I'm a serial procrastinator. There are times i'm surprised I've accomplished anything at all. I sit down to study a lesson, or review a lesson, but then realize i'm hungry, or the phone rings, or I need to google something, and then its an hour later. Certainly, this journey of 10,000 steps called learning Mandarin needs you to do something to stay motivated and focused.
I'm curious to hear from anyone regarding how they've managed to procrastinate less. I doubt that serial procrastinators are ever cured, but it would be interesting to hear if someone actually overcame procrastination to become the highly effective, time efficient, mandarin learner.
simonpetterssonDecember 16, 2009, 12:11 PM
For me, the cure has been routine, as well as The Fear. Routine as in I usually do one lesson a day. The Fear as in it's only two months since I have to get around in China on my own.
Also, SRS is really helpful. I know that if I don't study my 300 words to review today, I know that tomorrow they'll be 600, and then it's all downhill from there.
Actually, I should do some SRS work right now.
jckeithDecember 16, 2009, 04:10 PM
I have a trip to China coming up in a few months to meet my wife's family (I've only met her parents and one cousin, who live in the U.S.). Like Simon said, there's no motivator like fear!
Seconding Simon's SRS recommendation too. If you don't know what SRS is, it's basically a flashcard program that uses an algorithm called Spaced Repetition to schedule your reviews. I use a program called Anki.
pretzellogicDecember 16, 2009, 04:23 PM
bababardwan, I'm waiting with baited breath!!!
simonpettersson, jckeith: yeah, that's what's kept me going even as far as I have. I went through the taxis lessons pretty well, and bought a map of Beijing to learn surface streets and landmarks. Extremely helpful, because i'm the one getting myself around. Why just the other day, I got in a taxi with the only driver in BJ who didn't know where the Bird's Nest was.
And i've downloaded Anki, and I'm almost broken down to get an iPod Touch.
But the hard part is fighting off procrastination when the fear is done. What will you do then?
jckeithDecember 16, 2009, 04:29 PM
I'm hoping that knowing my Anki cards are piling up will remain a sufficient motivator. I may plan another China trip the following year too. Guess we'll find out though!
simonpetterssonDecember 16, 2009, 04:37 PM
When the fear is done?
When I do get to China, I'll still have The Fear. I'll be thinking "I just have one year to learn this language before this amazing opportunity disappears!" After I get back from there, I expect to be pretty much fluent, so no more need for fear or studying, just maintenance.
You could try evoking more Fear by setting up something where you'll need to use your Chinese. Book a therapy session, make a date with your wife's relatives, set up a public speaking appointment, decide to have a heated political discussion with someone, buy tickets for a theater performance, or something similar. As long as it's a fair bit into the future and you know you'll have to use your Chinese.
bababardwanDecember 16, 2009, 09:26 PM
set up a public speaking appointment
I love the no mountain too high attitude.Jiayou.This made me curious though..I presume there is an equivalent to toastmasters in China.What's it called [or what are the better known ones called...I suppose there could be several]?
hehe,I'll have to put avoiding procrastination on my New Years resolution list and tell you then...or at least by the end of that year.
sebireDecember 16, 2009, 10:03 PM
Just get super busy, and then you won't have time to procrastinate. But I wouldn't take anti-procrastination advice from me - when I was a student, I'd intend to start work at 9.30 am, and then not do anything till 4. The perils of too much time!