HOW TO STUDY CHINESE
How To Find Time For Chinese — Even When Your Days Are Packed 🙌🏾
Everyone finds it difficult to squeeze everything they need to do into 24 hours, right? Wrong. There are people who have effectively mastered the technique of prioritizing important tasks and eliminating time-wasting tasks. This frees them up for their essentials. Essentials are the four or five things you want to make time for. That could be learning Chinese, exercising, reading, or changing the world. You can be one of these people.
Do you find yourself getting ready for bed wishing that each day had a few more hours? Are there multiple lists you are yet to get through, a full inbox of unopened emails, that yoga class you promised yourself you’d go to or that book that sits on your bedside table, unopened.
The truth is, we all have the same amount of time in the day. Let’s learn how to reclaim our time and design the life we want to lead.
The Time Barrel
We’re reviewing another one of Hacking Chinese’s articles today: The Time Barrel: How to find more time to study Chinese.
Did you see last weeks article where we talked about whether you can become fluent in Chinese in three months? Short answer, you can’t. Read the full article to find out why.
The time barrel is a cup. Check out the visual on Hacking Chinese’s article. This cup is your day. All 24 hours of your day. The big things that go into your cup are the things you can’t get rid of. You have a day job right? Yup, go ahead and pop that into your cup.
Fill your cup with all of the things you have to do each day.
Here are a few examples:
- Family time
- Any unique obligations
Written them all down? Great. Let’s put these aside and think about the smaller elements of our day. The pebbles. These are the things that we want to do each day. How do we fit these in around the larger rocks in our schedule?
For example, most people have a morning routine. A pebble I dropped into my morning schedule was to take a morning walk. I wake up around 4.45am. Out of the house around 5.30am. I combine my walks with flashcards and my Chinese apps.
Using Apps to Study Chinese
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know I don’t really care for apps. There are plenty of strategies to build your Chinese language for the ground up and apps should be used a supplementary method.
However, because I’ve already learned Chinese I’m using a vocabulary app called Drops to brush up on new words and phrases. I only use this app for 5-10 minutes per day.
Now, remember, everyone is different. You might not want to be a morning person, maybe you want to allocate time later in the day. When is your peak learning time? Can you slot some time around then so you have the most productive study space? And what do you use to study? Have you prepared flashcards? Downloaded Duolingo, Memrise or ChineseSkill?
Once you’ve got your study platform of choice, you can drop a couple of pebbles a day to keep your mind activated in 5-minute time slots.
For example, I use a platform called Engadget. It’s a technology blog in Chinese that allows me to read up on topics that I’m interested in, but in Chinese.
How can you add pebbles around your rocks?
These tasks don’t have a specific time slot so we are able to shuffle them around and slot them into our days:
- Listening to audio on your phone
- Listening to a few songs on QQ Music
- Using apps including HelloChinese, Quizlet, Memrise, or Duolingo
- Reviewing vocabulary with Anki using spaced repetition
- Chit-chat with a Chinese colleague
- Watch my tones quiz on Elementary Chinese Instagram stories
- Watch a quick video on Mandarin Corner
If you’re going to use an app try to use one that has the vocabulary that is ordered by frequency or most commonly appearing characters. When I used Anki, I often reviewed the 500 most frequently occurring characters. That way I was absorbing most of the characters that I would see on signs and in everyday life in China. Spaced repetition. Boom!
How do you find time to fit learning Chinese into your hectic schedule? Comment below. And, if this helped you at all please subscribe to my YouTube channel or share this article with a friend.
Huge thanks to Olle Linge for creating great content on Hacking Chinese. I love interpreting his articles live for you guys on my YouTube Channel.
A quick and important disclosure:
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend them because they are helpful and useful.
The Great Firewall of China
Want to use the VPN I use for a stable, quick connection in China? I depend on it to upload more than six videos a week and live-stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. And here’s my second choice for a VPN. Plus, when you download from either link, they share some of the cost with me, so I can keep creating the videos you love.