Five Minutes

This article by Belle Beth Cooper has really jumpstarted a change in my life by doing small little rituals in my daily life. Yesterday, I discussed how I am putting into my daily life the goal to read one article from Instapaper. Another routine I am developing daily is to spend at least 5 minutes a day learning German.

In high school, I took one year of Spanish to fulfill a language credit, and while not a lot has stuck with me, I still remember a few key words such as ¿Dónde está el baño? (Just in case I need it). But as you may recall from a post a few days ago about retiring, my wife and I want to travel the world. Very high on my list are many countries in Europe such as Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. There is so much musical, religious, and cultural history in those countries that a visit to Europe will happen soon.

In hopes of a cross-cultural expedition, it has always been on bucket list to learn German. As a different style of language from Spanish, I am learning that the basic sounds of the language are quite similar. Thanks to Cooper’s advice, I have been using a free app/website called DuoLingo for the past week. This app allows you to start at whatever level fits your needs. After using this app for about a week, my conversational skills are slowly increasing. According to the app, I am currently 7% fluent…I know right? Go Me!

Here is the bigger picture to all of this. When I first started using the app, it was while drinking a cup of coffee. No I don’t drink a cup ‘o joe in five minutes, but what this is doing is keeping me from doing what I used to do – mindlessly flipping through Instagram while drinking the joe. I could easily spend more time learning the German language, but for now, lesson-by-lesson and day-by-day, I am developing a habit. For me, that is the bigger goal. This is an idea of taking a huge, maybe even daunting task and chipping away at it piece-by-piece. According to Cooper’s article, at the end of her language learning she was 46% fluent in French.

I guess you could call this an experiment. What am I really doing with my downtime? What could I be doing better and earlier in the day? What time of day am I learning? These are questions I have recently been asking myself, and this past week it has been much earlier in the morning. With all that is on my “Daily-Do” list, I am decreasing my amount of downtime and being more productive.

Maybe for you it’s a language. Maybe it’s a book. Maybe it’s practicing an instrument. If you continue through My 500 Words series, you will see that I have other little daily tasks that I am developing in my routine just to get the brain working quicker and ultimately trying to learn more. Some tasks may be more mountainous to overcome. Some lists happen without a blink. What I am realizing, though, is if I can be conscious of the task in that specific moment of time, I will have a desire to do again and again and again.

Are you learning a language? Have you used the type of short method of learning something?

Comment below as I would love to hear what little tidbits help you with your daily routine.


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