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Balancing Duolingo with other obligations

I was recently asked how I balance work with Duolingo.

It can be very difficult; I have a job that demands a lot of my time. What I usually do is use Duolingo as my break from work. When I need to clear my head and reset, I will stretch, maybe take a walk down the hall and take care of a chore or errand, and do a quick Duo review before getting back to work.

I also like to do a couple of lessons on my phone after I get in bed and before turning out the lights - though recently I've switched to reading a Kindle book in Spanish.

How do YOU balance language learning with the demands of other activities, such as work, school, athletics, and the arts?

July 27, 2017



Well I'm home schooled, so if I don't have a check up with the eye doctor or anything I do homework. But I wake up at 9:00AM and finish at 3:00PM or 3:30PM, I know people might think that it's not good because your learning less, but I am learning more. How? You might ask it's simple, in public school you have limited time on one subject. But if your home schooled you can work on one subject for as long as you want until you learn it. And my dad and mom have us work through the summer too. But it's not bad at all, because we take a lot of trips through the school year. So I believe me and my siblings learn 5% more than an normal student. After I am done with school I wash up, and get ready for volleyball or basketball or whatever sport I play at the time because I play a lot! Or even if I have no where to go that day, every now and then I'll take a 5 minute break from school. I also sing, but it ended, it starts again in august! I also paint sometimes. But thats how I balance out everything.




I usually learn on Duolingo at work because there I have a German keyboard, which makes typing German much easier. I do the lessons either in the morning, before starting to work, or during breaks from work. I have more problems in forcing myself to practice during weekends because I'm too lazy to turn on my computer and I find the phone app rather useless. I decided not to push myself if I don't feel like learning, so I didn't use duolingo during holidays or when I was really busy or when I just wanted to relax.


You're smart to not push yourself if you don't feel like it. I do (I hate to admit it but I love a long streak), and sometimes I find myself actually feeling resentful rather than excited about my languages. Your way has got to be healthier :)


It works different for everyone. Streak meant a lot to me too, I wanted to have an uninterrupted streak from the beginning of learning and I managed to keep it until I finished the German tree and I bit longer, but then I gave up when it became impossible to keep the tree golden. Now it just doesn't mean that much anymore because it's always pretty short and it's not uninterrupted from the beginning, so I give up way too easily. On one side, it's a shame, but on the other, at least I'm not stressed about it and I still have enough motivation to learn most of the days even without the streak. Plus, duolingo did pretty much everything it could for my German, so unless I continue learning Italian or another language, I will probably stop using it soon, after I finish the reverse tree.


For a while I needed a break and treated myself to weekend amulets. I now put in a lot of effort again, but a break can re-energise you.


I just wake up and do one lesson at least. If I know I'll be extremely busy, I do an early lesson, which I can complete in less than a minute (seriously, I timed myself). In fact, instead of typing this message, I could have completed one lesson already!

Anyways, if you say you have no time to do Duolingo, and you're reading these messages on this forum post, you could have completed at least one already. Well, assuming you're not an absolute beginner.


On those (thankfully rare) days when I barely have time to eat, I might do "Basics 1" on my phone just to keep the streak alive. It takes no time at all. Here's a nice TMI for you: you can easily finish a review lesson in less time than it takes to use the bathroom. Plus it passes the time while you're sitting there...


During the summer I am very productive on Duolingo. However during the school year, I am do less than what I do during the summer. I usually refresh a couple skills every day during the summer, however during the school year I only refresh or learn one lesson every day. Especially this year because I'm involved in a lot of activities and I am taking 4 AP classes, I have a lot to keep track of. I plan not to lose my streak because of school because that happened last December. Also, during the summer I usually learn throughout the day, while during the school year I only use Duolingo at night.


Wow! You really have your plate full with 4 AP classes and lots of outside activities. Just that one lesson per day is a huge benefit, though, as I'm sure you're aware. I find that if I do miss a day, it easily turns into a week, or months, and then I'm forced back to re-learning.


I don't actually have to balance Duolingo activity with my other activities because I have made it a part of my daily life.


That's it, in a nutshell. :)


I think the initial time for learning a language is very consuming, you can't do much without the basics so you require dedicated time, but after passing a certain threshold it becomes much easier, now I can just read something in my target language for a few minutes from time to time and it's more than enough.


I have to agree. In fact, that's why I'm now reading my Kindle book in the evenings instead of drilling on Duolingo. I get more "bang for buck" that way (and it's lots of fun!).


I'd have to say I do about the same as Lrtward. First thing in the morning over my morning coffee I'll check my email and answer whatever seems pressing. Since I work from home I turn to Duo when I feel the need for a break and often have lunch and dinner in front of the monitor. My evenings are usually on Duo again first I read the Discussions both the general and the course specific ones and answer whatever I can. Sometimes I set the alarm because it's too easy to forget the time when I'm involved with Duo. :)

Last thing at night I'll often do a lesson right after midnight to keep up my streak for the next day although I always have a streak freeze. Last weekend I bought a weekend streak which turned out to be a good investment because we were at a seaside resort with very weak internet service and none at all on Sunday. I have to admit to a bit of separation anxiety.

Looking forward to hearing how others manage their time.


I love/hate the idea of setting an alarm, jaye16! I need one, because I spend WAY too much time in the forums. But I'd just ignore it and keep on goofing off. I know this to be true because I already tell myself "30 more minutes, and I'll get out of the forums. Yep, at 8:30 I'll start studying." Then again at 8:30, 9:00...


