What if I told you that you DO have time? You just don’t know where to find it, yet.
It’s true. I guarantee that every person reading this has time to improve his or her English. It doesn’t require a textbook, you don’t have to go to a class, depend on someone to teach you, or even study at home.
I know this is exciting! But you need to be ready to take responsibility for your English. You can’t expect a class or a private teacher to solve all of your problems. No one can be responsible for your learning but you.
While having an English teacher is great, if you really want to learn English—if it’s important to you—then you are going to need to work hard. You need to become passionate about learning English.
I have good news for you, learning English doesn’t have to be boring, and for those of you whose time is limited, you can improve your English in just 15 to 30 minutes per day. And it’s FREE if you know where to look.
That’s right, “I don’t have time” is no longer an excuse. You just need to know where to find the time to learn English, and how to make it fun.
So, are you ready to harness (take advantage of) your spare time and use it to improve your English every day, and not spend a cent doing it?
These are all things that you can easily make a part of your daily life:
- Listen to Podcasts and Radio
- Listen to music
- Learn English on your Smartphone
The best part is that these methods are FUN and natural. And with today’s technology, it’s not difficult! So are you ready to learn more about this Lifestyle English?
Then let’s get started!
Where can I find the time?
Let me start by asking you a question: Do you ever do any of the following?
- Drive to work or school?
- Walk or take the bus to work or school?
- Go shopping at the store?
- Wait in lines at the bank, in restaurants, in shops, or other places?
- Clean your house?
- Work out (exercise)?
- Walk your dog?
All of these are examples of times when you could be improving your English. Think about it, when you’re doing any of these things, you’re just waiting. You’re not doing anything productive, but you could be!
So let’s look at how you’re going to take this time and turn it into learning time.
Listen to Podcasts: 15+ minutes
Do you have an MP3 player?
If not, it’s a fantastic investment, and I recommend you buy one as soon as possible!
An MP3 player is a necessity for every English learner because podcasts are such a valuable tool. There are hundreds of podcasts for ESL students, and thousands more for advanced English speakers.
If you commute to work, you can use that time to listen to podcasts. There’s no reason to get frustrated about traffic: it’s an opportunity for you to improve your English!
Some great options of ESL podcast are:
If you are an intermediate to advanced English speaker, and you want to try something more challenging, then look for a native English podcast that interests you.
Are you interested in soccer? There’s a podcast for that.
How about cooking? There are podcasts for that.
Entrepreneurial business? Yep.
Video games, history, or science? For sure.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and you can improve more than just your English.
So go to iTunes and check out the podcast section. I recommend you switch to the American or British iTunes store by clicking on the flag at the bottom of the page. You’re guaranteed to find an ESL or English podcast that you’ll enjoy.
Listen to Radio: 15+ Minutes
Radio is also a great resource to take advantage of. There is an amazing application called TuneIn that lets you listen to radio stations from all over the world. Some recommendations (so you can get started right now) are KIIS FM (Los Angeles), NPR (USA), and Triple J (Australia). Just go to TuneIn’s website or smartphone application, and do a search.
Radio is great for passive learning. By this I mean you listen to it in the background while you are doing something else. You don’t need to be listening attentively the whole time. The important thing is that you’re getting used to hearing English.
The more you hear a language, the more your brain gets used to it (to the subtle sounds, the tone, the rhythm, and the complexities of the language), and the better you understand it.
So when you’re working, cooking, or cleaning, put on the radio in English and get accustomed to hearing real life English.
Just find something to listen to whenever you have a free moment and start improving your English.
Listen to Music: 10+ minutes
I would bet that you enjoy listening to music. You might even listen to a lot in English. But you are probably not doing it as efficiently as you could.
Almost all of the best English speakers that I’ve met listen to A LOT of music. But they don’t just listen; they take the time to understand.
You have to break songs down (take them apart) and listen actively. At first this might take a little bit more time, but it’s worth it. If you like learning with music, the strategy explained here will be dynamite for your fluency!
Songs often use a lot of expressions that are common in daily speech. So if you breakdown all of your favorite songs, before you know it you’ll be speaking like an American, an Australian, or a Brit. It can help your pronunciation a ton, too. Here’s how.
I also recommend the program Lyrics Training. It turns listening to music into a game that is awesome for reviewing vocabulary, and it’s addictive. All you need is about five minutes to play a song on Lyrics Training, so it’s worth trying out.
English on Your Phone: 10+ minutes
For any time that you’re sitting and waiting, instead of checking your Facebook or playing a silly game like Candy Crush, why not improve your English for a few minutes?
There are tons of English learning applications like Busuu, Babbel, Voxy, and many more. Most of these are free (or they at least have a free version). And they have different levels, so whether you’re a beginner or more advanced English speaker, you’ll find something great for you. If you want to know more about smartphone applications for English learning, check out this article.
Review What You Have Learned so Far: 15+ minutes
Now you’ll be learning a TON of new vocabulary every day by listening to podcasts, music, and the radio and using applications on your Smartphone. But how do you remember all of this vocabulary?
Well, you’ll learn some expressions that we use all the time, so you will hear those repeated a lot in different podcasts and songs. But for the words and phrases that aren’t so common, it’s a good idea to review what you’ve already learned.
I want to tell you about three great programs that will help you review: Anki, Quizlet, and Duolingo.
The excellent thing about Anki is it’s so simple. You can download it to your computer and there is also an application for iPhone and Android. You can review new vocabulary anytime you have a short break, like when you’re having a coffee, while you’re waiting for a friend at a restaurant, or while you’re stuck in traffic. Learn more about Anki here.
Quizlet is a similar program. It has flashcards to study, like Anki, and it also has several ways to turn your studying into a game, so it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun!
Duolingo is FREE language learning online. Students of any level can use it, and it’s a great way to learn vocabulary and grammar, which you can later review with Anki or Quizlet.
You DO Have Time!
I hope that this article has showed you that you DO have time to make English a daily habit. There are dozens of ways that you can really take advantage of every extra moment and improve your English.
If you can make English a daily habit of just 15 minutes, then that’s almost an extra two hours per week. An extra eight hours per month. And you’re taking responsibility for your English learning, not just depending on an English teacher, although these are great methods to study outside of your class, and I recommend you talk to your English teacher about your routine.
Try a combination of a few of these methods, and find what works best for you. They are all fun ways to improve your English just minutes each day. ANYONE can follow these tips. And you’ll be impressed by how much your English has improved after just a few weeks by making these a part your daily routine.
Make a commitment: Download an app, print out some song lyrics, subscribe to a podcast, or put on an American radio station while you’re working.
English isn’t something you can learn well by studying once or twice a week. Make English a daily habit, and make it a part of your life. Don’t wait—start right now.
Let us know your favorite way to make English a part of your life in the comments below!
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