5 productivity techniques for learning English

One of the most common complaints of adult learners, especially those with hectic daily schedules, is that they can’t fit language-learning in with all the other tasks they need to complete in an average day. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can harness the power of the productivity techniques you use at work and with a bit of adaptation, use them to help reach your English learning goals, too.
Set goals properly
Goals are as vital in English learning as they are in work. Setting effective goals is the starting point for tracking your progress and improving your language skills faster. The SMART goal productivity system favored by so many business and management textbooks works perfectly for learning English, too. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-related if you want them to help improve your learning.
Schedule practice time
There are certain aspects of learning English for which you will need a dedicated chunk of time to learn effectively. Learning new grammar points or sentence structures generally requires some time to think. Look at your learning plan and identify any points or activities that you will need time to focus on, then look at your calendar and allocate a specific time to work on each of these points. Write ‘English practice’ and the name of the point you want to work on. Once there is a time slot for it in your calendar, practicing becomes a real commitment and you are more likely to actually do it.
Make the most of downtime
Whether it’s checking email on the train or managing your task list while you are waiting for someone to arrive for a meeting, using time when you wouldn’t otherwise be working is a great way to squeeze every minute of the day. English learning activities that don’t require intense concentration are ideal for fitting into your downtime. Review vocabulary, listen to a podcast or read a news article whenever you have a small chunk of time free and see how much faster your skills improve.
Use a to-do list for flexible tasks
The to-do list has been a staple of productivity gurus since before ‘productivity’ was even a word and there’s a good reason for that – it works. For a lot of people, having a visual reminder of the things they need to do in the day then being able to cross them off one by one is a satisfying experience. If you are one of those people, using a to-do list to manage your English-learning will improve your rate of progress. There are lots of great to-do apps available too, which will give added functionality to your lists.
Track your progress and review the way you practice
In the world of work, almost everything we do is tracked – it’s how we measure and improve efficiency. When something isn’t performing the way we want it to, we look for the reasons why and try to change it. It’s surprising how many people don’t do this with their own learning. We all get into habits with learning and while the habit of effective practice is a good one to develop, negative habits are often hard to detect and break because they have already become a part of our lives. Reviewing your progress and being honest with yourself is the only way to break out of these negative habits and form new, more positive ones.
Being more productive with your English practice doesn’t just help save time. Reaching goals and being able to see the progress they are making is a motivational experience for any learner and will encourage them to continue learning and improving their skills. So whether you are an English learner or a Learning and Development Manager, it’s time to make productive practice part of your English language learning program today.