Two months before going to Chile in March 2016, I decided to learn conversational Spanish. I was only spending 10 days in the country and decided to dedicate an hour a day learning the language. That’s 60 days, so 60 hours. Given we’re only awake for about 16 hours of the day, this equals 4 days.
The fact that I didn’t learn conversational Spanish aside (I never carved out that hour on a daily basis), my approach was shit. I was taking on an all-or-nothing approach. Not only did I not have time for it, dedicating that much time was wasteful. If I planned on living in South America for years, the hour a day would have made sense, and I would have been motivated to do it. But I was only spending 2x less on education time (learning Spanish) than I was spending in the actual country.
This was a terribly unproductive approach. It was also wasteful in monetarily. I bought the Roseyta Stone course when I should have just use free online resources.
The point I’m getting at is this: Base the time you spend educating yourself on the time you’ll spend using that education. For instance, right now I’m in Buenos Aires for 30 days. So, from my experience, I should spend 40 times less that time learning the language. I would spend more time if I was living here indefinitely, but I’m only visiting.
Here’s the math…
[(30 days x 16 waking hours/day) / 40] = 12 hours
12 hours / 30 days = 0.4 hours/day
This is the time I should spend learning Spanish. You can apply this equation to other areas of learning and experience as well. For instance, the time you spend learning about your trade on a daily basis and how long you spend working. Since I work almost every day (I’m not just “visiting”), I should spend more time learning my trade than the time I spend learning Spanish. Perhaps I spend 20x less instead of 40x less.