We never have enough time, or do we? I know it feels like time escapes us and the days fly by, especially when you have a family, children or demanding commitments. One answer I’ve heard is to slow down. I have thought about this, especially when you’re sick one day and can’t go to work, what happens? Does the company fall apart? No. Does your university kick you out? No. Does the world stop turning? No, no, no.
I’m not advocating abandoning all your projects or regularly skip appointments, I am merely pointing out that very often we impose certain expectations, standards or limitations on ourselves, at times without even realising.
Our ambition to succeed or make progress never ceases so somehow we have to make time to learn new skills, train and move up the career ladder.
If you need to improve your English skills to help achieve your goals, here are 5 effective and fun activities that everyone has time for, every week.
Netflix is a fun way for you and the family to practice English
The TV giant has become a household name across the globe. The benefits of using Netflix to learn English are that you can choose what interests you, you can take advantage of the subtitles and choose how long you want to spend enjoying your favourite show in original language.
On the weekends, check out a film with the family while you can stick to a 20 minute sitcom to relax and unwind during the week when time is precious.
With the choice and flexibility, there is no reason not to use Netflix to practice English.
Netflix is a winner.
Radio & Podcasts
Radio is still popular for many people! With the thousands of Apps you can download, you can listen on-the-go commuting to work, during breakfast or even in the office, depending on your job.
The radio is great because an entire range of topics are often discussed often in a short time frame. This may be challenging but can also be stimulating.
Podcasts on the other hand have the advantage that you can download them to any device and listen on demand, whenever you have time. Again, you can choose your favourite topics and if you don’t understand them the first time, rewind and play it again!
News articles on your phone can be a quick way to practise
Again, thanks to technology, it’s so easy to access all types of media and filter exactly what you want to read. Today’s news? Science? Sport? Business? It’s all there for you, even in bite-size format. Through Apps like the BBC News, you can instantly read short articles and pick up some new vocabulary and ideas along the way.
Mini grammar games are quick and fun. Got 5 mins sitting on the bus or train home? Challenge yourself using sites like Flo-jo.co.uk
using the 'Wordbank' section to practice Phrasal verbs, word formation and collocations. It will take you 5 minutes to complete and expand your vocabulary and grammar.
Scheduling & Chatting
The recommendations so far have helped you practice Listening, Reading, Grammar and Vocabulary. This last one encourages you to practice a ‘Productive Skill’, writing. It seems basic but that’s the idea: simple and direct.
The key to managing a busy schedule is organisation. Plan your next day activities and ‘To Do List’ by writing your notes in English. Revising and checking this list multiple times as you go through the following day ramen you will constantly be switching your brain into English mode as you read and interpret the information and the tasks you have to complete. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, it will become a habit and eventually become normal for you to take notes in English.
Instant chat via a social network is another way to practice quick and simple writing practice, usually with another student or native speaker, somewhere in the world.
You can simply look through your contact and see who knows someone who fits this profile. Contact with your idea and see if they'll oblige. Perhaps offer a language exchange and you may be able to help each other that way. The activity of writing brief messages is very helpful, fun and takes very little time to apply.
Finally, on a side note, switch your appliances like your phone and TV into English language so you’re constantly receiving English input subconsciously every time you use these devices.
Please let us know if you love these ideas or if you have any of your own?