The Power of Planning (or: Lessons Learned)

During class last week, we discussed strategies for fitting independent language study into a very-busy schedule that often changes week by week.

We discussed a practice that Professor Thompson uses herself, which is to take time every Sunday to schedule time into your calendar for study. That way, your studies are planned for and fits within whatever your schedule for that particular week looks like. Then, when you get the calendar notification, you know it's time to jump into action and do your work.

"This is a great idea," I thought to myself. "Next Sunday, I'll make a plan!"

Q: What potentially devastating mistake did I make just there?

A: Not making a plan for the remainder of my week that very night!

As it happens, this past week was very out of the ordinary. Wednesday afternoon, I flew out of Madison to Washington, DC, where I attended a workshop for the African Studies Program during the week, and caught up with friends over the weekend.

As I packed my suitcase, I proudly included my Luganda binder, feeling quite responsible and studious. I knew that I would have periods of time here and there that I could work on my Luganda. And I was committed to keeping up despite being away from home.

It's a tale as old as time, really. As I'm sure you can guess, my lack of planning meant that those little blocks of time were really difficult to find. When I did find a chunk of time, it was often interrupted or cut short. And these smaller bits of time constrained the type of work I was able to do - much more of Quizlet than in-depth grammar practice, reading the news, or watching music videos.

In the end, while I certainly had face-time with Luganda every day of the week, despite my travel, the quality of what I accomplished was a lot less than I would like to see for myself. I've learned my lesson - the hard way - that deliberate planning goes a long way towards making studying a reality.

You can bet that this week's study is all scheduled into my calendar for this week!


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