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.
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.
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.