, grammar rules, etc.
Try reading and watching the news will be a good thing, because the vocabulary in such things is what we call a ‘secular’ vocabulary and it’s the daily one you’ll need the most. Also is very high standard. But guess what? The broadcasting is very early in the morning, maybe this can be your alarm.
And how do I know this? Because I love learning!