What is the best way for Corporates to learn Japanese?
You run from one meeting room to another meeting room, sometimes back to back! Pressed with a filled inbox! Despite spending hours and hours working every day you still don’t feel like having made any progress in your Japanese Learning to-do list! Yes we all related to that. We’ve all been there. And we know there never will be enough hours in a day! So, how do you overcome the challenge and ensure you finish planned lessons/activities from your Japanese learning schedule?
Do have a look at the list I have compiled of the ultimate productivity tips that will help you achieve something in Japanese in a day despite a hectic work schedule.
Plan to achieve realistic goals in a day. Instead of creating a massive list of to-dos and feeling frustrated by the end of the day, try a 1-3-5 plan: One large task say memorise hiragana that’s simpler at least compared to kanji, using mnemonics, three medium-sized tasks, say, making a journal entry, repetitions a phrase few times, and five small tasks to achieve every day, such as finding a tough word for vocabulary, trying to write an alphabet. Check off the finished tasks. Attaching emotions for task completion on the task list will propel you to finish them on time. Just as you should break the huge office project into smaller tasks, break Japanese learning tasks such as -listening To 10,000 Hours Of Japanese Over The Next 18 Months bit by bit!
Select the right task management system of loads of task management systems available. Avoid checking email first thing in the morning to get compelled to respond, instead, wake up to nice Japanese songs or news. Limit checking email to only 4-5 times a day, or use a tool like an Inbox Pause or try Time Management Ninja’s system to keep your email checking OCD in check. Unsubscribe to emails you don’t read to declutter. Sort out tasks you can outsource to reportees, family etc. Get the least likeable or one big task off your list first, to make time to practice Japanese lessons. Do make a serious effort to complete one significant task before lunch.
Haunted by emails at work?
Adding the perfunctory “Sent from my iPhone” signature at the bottom of the email, whenever in a hurry-even if emailing from your computer, saves you time without sounding rude! Sort your emails as less than three minutes to answer, just get it done now. If it will take more than that, set it aside. And then, when you have a large chunk of time, tackle those first before jumping to the next.
Faster responses enjoy shorter responses, so, if you won’t be able to respond to an email in a short time, respond with a quick “I’ll get to this soon!”
Schedule finishing looming tasks at a time, you are most productive, during the day, free of meetings or distractions. Take a break after lunch and plan an hour here every day to resume your schedule in Japanese to strike-off completed tasks.
Create and use a canned response that you can pop in whenever you need it.
Automatic filters could help you pull emails out of your inbox and into the right folder. You could also use Boomerang to pull emails out of your inbox, so it gets the message out of sight, for sometime before reinstating. Create an auto-responder with answers to frequently asked questions with statements. No questions. This really helps you get lesser emails and find maximum time to get back to your Japanese learning schedule without a fuss.
Where to find time to squeeze Japanese lessons for the day!
Wait until after you’ve completed some of the priority items on your to-do list, if you’ve started Japanese already and then you can attend to the emails.
Schedule and attend meetings if a decision needs to be taken or action needs to be completed together, for exactly the time they need else politely suggesting cancelling owing to non-utility. Use email to send updates. Group your meetings back-to-back, to avoid workstation to meeting room journeys! This also helps save time between meetings. Schedule at least one meeting-free day so you can focus on work and find peaceful time to complete tasks marked for Japanese Learning. Reconsider meeting someone in-person out of the office, if the agenda can be accomplished with a phone call or video conference instead? Moderate the meetings really well to ward off off-topic conversations, with a simple, “Let’s schedule a time to discuss that later since we only have 10 minutes left”. Time one-on-one phone meeting under 19 minutes to get directly to the point. Give a nice excuse like a hard stop or a dying phone to hang up. And resume learning, reading, writing doing whatever is left of the day for Japanese!
Utilize the 15 minutes between meetings, to knock off tasks that you can do in 15, 10, or even five minutes: Answer official emails, dropping an email to a pen pal, reaching out to a contact or a Japanese speaking partner, or get some industry reading done or go through daily news fix from Japanese source such as – NHK News Web Easy.
Weekend my saviour!
Download a Japanese keyboard. Change your device, social and networking platform language to Japanese. Try to make a list of Japanese names of things around you and label them. Consider using an app that can sync well with your devices, keep notes for your Japanese learning, especially the scripts, while keeping you all organized in one place.
“One day of the week Sunday, sort out all your tasks, personal, professional and make a list of what you need to get done that week to fix a time for Japanese Lessons. Try clearing out your inbox, to knock out smaller, mindless tasks, and focus on any pending projects while watching a Japanese movie with English subtitles or English movies with Japanese subtitles on Sunday evenings, to get it done without feeling like overworking!
Play flashcards inviting friends home. Attend an extensive course if you can. Host a Japanese trivia night, Japanese Language discussions online in communities etc Join activities organised by a Japanese Association and interact with Japanese speakers.Turn off your Wi-Fi for a couple of hours every week to also finish tasks we avoided/missed each week.
This weekend task planning activity gives you the last 30 minutes of each workday to close up tasks and check email. After which you are sorted to speak Japanese and record yourself or call a native speaker friend to chit chat every day for 20 minutes en route home.
Setting deadlines on all projects and tasks for yourself, to keep yourself under the check of doing an unwanted search on the internet will help you focus on Japanese while not affecting your work. Take adequate breaks between tasks to stay productive. Trackers like Rescue Time or Toggl can help you keep a tab of where all your valuable time is going? Over a short period of time, you’ll be able to identify and eliminate the time-sucking culprits. Try an online timer to remind yourself to get up from your desk, grab a snack or glass of water, or chat with a co-worker for a few minutes before getting back to the grindstone. Budget limited time for your favourite distractions – Japanese music, movies, food blog, as a reward for getting through hard work can help you stay motivated. Knowing that you’ll get to spend 10 minutes watching anime or reading a page from Japanese kids books, or Manga, after work for a couple of hours can be exciting.
Add a few Japanese learning tasks from the “repeat or pre-practice” learning group task, as a backup to counter times when life tries to derail you from work. Eg. A person you need to talk to is unavailable, the internet is down, or you just can’t focus on the task at hand. Always have other options ready, so that you’re able to get something done even when you can’t finish your primary task. This is a perfect time to achieve a lot and resume in Japanese Learning.
Pop in your headphones to keep your co-workers from distracting you. Works most times! Seize the opportunity to listen to Japanese podcasts or audiobooks or slow news. When you stumble upon interesting articles, don’t let them pass or get in the way of your productivity. Instead, use a service like Pocket or Instapaper to save them to read later when you have more time (like maybe on your commute – you could also listen to Japanese songs or movie dialogues en route and repeat after them).
Limit your “distraction time” of using social media, if you must use it, at work except when required for a Japanese exchange. Use apps like SelfControl to block your access during the workday. Don’t try to multitask! Everything will ultimately take you longer. Spending an hour a day is better than spending a few hours a week especially when mono-tasking kanji, which is any day tougher than Hiragana. Hiragana will help get you to get to 80% of the foundation you need for a native-sounding accent.
Declutter your space. Feel free to shut yourself off from colleagues when you need focused time to devote to the language. A “Do Not Disturb” message on internal chat, on the office door? Yes, try it. Keep all devices on silent to protect wrecking a productive flow.
From planning your attack on the day to keeping emails from getting you down, to dealing with those distractions that always seem to pop up, we’ll help you get everything done as efficiently as possible so that you finally have time for keeping your Japanese learning on track 🙂