Alex Rawlings is a polyglot with 15 learnt-languages to his name. A linguistic talent clearly, but he still has to work for it: developing the right routines, and to setting the right triggers and goals. Here he outlines his approach to building a daily routine:
The 15/30 method is all about dividing our learning day into easily manageable time-slots that we ‘attach’ to ‘comfortable’ activities. By only asking himself to learn for 15 or 30 minutes, Alex vastly increases his chances of sticking to his study plan.
Alex enjoys his morning coffee even more now that he has attached his first – 15 minute – learning session to that activity. Alex takes an hour for lunch but finishes his food after about half an hour. Rather than go back for seconds, he uses the remaining time to do his second language learning session of 30 minutes. Then, when he gets home and finishes his work, he does a final 15-minute slot before relaxing for the evening.
15, 30, 15 minutes = 1 hour of learning every day
All Rosetta Stone’s 24 languages are taught in bite-sized chunks of 10 to 30 minutes per exercise.
Alex recommends that you only try and learn new things in the middle-session of your day. The first 15 minutes should be to review yesterday’s work and so should the last 15 minutes of the day. In other words, half your learning time should be spent revising. Good revision is the secret to retaining information and this routine helps ensure that you don’t try and learn too much all at once, get frustrated when you don’t remember it all, and then give up.
Tip for developing habits: Attach new and challenging habits to the existing, comfortable ones you already have in your day. This way, we can trigger ourselves to tackle the tough stuff without even noticing it.
And you don’t even have to do it every day! Alex suggests that, while 7 days a week is optimal, language learning can be effective when just done five or as little as three days in your week. As long as you are consistent, progress will be made.
Rosetta Stone divides its learning course into bite-sized chunks of between 10 and 30 minutes. These stand-alone exercises are ideal for slotting into your day in just the manner Alex recommends. Each lesson contains review exercises, so you have the re-capping discipline ‘baked in’ to your syllabus.
“Don’t sit down and try to do something all in one go. Instead, break up your learning into manageable chunks throughout your day.“Alex Rawlings
Language learner, teacher and contributing author to the Rosetta Stone magazine
What Black Friday means – for you
How language learning helps us de-stress and stay cheerful
‘More than Words’ Podcast. Episode 1: Language and Culture
Which language should I learn after English?
Where does the word Europe come from?