Time You Should Spend on Language Learning

April 4, 2016

Native English Instructor

Written by Douglas Shaw

The Right Amount of Time You Should Spend on Language Learning Each Day

Time you should spend on learning English

Let’s be honest, there is no ideal fixed amount of daily time you should spend on your language learning.

However, there is a right amount, though.

Think about this……

While it’s sometimes a good idea to schedule a fixed amount of daily language learning time, I can say you are setting yourself up for failure. Doing the checkbox method only – never works.

Not all days are created equal, and thus, the time you spend learning each day should be taken into account.

Motivating Scenarios

1.If you set for a daily goal of doing 3 hours of language learning, chances are you won’t achieve your goal. It is like going on a diet to loose weight. You want to or have been told by the doctor that you have to loose 50 pounds and you set a fixed amount of exercise of 3 hours daily, at the beginning you are able to stay on track but, then you find that you have gained weight.

Bad news for your motivation.

Another way to look at this…..

2. A daily goal of doing only ten minutes of language learning is achievable by anyone. You are able to achieve your goal, everyday and are able to keep motivated.

There’s only one problem……


So you need something else, it’s important to think big and stretch goals if you want to achieve your personal and professional dreams. But if all you do is dream big and write down a long list of bold aspirations, it’s unlikely that you will take any action on them. Why? Because most of the time, it’s unclear (what, how), will need to be done in order to make those dreams a reality. “A plan”

Let’s look into how to do this by using stretch goals and smart goals.

set a goal to learn English

Why do we need both stretch and smart goals?

Each have different purposes or functions.

  • Stretch Goals: inspire us to think big and remind us to focus on the big picture.
  • Smart Goals: These are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound. – these help us form a set plan of action in order to make the stretch goal a reality.

Stretch & Smart to-do-list

Let’s go over the steps to put a stretch & smart goal to-do-list together.

  1. Write down your long-term stretch goal (e.g. Learn English) at the top of a blank page.
  2. Below that stretch goal, write your smart goals related to your long-term stretch goal.

Think of stretch goals as projects and smart goals as all the actions you need to take in order to complete the project.

Stretch Goals & Smart Goals

e.g. Run a marathon

  • Stretch goal: Run a marathon
  • Specific sub-goal: Run 7 miles without stopping.
  • Measurable: Run twice around the park, no walking.
  • Achievable ?: If, I run 3 times a week.
  • Realistic: If, I wake up early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Timeline:
  • Run 3 miles this week
  • Run 4 miles next week
  • Run 5 miles the week after

Language learning can be done much in the same way.

  1. Set a small base goal: You can do so by setting a small daily goal which can be achieved (e.g. 15 minutes). This will be your base goal.
  2. Set your highest goal (stretch goal): Determine how much daily time you can devote to language learning. Taking into account all your other obligations (e.g. 2 hours). You now have the base and the final goals.
  3. Now fill in your plan.
  • Base Goal: 15 minutes.
  • 1st stretch goal: 25 minutes.
  • 2nd stretch goal: 35 minutes.
  • 3rd stretch goal: 50 minutes.
  • 4th stretch goal: 1 hour
  • Continue this process until you get to the final goal.
  • Final Goal: 2 hours.

” Set stretch goals. Don’t ever settle for mediocrity. The key to stretch is to reach for more than you think is possible. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking that you’ll fail”. – Jack Welch

If you found this post helpful or would like to add your comment, please comment below. Thank you.

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