Episode Transcript

Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency podcast. I’m Hadar. And this is episode number 228. How are you doing today? Today, we’re gonna talk about productivity in your English practice.

Hey-hey everyone, how are you doing? I hope you’re doing well, and you’re happy and healthy. And today we’re gonna talk about, like I said, productivity. Now, you know, we put so much effort into learning the language; and I hope that most of you put in a lot of effort into practicing the language, hence speaking.

And some of you are immersing yourselves in English – you know, listening to podcasts and to television and film, and reading books, and all of that good stuff. But what happens when you are doing the work, but your brain’s capacity to retain the information is so small that even though you’re spending an hour or 30 minutes or two hours a day or a week, it’s pointless because you’re not really learning what it is that you’re trying to learn.

And the reason why that happens is, well, this could happen because of many different reasons, but a lot of times it happens because we’re not being productive. We’re spending time learning things, and we’re not learning them in the best possible way for your brain. And one of the biggest reasons for that is because we constantly keep ourselves distracted. We are always so distracted.

Now, I know I’m speaking about myself, but I think as a generation, you know, in this century, most people are constantly distracted. There’s always something: another episode, another notification, another comment, another like, another post that we just have to look at. Another trend, another platform… There’s always something. And we always feel like we’re missing out on something. And that creates this consonants state of distraction.

And when that happens while we’re learning, no wonder the brain has a really hard time retaining information. And that’s usually what happens. And what I wanna do today is talk about some things that you can do in your English practice. If, let’s say, you do have the habit of practicing daily, and that means not just listening to audio in English or something like that, but really like sitting down and, you know, drilling words or practicing sounds or learning something and implementing it right away or practicing with others.

So let’s say you have that habit, which I hope you do, cuz it’s so important to have it. And I’m gonna link to episodes telling you why it’s so important to have it. And when you do practice, yes, it’s also important what it is that your practice. I have some episodes about that too. Don’t worry, I got you covered.

But let’s say you have all of that figured out, but you’re constantly distracted, and you’re doing five different things at the same time, then you are not going to get the outcome that you want. You’re not gonna get the outcome that you deserve based on the energy that you invest in the practice. You will be investing a lot of energy and intention, but, you know, the benefit is going to be a lot lower when you are not working in a productive way: when you’re distracted, when you’re doing too many things, when you’re multitasking.

So, today is all about productivity. I’m obsessed with productivity. I try to implement a lot of different systems and methods. I’ve been trying to do that for several years. And I’m still searching, I’m a consonants learner. And also a bad student, so I wouldn’t say I’m the person to teach you everything about productivity cause I’m still figuring it out on my own. But I have learned a thing or two, and I also see what works and what doesn’t work for my students inside of New Sound and Beyond, my programs.

So, I wanna share that with you today. And there are a few things that I’m gonna share about productivity. And I would love for you to even take notes or – if you’re driving or doing something – after you listen to this episode, just try to write down some of the bullet points of what we discussed. And before you do your English practice– you go into your English practice next time, try to follow at least one piece of advice there, all right? one of the tips that I share, and see if that helps.

And one of the things, as you’ll hear inside the episode, is creating a distraction-free zone, which I think is so incredibly important and underestimated. It feels like, “Hmm. It’s okay. I can keep my phone here. You know, it doesn’t really matter. I can have discipline.” But I cannot tell you the difference not having my phone with me when I’m working makes than when I do have it available.

And, you know, even though I don’t have any notifications, no pings, it’s always on silent. Sorry for all my friends and parents. And sister, who try to reach me during the day and I’m never available, cuz it’s always on silent. But you get the point. It’s still right there next to me. So when it’s available, I’m a lot less productive. And I always feel like I’ve worked so hard, but there is nothing to show for it. And I don’t want it to happen to you. So, that’s exactly what I’m talking about in this episode.

Now, when you’re done listening, I’m inviting you to come on over to Instagram. I’m on Instagram at @hadar.accentsway, and send me a DM. Tell me if this was helpful, tell me if you disagree with me, tell me if you have any other tips or ideas that you’d like me to share in your name with the community. So, I would love to do that.

Also, if you’ve been listening to this podcast and you haven’t subscribed just yet, then make sure you subscribe so you get a notification every time I release a podcast episode. All right? And you can also rate and review the podcast. I would be eternally grateful to you.

Thank you so much. And let’s listen to today’s episode.


