What and when
If you want to study 40 hours in 7 days, you’d better prepare yourself. Actually, it’s doesn’t matter
what you study,
how you study or
how much you study,
a proper preparation is 🔑 key 🔑 and will save you precious time. It took me about an hour to get a proper schedule ready for this challenge (and an extra hour to get the design right).
Before planning this challenge I had to answer these questions:
I did two intensive weeks earlier this year; one only català and one only dansk week and I just missed my other languages (variety another 🔑 key 🔑) and even felt I had forgotten a bit of the other languages just because I hadn’t had any exposure for a week. For me consistency in every language is also an important 🔑 key 🔑 of my language learning.
So that’s why I will
focus on Catalan, Danish, Afrikaans
and keep some German and Brazilian Portuguese in the background.
But also prepare my schedule for the following day based on what I’ve already covered. And so we have another 🔑 key 🔑 flexibility.
Day 1 – Monday 5 April
I am definitely tired, mentally exhausted and the typical brain ache is joining the challenge. I also had to adapt my schedule to an interesting 🇮🇹-🇦🇩 language exchange. In the past I’ve had my difficulties with finding the right people, but now we talked 90 min non stop. I feel that real progress is made when I have to produce sentences myself. I don’t like the whole time tracking, but I do like the fact that I seem to be more focused and able to keep social media and internet in general on lockdown when studying. Ready for a 🇦🇩 class on Italki on Tuesday some 🇩🇰 as main dish and 🇿🇦 as side dish and 🇩🇪 and 🇧🇷 as appetisers.
Day 2 – Tuesday 6 April
My schedule is so full, I feel I don’t have time to breathe. My 30-60 minute walk with the dogs has turned into a podcast listening event, while I usually try to be mindful of my surroundings. I do force myself to my daily meditation (twice a day 10 minutes with Andy Puddicombe on the Headspace app), I wander around in the garden (we have had 20+°C over here the past week) and play with my dogs.
Strangely enough the activities that tire me the most are also the ones that energise and motivate me the most: my language exchange on Monday and my class on Italki Tuesday (both Catalan). No class, nor exchange on Wednesday. So, I have a spare 45 minutes I’ll use to watch an episode of the Catalan series Merlí. I’ve already got another language exchange planned for Friday and a class on Saturday, but I am seriously considering another class on Italki for Thursday. It went really well and I like my teacher, and speaking is really when the magic happens; language wise and self-esteem wise.
Day 3 – Wednesday 7 April
I don’t want to put my regular activities on hold, so I keep on
🧹 cleaning because it creates a positive learning environment
👨🏻🌾 gardening because the garden needs taken care of and my brain needs fresh air
👨🍳 cooking because you can’t study on an empty stomach (and my hardworking hubby might start complaining; rightfully so)
🏃 running because it allows me to ditch some stress
🧘 meditating because my brain needs to release some steam
😴 napping because I live in Spain and I lack sleep.
and even more so on day 3, where my monkey 🐒 brain seemed to jump from listening to a Catalan podcast about healthy mental habits into a daydream quite quickly.
Day 4 – Thursday 8 April
Q: How to survive a language learning day after a night too short to function as a human being?
A: Coffee (loads of it) and an Italki class.
Day 5 – Friday 9 April
It took me about 2 hours to get ready to dive back into my languages on day 5. I lost time on social media talking about this challenge and languages in general. I guess someone needed a break from active study.
There is some balance going on between listening and reading on the one side of the scales and study and speaking on the other side. Honestly, it would be too much to fill my hours with pure active study. I also think I’ve made the mistake to focus exclusively on new material during this week. My perfectionism is always whispers I need to understand everything fully before moving on to the next chapter and that idea I wanted to challenge a bit. Maybe that was one step to far or to fast; or maybe not the right time to challenge Mr. Perfectionism.
Day 6 – Saturday 10 April
Nothing new under the language sun. A day that very much felt like all the other ones mixed together. Now that the week is coming to its final hours I already feel the need to decide what to do the following week and introduce some change in my language learning: variety is 🔑 key 🔑, remember?
Day 7 – Sunday 11 April
I dragged my self to the 2,400 minutes. A day without a class nor an exchange to end the challenge wasn’t a good idea, but I did it. 2,401 minutes well spent (somehow an extra minute showed up when adding them all up).