You’re not “too busy,” you just don’t want to learn a language that badly

Chris Eubanks
5 min readSep 4, 2023
Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

One of the top questions I get about my language journey is how I squeeze so many hours into a busy schedule. Aspiring learners want to know with work, family, and social obligations, how they can steal more hours from their day. At the time of writing, I am averaging 4.6 hours of language immersion per day. I maintained this effort through both full-time employment and unemployment. Employment has made almost no difference. When I have so little time, I squeeze every 15 minute opportunity. When I have a ton of available time, I get lazy and squander the hours away. You can see my timesheets graphed cumulatively here:

My time tracking system for language learning time in Google Sheets.

I strongly recommend keeping timesheets to hold yourself accountable. I include my own Google Sheets template you can use for yourself in my other article:

Language learning: how timesheets supercharged my progress

It’s easier on your ego to believe a language is unattainable rather than making small adjustments to your daily routine

I find that most people who approach me with this question want to hear what they want to hear. They intrinsically want to believe that they don’t have enough time to learn a language. They want the validation that they are indeed a “busy person,” and language learning is outside the realm of possibility. If they really believed they could make adjustments to their “busy life,” it would disturb their version of reality. Introspective people on the other hand take inventory of how they spend their time and find small windows of time everywhere.

Every busy person has “dead zones” in their day.

Even if your morning commute is as short as 15 minutes, these 15 minute windows add up to hours. You can put on an audiobook, podcast, Pimsleur course, or anything at all to familiarize yourself with the sounds of the language. For those who have a super commute, this will be the greatest missed opportunity of your lifetime. You could waste your super commute…

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Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge that can't be found anywhere else on the Internet.