Video transcript:

Hey, everyone. Has this ever happened to you? You are ready to practice your English, you know how important that is, and you are excited to do it, you’re excited to improve your English. So you sit down to practice your English, you even know what you need to do. But then at the end of your practice session, you feel like you can’t remember anything, you were so distracted. You did a bunch of different things and you feel that it was not worthwhile. And also, this is why you’re not seeing the progress that you’re hoping to see in your practice. If this is you, it means that you are not being very productive when practicing your English.

If you’re new to my channel, my name is Hadar. I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I’m obsessed with finding new ways and strategies to help you speak English clearly, confidently, and with freedom. And a big part of the work that I do is help you practice effectively. To practice effectively means that you need to focus on what you’re practicing, how you’re practicing. But also in this video, I’m going to give you some productivity tips to help you get the best out of your practice session.

Whether it’s 10 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day, an hour a day, making sure that you’re doing the things that will keep you not distracted and super focused on the things that you want to achieve. Because I guarantee: if you do that – and this has nothing to do specifically with English, well, maybe a little bit, but not just related to English – if you do that, I guarantee that you’ll start seeing bigger and better results in your English speaking experience. Are you ready? Great.

Now, if you’re not following me on Instagram just yet, I’m inviting you to come say hi at @hadar.accentsway. I share daily content there. Or you can come and visit my website at hadarshemesh.com, where you can get a lot of free resources to practice effectively. All right? Let’s get started.

The first productivity tip for your English practice is to plan ahead and schedule it in your calendar. So at the beginning of each week, I recommend that you plan what you wanna practice that week. Whether it’s focusing on grammar – and if you want to focus on grammar, decide what grammar topics you want to cover and practice and implement. If it’s vocabulary, decide exactly what it is that you want to improve. If it’s practicing speaking, decide where and when you’re gonna be meeting with people to practice speaking.

So, instead of just starting your day and starting your practice, plan at the beginning of the week or the end of the previous week, and plan what it is that you wanna focus on. Then schedule it. Every day, decide when exactly you’re going to do it and what you’re going to do. That will save you a lot of decision making.

Usually, when we need to make a lot of decisions and, you know, like when we practice English, we need to decide what we wanna learn and what would help us improve. Then, there is this thing called ‘decision fatigue’. When we have a lot of decisions to make, our brain gets really tired and we feel exhausted.

So by the time we arrive to practicing the things that we said that we’re gonna practice, we feel so defeated because we had to make all these different decisions before even starting. You know, which video to learn, what topic to learn, where to look for it. You know, what time in the day should I practice? Even though these may sound like small decisions, these are still decisions that your brain needs to make. And the more decisions you have to make, the more exhausted you will feel by the time you start your practice. Try to eliminate as many decisions as possible before your practice session.

Now, also when it’s scheduled, you schedule everything in your day around it. And really try to make it non-negotiable. So for example, if you decide to practice between 9:30 to 10:00 AM every day, or three times a week, then make sure that you’re not scheduling other things: not doctor’s appointments, not conversations with friends, not, you know, work meetings. Because this is your practice time and you need to take it seriously. Okay? So if you make it non-negotiable, it would be easier for you to commit to doing it.

Another thing that I want you to take into consideration is to understand how it is that you like to learn and how you learn best. For some people, it’s best to learn first thing in the morning. For others, it’s best to do it right before lunch so you know that once you’re done with that, you get to go to your lunch break and, you know, like that’s some kind of a reward. For other people, you wanna do it at the end of the day, without all the distractions of the day to day life, right? Like of work or family or whatever it is. It’s up to you to know when you learn best, when your brain works best.

So when you schedule your practice time, do it according to what feels the easiest or where you perform the best. Where it’s easiest for you to retain information, and not so hard. And you don’t have to learn it again and again and again, or watch a lesson again and again, and again, to understand it. Sometimes at the end of the day, you might be too tired for it. And then, you know, even though you practice, it might be worthless, right?

In comparison to doing it at 6:00 AM before the house wakes up, and then you have time and you really, really get it clearly, and then it’s a lot more effective. So, take that into consideration. It’s not all or nothing. It’s not ‘practice no matter what’. If you don’t have time to do it at a time where you know it’s easier for you to retain information, so maybe it’s best for you to not even do it, but not to do it and feel frustrated, and as if it’s not effective.

Another thing that is really, really important to be more productive in your English practice is to focus on one topic at a time. Don’t try to learn 5-6 different things, not even 2 different things when you are practicing in a given time slot during the day. Right? So if you wanna focus on vocabulary, great. Practice your vocabulary, learn one word, two words, not too many, you know. And I have additional resources on how to practice your grammar and vocabulary effectively. And I’m gonna link to that in the description.

