Productivity Hacks?

I was wondering if you guys had any tips or tricks when it comes to increasing one’s productivity - in particular, the time spent studying on any particular day.

Here are two resources I like:


I would do “Spanish things” during dead time like waiting on line, for someone, etc like reviewing my 25 lingqs of the day. I would listening to Spanish on my iPod when I was driving to work or going for a walk in the evening. And if there was something I was going to do in English but I could in theory do in Spanish (like read the newspaper), I did it in Spanish.


I’ve tried removing distractions. I don’t use my phone a lot these days but I found that by removing unnecessary apps from the homescreen I spend significantly less time using them.

Current homescreen:

(in case someone wonders: the green icon with a yellow ribbon is a dictionary and the one with the blue star is Anki)

1 Like

Personally, I consider studying more as a marathon, hence the sprinter’s tactics is not supposed to make any comprehensible difference. Usually it’s a way to become exhausted and have a motivation problem after a few productive days.

However, I’ve come to some simple rules that are helpful in a long run.

  1. First and formost, it’s crucial to stay motivated and interested, even if it means that you have to slow down on a particular day. Because if you became exhausted, you’ll end up not studying at all for the next few days/weeks. And your 2-5 days of high productivity will dissolve, so it’s not what you want. So I nourish my interest and motivation.

The advantages of the next one are a bit counterintuitive because we people are not get used to count small compound gains. So…

  1. Marginal gains. You can read the article, that I attached below, but point is that the tiny seconds, that you spend, for example, on looking words up in a heavy paper dictionary become tens of minutes by the end of the day, hours by the end of the week. You can imagine how they’re adding up during a year or two of your studying.

Digital tools are not equal too. Suppose, you have to look every word up in an additional window, like it was before LingQ. I found, that reading books is more comfortable with some other app, because LingQ works a bit slow with dictionary and my “tiny seconds” are snowballing. Although, LingQ is perfect for articles of 1000-5000 words.

I’ve spent much time to find video player that allows to rewind movies by subtitles and doesn’t waste my time for extra clicks, because I want to repeat phrases hundreds of times during even a 40 minute movie. Some apps are better, the other ones are worse.

Again, it’s impalpable what these tiny seconds become, when it comes to things like studying, where the actual success is a matter of years.
Marginal gains. Same thing goes for marginal failures, like the exhaustion after high productivity attempts.

The article:

Тише едешь - дальше будешь :wink:

Dead time is real time and I use it all of the time

1 Like

I guess there are a lot of solutions online about distractions, planning, commitment and lot of stuff BUT at the end it all depends on our mindset.

One thing I find useful for myself is changing topic so that it’s always engaging. So, when I get bored to read, I start listening, or I watch something, or I repeat verbs, and so on. Some activities are harder and others are easier, so if there is a good balance you can go on for more time. I believe.


I agree, there have been times that I have gone supernova and then I was too exhausted for days. While there are many people on youtube that find a way to spend 6 hours a day for reading and studying their L2 it is not a reality for everyone. My daily aim is about 3-4 hours a day broken up into 30-60 minute blocks.
I love the forum that we have but there are a few people who are spammers that do not add to our learning and I must stay away from those black holes.

Is this your computer home screen?

I do the same! I use that dead time in my day to listen to spanish radio and read the newspaper in spanish if I planned on reading that day. I do have the added advantage of working with ELL students and this year I am bringing to them some of the study techniques that I am using. We are now able to learn together. As they can see my own struggles with a language it has changed their internal perspective of learning. Showing my daily struggle has opened them up more.

1 Like

This is a screenshot from my iPhone. A bit of a clarification. After removing for example the stocks app or discord from the home screen, I’ve probably spend 1-2 hours more per week on target. I don’t need to check the Dow every other time I unlock my phone but having it right in front of you just a click away is sometimes hard to resist. I know there are zen people that can shut out all distractions but unfortunately I’m not one of them. Creating an immersion bubble has been very useful to me.

Excellent question. As my main mode of studying now is reading novels in Italian (I’m a literature nerd), it’s kind of easy to increase my productivity by just reading more each day. In reading I’m now C1 (and in speaking I feel like I might forever be B2, but that’s another story). What have you thought of to increase your productivity?

Get hooked on something! Books, tv shows, webtoons, whatever. I’ve found that suspense is the best way for me to trick myself into studying longer than I would have otherwise.

For now I stick to a schedule of reading one newspaper article daily, but I want to do more. I’ve made the daily article reading a habit so I don’t have to think or try hard to get it done but I feel like I want to do more. The best thing that comes to mind is what aena mentioned earlier - get hooked on something. It’s proving difficult for me to find Korean native content that I’m both interested in and find challenging, however and a lot of the content that I do want to access is gated behind their resident registration number so I’m unable to access most of it!

So that’s my contribution to the tip archive, make something seemingly insignificant into a habit and it’s continuance will self sustain itself through your studies.


Oof I’m in the same boat right now. It’s so hard to find quality reading material other than news and web articles in Korean. There are at least 3 audiobooks that I want to buy from Naver but I can’t figure out how to do it without a Korean bank account/credit card. ㅠ.ㅠ

I used to go through a few each day of a 20-30 page packet.

Creating an immersion takes so much time but it is time well spent. If only Star Trek was in my L2 language. I have also removed all distracting apps from my phone but I still have FB for checking on family. I only check once a week for about 20 minutes. I have found that a dedicated schedule of learning and language exchanges keep me on task. Thank you for sharing as I am not a zen person either.

1 Like