Learning Spanish – What Do You Do When You Are Too Busy?

Too Busy To Learn Spanish

Today I have been out and about all day.

In fact I have been attending a motor cycle maintenance course in preparation for my trip to Spain in a few weeks time.

I thought it might be a good idea to understand what to do if I encounter mechanical difficulties in the middle of nowhere.

It was an excellent course and I learnt loads that I know I can call on if need be. Though I must admit I hadn’t planned on fording many raging torrents where my engine might get flooded.

Still who knows what I may encounter in sunny Spain?

Back to Learning Spanish…

As the course was a couple of hours away in beautiful South Wales, it was an early start and then a long day arriving home just after 8.00pm.

So what happens to learning Spanish on a day like that?

Well my current strategy is to learn new stuff using Benny Lewis’s Language Hacking For Spanish Book and still do my daily review.

Clearly I couldn’t do that during the day. If I was going to plan to do it at all it would have to be after I got home.

Sometimes life gets in the way.

And when it does, you either need to adapt. Or perhaps put your activities on hold until you get back to normal.

The second option is fraught with danger.

Err when I say fraught with danger, it is really just a turn of phrase. I mean there is hardly any danger in not learning Spanish for a day.

There is more real “danger” in just walking down the high street on a busy Saturday afternoon.

You could be accosted by aggressive charity donation grabbers, or laughed at by under age teenagers high on Red Bull…. or perhaps convince yourself into buying something fashionable for you that is more appropriate for someone 10 years younger!

Now that’s danger!

If I become more level headed and focus on the real world, what I meant is this.

As soon as you put a temporary halt to what has become a routine habit, you run the risk of it stopping.

Now if you have sufficient momentum and are highly motivated, the chances of that might be quite low.

But if you are struggling a bit to make the progress you want because you are still finding your feet, then it might be an easy way out for you.

You will passively pull out from the programme or PPOFTP as we like to say in my house.

Well… that’s what I like to say…

You might convince yourself (and perhaps others too) that it is because you were just too busy.

But the reality is that if you do, you probably weren’t that committed.

It will become your REASON to save face but it is actually an EXCUSE.

So What Did I Do Today?

Well I realise when I am faced with lots of commitments that get in the way of my usual routine, i have to do one of two things:

– Adapt and adjust to fit things in, OR…
– Just do something.

Today I didn’t have the luxury of being able to fit things round my commitments.

But I did have a total of four hours in the car.

This is what I did.

I listened to an hour of Michel Thomas terrorising his two students as he taught them some basic Spanish.

Now it’s a set of recordings I have listened to before on a number of occasions.

But this time they sounded different… because I was different from when I had last listened to them.

I had struggled to keep up with what Michel covered in the first recording. I kind of got the gist and managed to mumble through some of the exercises where I had to speak Spanish.

This time though it was different.

I was able to understand more of what he taught AND was able to use it in the repeat back exercises.

I only listened for an hour and then I focused on my journey.

Here’s What I Gained Today

It was a useful way to pass the time and a number of things happened:

– I was able to clear up a couple of stumbling blocks from the last time I listened to this particular recording
– My confidence increased because I understood the Spanish being taught and could respond correctly
– I made connections with some of the other stuff I have been learning elsewhere.
– There were one or two Ahhhh moments as things dropped into place.

So whilst I didn’t complete my usual list of planned activities, I still made some progress.

And I think that is important.

Even if I had just spent 10 minutes using the Duolingo app (not whilst driving of course), then that would have also ticked the box of “adaption”.

Just doing something will help maintain the momentum. You will have mentally told yourself that you have done some Spanish. You will have kept up your daily habit.

And that is important.

What About My Daily Review?

Well after a hard day stripping down motor bikes, I fell asleep halfway my review through sat up in bed trying to cram it in before I went to sleep.

I woke up at 3.07 in the morning, with my neck at an uncomfortably awkward angle, iPad cradled in my lap…. still part way through my review.

Can’t win them all I suppose…

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