But really, like it’s really important to focus on one thing. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, even if it’s just like 30 minutes. But when you are more focused, you can go deeper than when you’re trying to learn a bunch of different things. And here is one more important thing that I’m gonna say.

Whenever you learn something new, there will always be something else that comes up. Either you’ll remember something that you’ve been wanting to learn for a while, or you’ll come across a word that you’d be like, “Oh, I don’t know this word. I need to learn it.” And you’d be really tempted to go and search it and, you know, try to learn that in addition. And this is a big mistake.

Because when you multitask and when you try to learn a bunch of things, your brain is not working as effectively. And it would be really hard for you to understand both things, or all three things or four things or five things that you’re trying to learn, versus you just focusing on that one thing that you need to learn and that you said that you’re gonna learn.

So let’s say you’re starting to learn, and then you’re reading something. And then you see this word and you’re like, “Ah, I’ve been meaning to find out the meaning of this word”, instead of going and looking for it online, just have an empty piece of paper next to you and write down that word. Right?

And let’s say you continue practicing, and then you remember, “Oh, I really wanted to learn more about auxiliary verbs.” Great, just write it down. Don’t go and try to find out more information about that as you’re trying to learn the thing that you said you’re gonna learn. Right? Because this is a sure way to spread yourself too thin and, you know, trying to learn too many things at a given time.

And once you have that list of all the things that came up for you in your practice session, and let’s say you collect all those things throughout the week – cause you had already planned, you know, what you’re gonna practice in that given week – you can use that in your next planning session, right?

So at the end of the week, you’ll look at that page. You’ll be like, “This is what I need to practice this week.” And then you’ll plan accordingly, but you’ll have topics that are relevant, topics that came up for you and you know that you need them for sure cause you’re aware that you’re lacking some information there. This is how you choose what to work on.

By the way, I talk a lot about what exactly to practice and how to identify the things that will really help you see great results. I really love following the ’80/20 rule’ when choosing what to practice, and I highly recommend that you watch my episodes about it. And I’m gonna link to all of them in the description below. Really, if you want to work more productively and effectively, you’re gonna want to watch those lessons.

The last thing I’m gonna talk about is to create for yourself a distraction-free zone. It’s so hard to stay focused these days. You start doing one thing and then you get an email notification, a WhatsApp notification, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok – all of those things that keep drawing your attention to anything but the thing that you wanted to do and to focus on. Right? You might start your English practice and then your mom calls or your sister calls or your daughter calls or your son calls. And then of course, you can’t continue doing what it is that you need to do.

it’s really important to create for yourself a distraction-free environment. Meaning, if your phone tends to distract you and to draw your attention, then make sure that the phone is turned off and is in the other room, not even next to you so you’re not tempted to turn it on. And give yourself, you know, like 20 minutes or 30 minutes of just focus time, without any distractions, without your phone.

If you tend to work on your laptop and you’re, you know, it’s so easy for you to open another browser and check your email really quickly, right? Or, you know, have your WhatsApp in your browser. Or maybe look for the definition of words or go research something on YouTube. If that’s what you’re likely to do when practicing, then I recommend first of all, working with one browser and being really disciplined in that sense. But also there are apps that can block access to some sites. You can put a block on Facebook or even Google for, let’s say 20 or 30 minutes until you know that you are done with your practice and then you can go and do your research, or just continue on with your day.

It is so important to manage distractions, really. Because when you’re able to stay focused – and I highly recommend not exceeding the length of, let’s say 25 minutes – and then you can take a break and come back, right? So the brain can stay focused short periods of time and you need to take breaks in between. But when you take breaks, don’t go on your phone immediately or don’t go and watch a YouTube video immediately. Go walk around, stretch, dance, and then come back and do the rest of the work. Or just do a 25-minute practice session once a day, and that’s it.

All right. So, when you follow these productivity tips, I think it would be really easy for you to stay more focused. And that would make your English practice a lot more effective. Now I have a question for you. What is your productivity tip or strategy that has helped you stay focused when practicing your English or when doing any other kind of work?

For me, for sure, working in a distraction-free zone has been extremely helpful and has improved my productivity by a lot. So I really want you to try it out. But also, planning out would be my second best advice for you for staying productive and starting to see more and more results in your English.

All right. So I can’t wait to hear your recommendations. And if you have any other questions, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Now, if you like this video, consider sharing it with your friends and family members, with your students, whoever you think might benefit from this video.

I really appreciate you. Thank you so much for being here. And I can’t wait to see you next week in the next video. Bye.