Thank you!

Hi Everyone!11582836_s (1)

Just a quick post saying thank you. Ching Yen and I feel very blessed to have all of you in our lives. Our favorite part of this business is the cool and interesting people that we meet and spend time with. We’re happy that we’ve been able to stay in touch with many of our clients who are no longer studying and still have the opportunity to get to know new and interesting people. Thank you for being a part of our community.

In the next year, we expect to send at least 2 students to Taiwan for immersion courses. We are proud that we’re able to provide a very strong base here in Colorado and excited to see how far a few months takes those students.

We’ve been working on an online member area of our website. We wanted to give all of our clients the opportunity to get to know one another. There are forums and some online lessons (and more to come!). Register here for free. As we develop this part of the site, we will set up lessons explaining the material you are learning and mp3 file downloads.

We may not complete it in time for January 1, but we’re working on a 30 day study Chinese challenge. The goal would be to have fun while setting the goal to study every day for 15 minutes. Let us know if that sounds interesting to you!

We wish you happy holidays and look forward to spending time with you in 2014.

Mike and Ching Yen

Finding Time to Study During the Holidays

Studying or working on any projects can be difficult during the holidays. Here are a few quick tips on learning Chinese during the holidays. Remember that just like any other time of year, habits start during the holidays. If you want to speak Chinese, don’t make not studying Chinese a new habit.

Schedule December

Have you noticed that your plans to study are often overtaken by one crisis or another? This is a very common struggle during the holidays. This happens to me when I use the “I’ll just find the time” plan. For me, this plan results in only completing crisis projects and watching TV. The real problem here is that you’ve lost control of your life and schedule. You drift from one crisis to another and lose productive time to watching TV, computer games or other activities. Consider your goals for the month and pick the projects that match your goals. If you want to speak Chinese, studying Chinese needs to be on that list.

Pick your time

I get up and start working at 4:30 every morning. I have a few reasons.

First, my kids are sleeping. They are one of the reasons I work so hard. They are also a source of wonderful but distracting questions. They want to share their lives with me and that’s so important to me. I still need to get some work done and make things happen.

Second, I am most productive in the morning. You need to figure out when you experience your peak energy during the day. Do the most important and difficult work then.

Third, if I get the important work done during the morning hours, I have time for the equally important fun activities in the evening. I help my kids with their homework. (Okay so that’s not always fun) I go Christmas shopping. We watch movies together.

Create a list the night before

I try to wake up, have a glass of water and get to work. Your efforts to learn Chinese can range from incredibly productive to not productive at all. There is one factor that helps me be more productive. It is not discipline. It’s not passion. It’s certainly not drive. It is writing out my to do list the night before. If I have a list, I typically start the coffee, drink my water and start working. This didn’t happen this morning. I forgot my list the night before and it took me 60 minutes to figure out what I need to be working on.

Make it easy

The holidays are wonderful but they are also draining. The best way to learn more Chinese during December is to make it simple. What is the best way for you will memorize vocabulary and practice speaking? Do you like smart phone apps or pencil and paper? Get these things ready during a less productive times of day. For me this is when the evening is winding down and I am tired. I have an overall plan that I can reference and I already know what’s important for each day of the week. The night before, I write out the to do list for the next morning.

Stay motivated

You will learn Chinese over a period of years. This December is just a part of that longer plan. This can be a time that you maintain rather than drive forward or it can be a time that you focus and make real gains. The right option for you depends on the context of your life. Just remember that habits can start in the holidays. If you begin to let go of learning Chinese now, not studying may become your new habit in January. Learning Chinese is important to you or you would not be reading this. Don’t let the holidays derail your goals.

What are your tips for studying during the holidays?