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  • Using GTD to learn another language

    I've been on a hiatus from Korean language study for nearly a year, and I'm planning to start up again soon. Do forum members have any suggestions for using GTD principles in creating and implementing a language study plan?

  • #2
    Kangmi,

    I have also two types of such a project. The first is to learn Spanish and the second is to work out. My problem with that was they were the project that reqired some uninteruptable amount of time on a regular basis. The first approach is to split them into next actions. For example, read and summarize lesson 1 (@Home), then make exersizes (@Home), then listen to audio excercizes (@Car) and so on. I didn't try this approach yet because was always using another - block some time on the calendar. But that approach requires a lot of discipline. When the block comes you have to put everything away and start doing. I couldn't because I was always too tyred to start doing something for my brains in after work hours. However, I think that's the only way of doing work outs because I'm not sure where to put the NA "Go to the gym" - should it be @Office (before I leave the office) or @Car (when I'm on the way somewhere).

    I hope that will give you some ideas and others will post here some AHAs.

    Regards,

    Eugene.

    Comment


    • #3
      Repetition

      Because the nature of these goals (language and exercise) requires repetition to be successful, I think they need to be thought through with the calendar in mind.
      A trip to the gym would have to go on the calendar to be successful for me. And it would have to include blocking out commute time. When I was walking first thing every morning, I didn't have to put it on the calendar, but I had to make the commitment for the time I set the alarm clock (4:40 am) and to get up when it rang. I had to commit to an earlier bedtime to get up at 4:40. This became a habit and didn't have to be considered a task.

      For language, you have to think through what and when you can do. If you want to commit a half hour a day to it, what half hour can you commit? If you wait until everything else is done, can you be fresh enough to do it? Can you only commit 15 minutes 3 times a week? Can you do it at lunch, before breakfast? If you could start by only listening to Tapes/CDs in the car during your commute, would that be more successful? (and I highly recommend checking out PIMSLEUR from your library if possible if that's the approach you take) For the commitment of time either of these require, they have to be more important than something else that is already taking up a block of time in your schedule. And then you have to consciously replace the something else with the new action.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by webrover
        Because the nature of these goals (language and exercise) requires repetition to be successful, I think they need to be thought through with the calendar in mind.
        Yes, I agree. Both meet the GTD definition of calendar items, too, in that if you don't do them on the scheduled day you have irreparably delayed your progress toward the goal.

        Whether you actually block out time depends on the rest of your schedule, but they are definitely more "calendar-like" than standard NA-like.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Thanks to all for their suggestions.

          From a GTD perspective, my struggle has been whether to identify learning Korean as a project requiring NAs, or as a checklist*. I hadn't thought of putting it on my calendar. Some days of the week that might be important, others not so much.

          Based on other commitments, I have six hours a week in which to study Korean:
          • I plan to spend 30-60 minutes a week using Supermemo to review and learn Chinese characters.
          • I commute alone 2-3 days a week (30 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes in the evening). Initially, I plan to use the Level I Pimsleur course, which will be mostly review (Levels 2 and 3 are not yet available for Korean). I plan to download other audio content to listen to during this time.
          • The rest of the time I will use for study related to what I'm listening to, or I will probably use one of the courses available online. Typically I can do this during my lunch, but I wouldn't use more than 30 minutes of any lunch for Korean study.

          Initially it will probably be best to incorporate some calendar use. After a year, it will be a definite change to my routine. But, with the following minimums:
          • 30 minutes of Supermemo (5 minutes a day)
          • 2 hours of commute time
          • And 2.5 hours of lunch

          that leaves only an hour I have to schedule. Some weeks I'll have an extra solo commute day, and others I can schedule it in 15- or 30-minute evening sessions. That doesn't even include the blogging.

          *Checklists are great!

          Comment


          • #6
            I think this would be a good opportunity to use @project as context, in addition to blocking out calendar time. Instead of having to haphazardly scan multiple @context lists for possible NAs related to Project Learn Korean whenever blocked study time comes, you’ll only have one list to look at, @Project Learn Korean, and you’ll easily see all the NAs you should do or would like to do. Exceptions would be supplementary tasks that would be done most likely whenever the opportunity arises, such as “buy Korean dictionary”@bookstore, or “listen to CDs”@commute. But the main task itself, since it would be done during blocked period, should have its own list, so you can clearly monitor your progress, and easily see where you left off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by samilator
              I think this would be a good opportunity to use @project as context, in addition to blocking out calendar time. Instead of having to haphazardly scan multiple @context lists for possible NAs related to Project Learn Korean whenever blocked study time comes, you’ll only have one list to look at, @Project Learn Korean, and you’ll easily see all the NAs you should do or would like to do. Exceptions would be supplementary tasks that would be done most likely whenever the opportunity arises, such as “buy Korean dictionary”@bookstore, or “listen to CDs”@commute. But the main task itself, since it would be done during blocked period, should have its own list, so you can clearly monitor your progress, and easily see where you left off.
              In my opinion, there's no sence in @Project context. If you block time for regular exercises then your Next Actions could be kept in Notes section of the current Project.

              Comment


              • #8
                While I will add "Learn Korean fluently" to my projects list, I will use a context-based checklist to track my actual language practice.

                In Outlook, it might be set up like this:

                @Home
                • [Korean] Study Korean for 15 minutes. (This item repeats Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday. It's not specific, because it will probably change from day to day.)
                @Car
                • [Korean] Listen to Korean audio. (This item repeats Monday and Tuesday.)
                @Home computer
                • [Korean] Complete Supermemo repetitions. (This item repeats Sunday-Friday.)
                @Office
                • [Korean] Study Korean for 30 minutes. (This item repeats daily Monday-Friday. It's not specific, because what I do will probably change from day to day.)

                In addition to actual Korean study, I will likely schedule an hour on Sundays to review where I'm going in the next week. Will I need to record some audio in advance? Do I need to do any online research for new material? Should I connect with some friends for conversation?

                Just with all that, I'm up to 8 hours a week of Korean-related stuff, and there's not an NA in sight. For me, this is definitely a checklist kind of project, not a project with NAs.

                Having said that, I do have a separate project on my list tagged [Blogging: kangmi]. The notes section of the project is an ever-growing list of post ideas and site maintenance issues, and I've made a commitment not to spend more than an hour a week on this part. Blogging my Korean study can easily take up the lion's share of the time, but the way I've done it doesn't really help me to learn Korean. This is my way of keeping track of possible NAs but keeping myself free for the really important things.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just with all that, I'm up to 8 hours a week of Korean-related stuff, and there's not an NA in sight. For me, this is definitely a checklist kind of project, not a project with NAs.
                  That should read 7 hours, not 8.

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