I cannot tell a lie... I often just turn off the alarm and go on with the forums. :-)


My teachers usually don't give me too much homework, also I go to a home school co-op which only have classes two days a week, and even if I have to do homework those days, it doesn't last all day and neither does school. Sometimes I do Duolingo before getting up in the morning. Since it's summer break, I have loads of free time, so for now I have plenty of time to go on Duo.


I like the idea of doing Duolingo first thing in the morning. I think that's probably a fairly common habit among steadfast language learners. That way, no matter what the day throws at you, you've done your Duolingo.

Speaking of which... We had a bad storm here not too long ago, and were without power (and Internet, and phone) for about 36 hours. I was very glad to have done my Duo that morning, and to have a streak freeze purchased.


Lrtward: Collectively,what is the percentage of efforts in lingustics as compared to your total daily efforts? ( 10%...20%...30% ?)


It varies greatly. I spend ten minutes (if that) on a busy day and if I'm lucky and have a day off I might spend a couple of hours. But I'd say usually it's about 20-30 minutes per day if I can find the time.

So .5 hours / 17 hours = 3% :'(


I built it into my life as a daily practice.

I work full-time Monday through Friday, and during these days I have a set schedule to get up in time so I can practice on Duolingo from 7:00am to 7:30am before leaving for work. I do one new lesson and spend the rest of the time strengthening.

Saturdays and Sundays are my days off work. At a minimum I study one new lesson and do strengthening with the only difference being that on the weekends I spend a lot more time on Duolingo. I usually earn several hundred XP on a Saturday, and once in a while when I'm really motivated I have a marathon and in the past have had Saturdays where I earn up to 1800 XP.

When I'm at home, I exclusively use my computer for Duolingo as I don't really care for the phone app. However, when I'm travelling or on vacation I use the phone app to do 20XP per day just so I don't lose my streak.


1800 XP is an insane marathon, even with timed practice giving you 20 XP per lesson! I highly prefer the computer, too. I use the phone in a pinch but I learn a lot better on the website.


I went and checked, and last Saturday I actually earned 2,935 in one day. I didn't have anything else to do that day, and I spend hours on Duolingo. I felt like I was going insane by the time I was done. I don't think I'll do that again soon!!!!!


This has never been easy. As a student, I attend school from 6 am until around 2 pm. I always receive lots of tasks like homeworks from the lessons at school.

I absolutely love learning German. I usually spend for nearly a whole day with learning German not just with Duolingo, but also with (a lot of) another famous websites. But it's really hard for me to accept that school lessons is prioritized more than language learning. My school only offers 2 foreign languages, namely English and Chinese (and I'm not interested in it) sadly.

With school added to my routine, I have to create my own schedule for learning German. It only takes 3 hours of learning German and at least be finished at 6 pm since I have to continue studying school lessons.


I admire your ability to prioritize. That's something that is very hard for most people to learn. Your English is excellent!!! May I ask what is your native language?


I used to be an avid user of Duolingo, but over the years my free time was tainted by long hours at work and college, leaving me little energy to actually complete lessons (on the site, might I add, they take a bit longer than the app!)

I recently redownloaded the app in hopes of learning Japanese, and eagerly await the Korean from English course releasing next month. I know that my commutes will be longer...so Duolingo on the train isn't too bad of a time commitment. :)

For the languages I do know, I'm hoping to stay steady with a blog I have, writing posts and then translating them into one of two target languages. It also helps with my eventual translation career (...?)


Welcome back!! You're signing up for some real torture with Japanese and Korean! I agree that the website is better than the app but the app is perfect for when you're stuck waiting for something to happen.


Thank you! Long time, no see. :)

Contrary to popular opinion, Korean hasn't been too bad! To my dismay the Eng-Kor course is extremely rigid, and none of the reports I've sent in have been corrected, so it's slow going only because I can't remember which specific conjugation they allow vs not! TT

Japanese is really amazing on the app, and probably my best experience on iOS so far. I'm not sure if they specifically tailored it for app use, but it has a better quality than other courses imo.


Since I am on holidays, I really have much time for spending on Duolingo, but I do not. The Duolingo lesson is in this time the very first thing I do in the morning. Lately on I have set up a new policy of learning for Duolingo:

-I must everyday do a new entire lesson or, at least, do a part of it

-The rest of the time is spent on strengthening other lessons which are already done

The maximum time that I have set up for Duolingo is one hour per day, and I usually spend like 30 minutes or so. When the holidays are over, I guess I will not be able to spend an hour but 30 minutes or less time, since when I was on the school year I only played Duolingo on the weekends

It is also easy to spend not so much time on learning one's lessons when one learns only a [sole] language. Currently I look forward to the English-Japanese course to be avaliable in the web, for I no longer use the app because I already have much programs intalled on the phone, even though I may end up using it again since I deem it useful. I have recently also thought on doing the French course since I also learn it at school but this decision is not probable yet

Also, I have seen several users which have had an "insane" marathon of experience gaining and language learning, and now I feel a bit excited about trying this very experience. I did not use to visit the forums but lately on I have a brief look at somme of the threads to which I am subscribed


I agree that a mix of review and new content is the best way to approach language learning. You have to review so you don't forget, and the new material keeps things interesting.

I'm interested in hearing how your insane marathon goes :)


I'm homeschooled, so I do have a lot of free time, but I have several siblings, so my house is loud until about ten at night. Then I'll practice for half an hour to an hour. Last summer, I got up at seven, just so that I could have an hour of peace and quiet for my language practice. :)

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