Each week, I offer you a new video on a specific topic to help you better understand authentic French. If you want to practice speaking this topic and finally gain confidence in French, join my French conversation group Ohlala French Coffee.
This week in my French conversation group, we are going to talk about time management. And today, I would like to talk to you about time management in French.
It is a very important parameter in order to improve and progress in French. I will give you some tips and tricks to learn French when you have very little time.
First of all you have to be realistic, if you have 0 minutes per week and even the weekend for French, but, 3 free hours every two months, it will not be possible.
The important thing to progress is not to have a lot of time, it helps, but it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to be regular.
The key to progress in French is regularity.
Let's see what you can do to work on your French with little time!
You don't have any free time during the week to learn French, but you do have some time on the weekend.
Indeed, it is complicated to learn French when you have very little time.
And the week is often the time when we have the least time. We work, we have family life to manage and we are tired. On the weekends, however, you have a little more time.
But, honestly, it's not enough. So how do you make progress in French when you don't have time during the week?
You'll use your dead time!
What is a dead time ?
A dead time is a moment when you are doing something, but you also have the possibility to do something else at the same time.
I'll give you an example, when you're on the bus, in the subway or on the train, it's a time-out. When you are in the shower, it's a time-out. When you are cleaning, washing dishes or cooking, it's dead time. I'm sure you have a dead time or two during the day. So let's use them!
Here are some examples of activities to improve your French that you can do during your dead time. Please note that I will suggest several activities that you can vary each day.
Listen to a podcast or watch a video in French:
This is the most common activity you can do in your downtime. Listening to a French podcast while driving, while on the bus, while preparing food, while on lunch break or while in the shower.
It is the most flexible activity and the most suitable for downtime. You can also watch a video in French, but it will require more attention. It is not to be done while driving.
Describe your environment in French :
This is a particularly good activity for beginners and intermediates. You are on public transport or in a park during your lunch break, look at your surroundings and describe them.
For example, if I am in a park: Je vois deux personnes marcher, ils portent tous les deux un sac à dos. Je suis près d’une route. Un camion passe. Il y a un peu de monde dans le parc. La plupart des personnes marchent. Il y a un homme assis sur un banc. (I see two people walking, both carrying a backpack. I am near a road. A truck passes by. There are a few people in the park. Most people are walking. There is a man sitting on a bench.)
Read in French :
Reading in French is a very good activity to do during downtime.
You can read the news in French, I recommended in a previous article some websites in French to follow the news.
You can also read books in French, I recommend you in this article: 10 books to practice your French from A1 to C1.
If you don't have motion sickness you can read in the bus or the subway. You can also read during your lunch break.
Review vocabulary and grammar:
You don't have enough time to have a real French lesson in your down time.
However, you can review vocabulary or a grammar point that you have recently learned. If you write down the new vocabulary you see, you can review it during your down time. For example: you learned these new words: Déléguer / Parquet / Déchets.
Make sentences with these words and repeat them in a real-life context to better remember them: Je n’aime pas déléguer, par contre mon supérieur adore déléguer. / Je n’ai pas de parquet chez moi, j’aimerais bien, mais j’ai peur que mon chien l’abime. / J’essaye d’avoir de moins en moins de déchets et si je peux, je les recycle.
Do the same thing with grammar. For example, you recently learned the pronouns En and Y. Use them: Je vais au travail, j’y vais en bus. À midi, je mange des tomates, j’en mange chaque semaine. Je pense à ce dossier que je dois rendre, je n’arrête pas d’y penser. Je passe devant une église, il y en a une près de chez moi.
You can also create flashcards and review vocabulary or even a grammar point. I recommend using QuizLet, it's a tool I use a lot for my students. There are already existing vocabulary lists or you can create your own. From a list, the application will offer you several interactive methods to practice this vocabulary.
Listening to music in French:
A fun activity, but always in French. And even better, if you can look at the words of the songs while you listen to them, it is a very good exercise to progress.
It's an activity you can do anywhere: on the road, while playing sports, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
Writing in French:
This activity is appropriate if you are on public transportation or during your lunch break. You can write different things in French: a little story, a summary of your day, your thoughts or reflections and also your gratitude.
I have just written an article to integrate a gratitude journal in your French routine.
Improve your French pronunciation:
This activity is perfect if you have downtime when you are alone or if you don't mind the looks of others.
I invite you to make a list of words or sounds that are difficult for you to pronounce.
Write the word and the word in a sentence.
For example: accueil / Il m’a réservé un merveilleux accueil. Une rue / J’habite dans une rue très calme. Oreiller / Mon oreiller est très confortable.
Then go to a site that allows you to read your text in French like "readspeaker". Enter your list of words and with your phone record in video or with the dictaphone function.
Now you can listen to this list anywhere and repeat it.
For example, while driving your car, put this recording on a loop and repeat these words and the words in a sentence. Or during your lunch break. And if you're not afraid of other people's eyes, why not do it on the subway.
Think or speak in French:
In the morning on the bus, think about the things you are going to do during the day in French.
For example: Aujourd’hui, je vais arriver au bureau à 9h. Je vais allumer mon ordinateur et consulter mes emails. À 10h, j’ai une réunion avec un client pour parler d’un projet.
You can also talk to each other or make comments in French. To go further, you can even record yourself speaking and check what is going on and what is not.
In summary, it's very important not to cut yourself off from French, even if you have very little time.
Keep a link with French through the activities I just suggested, and try to do them every day.
And as soon as you have time to spare, during the week or on the weekend: practice!
Oral practice is fundamental in learning a language. And if you don't know where or how to practice, join my French conversation group.
I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