the happy linguist

the 3 minute life hack

“Learn a language in three minutes? That sounds stupid”

I often get told that when I first tell people the name of my language courses (3 Minute Languages, just in case you forgot 😉) But yes, three minutes is the key to learning a language. Let me tell you why.

When most people start studying for anything, they tend to spend the first day or two studying for hours and hours and get through loads of work, however, very quickly this begins to dwindle. You might feel like spending hours studying a foreign language, which is great, but you want that feeling of motivation to continue. However, your motivation won’t continue if you actually spend hours studying. So the first life hack that I suggest when learning a language is to limit your study time to chunks of just three minutes. No more!

If you limit your studying to just three minute chunks, there are three things that will happen…

1. You'll maintain your enthusiasm

If you want to learn anything, you have to maintain enthusiasm or else you won’t continue. If you limit your study time to just three minutes, you’ll keep the language fresh and exciting and you’ll be eager to learn. If you spend hours studying, very quickly you’ll get bored with the foreign language and it’ll turn into a chore.

2. You'll study more consistently

It’s much better to study for just three minutes once a day than to study for three hours once a week. A spare three minutes is relatively easy to find even in the most hectic of schedules. If you make sure you complete at least one three minute study session every day, it’ll quickly become a habit that you’ll do without thinking. It’s much easier to fit in a daily three minute habit than a weekly one hour habit. By doing this, you’ll become a much more consistent learner, and consistency is the key to success.

3. You'll remember things better

This is my favourite reason as to why you should limit your study to just three minute chunks. If you study something for just three minutes every day, you’ll trick your brain into memorising the information more quickly than if it were to see the information for hours each day. It’ll think, “I see this information every day so it must be important, but I don’t see it for very long so I’d better hold onto it and make it into a memory fast!” You’ll be amazed at how much more easily things tend to stay in your brain if you limit yourself to just three minutes a day.

So, three minutes is the key! Set a timer, and once you reach three minutes, stop. Then give yourself at least half an hour before you do another three minutes. You should aim to do at least one three minute chunk every day, any more than that is a bonus, but one is fine. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn.