Language tracking is so important. It allows you to stay on top of your studies, master busy periods and see your own progress towards fluency. It’s not just an exercise in discipline or productivity.
When you find smart ways to track, it will enhance all the work you’re doing and become one of the greatest motivators out there. And since I recently built and shared my own best practice templates for tracking in the Language Habit Toolkit learners, I’ve been hearing back from students who have some incredible ideas for making this even more effective.
Check out the following creative tracking tweaks and see if they can transform your language learning, too.
1) Track Life Events That Affect Your Study Routine
We all know that rules are made to be broken, and this is true for study routines too! Big and small events such as trips, conferences, and birthdays can knock you off your routine and even break habits.
Look out for these types of events at the start of the week and make a note in your tracker. Give yourself permission to drop off the routine and pay attention to getting back on track in the days after your event. For example, you could schedule 20 minutes of writing for the day after your birthday.
How To Add This To Your Tracker
My favourite trick comes from Catrin, one of my expert testers.
As Catrin started tracking her studies every day, she made little notes of what’s going on in her life.
Remember that it is okay if you are just too busy to study sometimes.
Developing a language habit is not about perfect records of focused study every day. It’s about more than that: Making language feel natural, building structure, and helping you go further simply by coming back to the project every week.
2) Code In Your Activities
The next trick is from Mark, another expert tester. Mark used to be a runner, and found that regular tracking was a key to his training regime. Taking the method into language learning, he built on his tracking expertise by adding little extras to show what he did during those sessions.
Here are a few easy ways of enhancing your Habit Tracker:
- Use different colours to track which skill you trained that day (vocab, grammar, listening, speaking, reading and writing..)
- Use numbers or letters to shorten descriptions of your resources, for example 1 for Duolingo, 2 for Glossika, 3 for your vocab notebook, 4 for a video chat, and so on.
- If you are studying more than one language, highlight which languages you were studying on which day. On the right, you can see how I reserve every Thursday for training French instead of Welsh (using the Language Habit Toolkit, printed at 50% and pasted into my Moleskine notebook).
3) Add A Review Box to Your Habit Tracker
The next tip was shared by Toolkit user Colette. She shared a tweak she uses to make sure she stays on top of what she’s learnt so far.
When you are just finishing a lesson with your tutor or a timed study session, the temptation to close the app/book and do something else is at its highest. You have earned your break! But with just one or two words of new vocabulary, you can hugely increase the benefit of what you just learnt.
Colette’s idea takes this review system one step further, as she decided to write down one word to review from her vocab routine right on the Habit Tracker every day. Just think: If you review just one vocabulary word extra every single day, you save yourself 365 reviews a year. Your Memrise buddies will be very impressed!
How To Add This To Your Tracker
In the Language Habit Toolkit, your Study Tracker sheet also comes with a “What I Learnt” section that prompts you to make a quick note of exactly what you added to your knowledge on this occasion.
Making a note while it is fresh in your mind will help you realise that even just a few minutes spent on a flashcard review can take you further towards becoming fluent.
4) Log in Advance
The final trick in today’s round-up comes from me, and it’s my classic way of kick-starting any activity when I feel like I’m procrastinating a bit too much. I’m a person who can struggle with overwhelm, and sometimes I get nothing at all done because I don’t even know where to start.
One thing I’ve learnt is that I can usually get myself unstuck by creating dedicated times in my week. It doesn’t work if I say “I will study every Monday from 6 to 7”, but it does work when I look just a few days ahead and decide where important work will fit in.
The most effective way to “advance log” is to become extremely specific. Don’t just write “read in Welsh” - it has to be “spend 8 minutes reading MADRON comic”. Instead of saying “do Memrise”, make a specific note of the level you want to complete or the mini-goal you have.
Related article: How to Learn a Language With Smart and Useful Goals
Want To Get Ready-Made Language Tracking Templates?
You’ll find two in-depth tracking worksheets to print and use in the Language Habit Toolkit. These trackers are professionally designed, developed with language learning experts, and will give you an instant set-up for effective tracking.
Find the Language Habit Toolkit in Fluent’s Learning Section.
Do you keep track of your language learning sessions in detail, or do you prefer to sail along and set big goals only? If you’ve got a tip to share, let me know in the comments below!