(Estimated reading time: 4.5 minutes)
So you’ve started learning and studying Korean.
But you can’t seem to focus and you forget a lot of important grammar (sometimes even easy ones) so quickly that it’s frustrating and counterproductive.
When that happens, you start to look away, look at your phone, talk to your friends, browse social media… Everything except trying to get back on track.
It’s only human to procrastinate, right?
But if you’re going to continue procrastinating, you’ll never get to the fluency and proficiency that you’ve always wanted.
It’s just so hard to get back on track. So here’s 3 simple tips.
1. Avoid browsing social media
The number one killer for focus and learning – social media.
Well, technically you can pick up a thing or two on social media.
But if you really want to do some real work and study, you need to stop browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram when you’re actually studying.
Just chuck your phone aside, turn it to “Airplane Mode” or even turn it off.
Set a duration and stick to it with discipline.
Whenever you hit a mind block or are tired from studying, just let your mind rest in nothingness and stare away.
Over time, you will find that the ability to focus will increase and somehow you start remembering better.
Social media is just a way of distracting your mind and delaying the task at hand.
But it also damages your ability to retain the information that you’ve absorbed before.
Now, I’m not a hater of social media but I used to have problems with focusing too.
It was only after focusing on studying for a set amount of time without looking at my smart phone and social media, was I able to stop procrastinating.
If anything, I would say social media is the reason why productivity in companies and learning in schools have been affected.
No doubt that social media has helped the world discover many different things and ways of running businesses and thinking.
But a knife can be used to cut fruits and also hurt people. It depends a lot on how you use a tool.
You could use social media to get to know new Korean friends for language exchanges. But never use it when you’re in the middle of a study session.
2. Study in the first hour of the day
That means first thing in the morning (hopefully not afternoon) when you wake up, study.
Jim Kwik, a master of memory and learning how to learn, did lots of research and it showed that the first hour of the day (25:40 on the YouTube video) after waking up is the best time for learning.
So on top of the previous tip – avoid using social media – study in the first hour of the day, instead of picking up your phone first thing when you wake up.
Another thing is, try as much as possible to wake up in the morning.
That’s the optimal time of the day to start something that requires a lot of focus and willpower.
After some time of waking up and not looking at my phone first thing in the morning, I’ve realised that I’m able to focus a lot more on any task.
The first hour of your day is essentially the time when you have the most energy.
Well, of course, that’s because you’ve just had a good sleep from the previous day.
So when could be a better time than that?
Also, Jim Kwik revealed that the first hour is the optimal time because our brain is in this relaxed state of awareness that is the optimal for learning (watch that video, it will really explain why).
This is not to say that you would not be able to learn anything at all during other times of the day.
But I’m definitely one that believed and tried it out myself to say that it works.
3. Be more physically active
Preferably first thing in the morning.
Don’t touch your smart phone first thing in the morning and hit the gym or exercise at home with a mat or something.
There are tons of studies out there showing the correlation between physical activeness and increased learning ability.
By working out your body physically, your mental muscle strengthens as well.
Because the mere fact of you getting up early in the morning and using your willpower to exercise, is a mental challenge in itself.
Step it up by listening to a podcast or read a book while working out.
Talk To Me In Korean has some really good podcasts that are arguably one of the best out there.
I personally don’t learn from TTMIK but I’ve listened and read their work and it’s really awesome for people starting out.
Even if you don’t listen to a podcast while working out, you will feel a lot more refreshed in the morning, all set to start off the day with a study session.
Of course, for those who have work commitments, it’s probably not that possible, but at least try to work out regularly.
It can be after work, but I personally prefer to work out before work – it gives me the energy to pull through the day.
So there you have it, 3 tips to help you stop procrastinating.
Cultivate these habits and you’ll almost certainly see some instant results in your learning capacity and willpower.