In this post: Four strategies to help the busiest people make time in their schedules and stay committed to learning Spanish as an adult.
4 Strategies to Help You Make Time to Learn Spanish as an Adult
Do you really have time to learn Spanish as an adult?
If you’re like most of us these days, it probably feels like you don’t.
You’ve got work to manage, kids, the dog. Maybe you’ve got an agenda so full that you’re afraid to even take a peek and see if there’s time for a workout or coffee with a friend.
Could you really fit a Spanish session in there? If you’re like most of the smart (and busy!) people I’ve worked with, you’ve probably asked yourself this question before. But what if it’s the wrong question?
What if finding time for Spanish is not about magically creating extra hours in the day?
What if finding time for Spanish is more about figuring out what really matters —to you? And committing to it?
What if you found ways to make sure that making that commitment was not scary and time-consuming but something completely doable?
And what if you learned the smartest possible ways to commit to actually learning Spanish as an adult in the most efficient way? Because you’re busy. And you deserve to use all the best strategies out there.
Ready to change the way you think about finding time for learning Spanish? Then let’s jump in!
#1 Make time for what matters in your life
All of us have things we’re committed to. Like being a good parent or a good spouse or maintaining our personal health. When you are committed to something, you show up every day, even when things get complicated.
On Thursday morning, when your alarm goes off at 5 AM, and you just want to lay in bed. But you still get up and put on your gym clothes because you committed to working out on weekdays.
When you have an argument with your husband, and you really don’t want to “deal with it” you still approach him to work through it. Because you are committed to having a long and happy relationship, and so that means you’re invested in working through problems.
Think about it. If you’re in a relationship (a real, committed one) with your spouse or partner, do you ever stop to wonder… “Hmm…do I really have time for this?” Probably not if you want your relationship to thrive.
There’s something that’s easy to forget when you’re busy: When something really matters to you, you make time for it.
Is it important to you to connect with the Spanish-speaking people in your life?
To have those conversations?
To finally feel confident traveling in a Spanish-speaking country?
To open yourself up to a new world and a new way of thinking?
To be, well, a new person — in Spanish?
Because I’m here to tell you that if you really want to be that successful adult Spanish learner, you do have what it takes — even if you’re busy.
In fact, there’s something I’ve learned that might surprise you. Some of the busiest people I’ve worked with have also been the most successful at learning Spanish as adults.
I’ve worked with all types of people – from ambitious 24-year-olds to busy pregnant mothers to ER doctors – all of whom have learned Spanish as adults.
So what do they have in common?
They have a lot going on in their lives — just like the rest of us.
But they know what matters to them. And they find ways of putting that first. And for them, they committed to Spanish.
Don’t worry. Making a commitment to Spanish does NOT mean deciding not to eat, sleep, exercise, or spend time with your loved ones. We’re putting our priorities first, remember?
#2 Make your commitment to Spanish possible and doable
You’ve probably seen the research that tells you that Spanish is a language that takes about 600 hours to master.
And when you look at it that way, well, no wonder it sounds scary.
But let’s take a step back and break those 600 hours into a doable task by choosing a reasonable amount of time to practice. Let’s start with 30 minutes a day.
And if you’re worried that you can’t sustain 30 minutes a day for an entire year…or that you’ll get thrown off during the holidays? I have a trick.
I call it The Monarch Method to learning Spanish and I take hundreds of students through it every year in my ALAS 1 Basic Spanish Course for Beginners. So how does it work?
Well, think for a minute about the Monarch butterfly migration. They make an absolutely incredible journey as they do 4-6 week generational sprints from the US and Canada down to Mexico. But…they don’t spend their entire lives sprinting. In fact, they sprint…and then they rest.
This is how I teach my students to learn Spanish – bursts of 4-6 weeks of focused learning throughout the year with short breaks in between.
Most of the people I’ve helped through my programs are very relieved to learn that you can choose a few strategic moments to study a bit more intensely and see real progress.
You know, the kind of progress where you start to notice the transformation as Spanish gets easier for you. Where you don’t feel like a caterpillar anymore and start to spread your wings.
But you don’t have to sprint all the time.
Between sprints and times of rapid growth, you can progress at a more calm pace and just enjoy listening to your favorite music or podcasts for a few weeks.
That is how you’ll reach that 600-hour goal – one sprint at a time. That’s how you’ll make it feel doable instead of overwhelming.
#3 Forget trying to stay motivated to study Spanish and try this instead
When you have to rely on sheer willpower, it’s hard.
And the longer you try to rely on willpower and sheer motivation, the more impossible your job becomes. Just telling yourself you’re going to study Spanish for 30 minutes a day is doomed to failure if you don’t have a plan to keep things fun and easy.
It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? But you need to stop doing things the hard way if you want to keep up your Spanish learning journey long enough to really see progress.
Make something easy to do, and it tends to get done! It’s also more fun, guilt-free, and a lot kinder to yourself.
To be successful at learning Spanish, one of the best ways you can make learning easy for yourself is by setting up habits. Habits that are so easy and simple to put into place that you just can’t fail.
You might even make sure your home is stocked with healthy foods — so that eating good things is the easy default, not a question of walking past the donuts 15 times without eating one.
#4 Use the best possible methods for learning Spanish as an adult.
If you’ve ever said to yourself “I don’t have time to learn Spanish…”
There’s something I want you to ask yourself. Is it possible what you meant is something like this:
“I don’t have time to waste on something that might not work…”
Or that you might be simply saying:
“I’ve tried to learn Spanish before, and it didn’t work, so maybe I just can’t.”
You’re right to be wary of wasting your time. As adults learning Spanish we’ve spent hours stuck at desks in ineffective classes. We’ve wasted months with our eyes glued to ‘language learning apps’ that promised so much. And it didn’t work.
And you’re right. You don’t have time for that. And you shouldn’t accept anything but the most effective — and meaningful Spanish learning methods. You’re learning Spanish as an adult, after all. So you get to decide.
With strategies like these, I find that my students feel so much more motivated to keep going. Because the problem so often isn’t that you don’t have time. It’s that you don’t have time to waste.
Your takeaways for
finding making time to achieve your Spanish goals.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re too busy to really learn Spanish as an adult, you’re not alone. But know that a lot of very busy people have gone on to learn Spanish as adults — with the right mindset and the right methods.
And if you’ve been telling yourself you can’t do it…
That you don’t have time to reach your dream, to change your life, to connect with the people who matter to you…
Maybe it’s time to let that go.
≫ Tired of feeling stuck at the intermediate Spanish plateau? Grab a copy of my FREE Spanish Priority Plan for Intermediate and Beyond, my step-by-step video guide detailing exactly how to break through to the advanced level.
≫ Fed up with getting tongue-tied every time you try to tell a story in Spanish? Jump into Polishing the Preterit, my self-paced course for intermediate Spanish learners looking to master the preterit tense and speak confidently about events in the past. This is the exact same process I used to stop conjugating in my head and start using Spanish naturally with native speakers.