Weekly Update #4 – Positively Unproductive

After the last update I didn’t think my study time could get any worse, but low and behold I managed to have an even poorer performing week.

I’ve accepted now that I’m not going to be able to stick to my original plan of insane cramming before I arrive in China on March 1st, it’s just not practical with so many things I need to take care of in preparation for starting my new adventure.

I take care of one thing, then another crops up, as if I’m playing whack-a-mole.

I was away from home for 3 days again this week saying a final farewell to close friends. During this time I wasn’t able to do even half of what I had planned, but it was nice to see the guys for one last time and I did still get a little studying done.

So not a complete disaster I guess!

I was getting a little angry knowing I was falling behind with my studies, and it was even more demotivating to know early on in the week that I wasn’t going to be able to meet my goals set previously.

Then I realised it’s ok to take a break, thanks to a video I watched recently which couldn’t have been discovered at a better time for me.

A group of Mandarin learners casually discuss how studying has gone for them and they make a point about taking a break, which really hit home. 3 minutes 50 seconds into the video is where they discuss taking a hiatus as being an important part of learning.

I’ve been busting my ass off for the past 5 months, which includes a month long trip to China where I was completely out of my element, living with Chinese speakers that could not speak more than 2 words of English.

I feel I’ve earned a little time off, especially as I’m currently dealing with this cocktail of anticipation, excitement, nerves and fear.

I’m going to be living in China in less than a week. That fact alone gives me some comfort, knowing being immersed is going to make up for all my falling behind over the past fortnight.

No Anki reviews this week is honestly my biggest worry, I haven’t even opened it up yet as I’m dreading the queue.

I’m going to take a slow and steady approach by splitting it up into small chunks each day, rather than long sessions which I fear I couldn’t handle right now.

So without further ado, here’s what I did do over the past week.


My phone came back on Thursday (hooray!), so I managed to catch up with my 500+ long queue by lunch time today. It actually took less time than I thought. I was also surprised and relieved to find that I hadn’t forgotten too much.

Time spent: ~4 hours

italki Skype Lesson

Fairly good lesson, I had a tiny epiphany when I made the decision to stop caring TOO much about my pronunciation (again compliments of the video above). I found the words flowed out a lot easier and there was less dead space than usual.

I don’t want to get sloppy with my pronunciation but I now believe it’s best to work on this during self-study time and not during real interactions.

Time spent: 1 hour

WaiChinese & Pronunciation Challenge

Did a little more WaiChinese and got some lovely feedback from my teacher.

“Your resubmits were really nice! Was there something special you are doing on the resubmits. There was such an improvement I would like to tell my other students if you have a method.”

Yes maybe I’m bragging a bit but give me a break considering the poor week I’ve had! It’s nice to get some encouraging feedback now and again.

On the day before I left I also spent some time taking the dialogue from NPCR and plopping it into Audacity, then I worked on recording myself to match the speaker as best as I could.

Time spent: 3 hours

TV and Film Viewing

Yep you guessed it, more Happy Chinese.

Other than this I really had no time to get more listening done.

Time spent: 2 hours

Weekly Study Total: 10 hours

Goals for next week

None really. I’m going to improvise and do what I can.

My mind is all over the place right now and trying to meet goals clearly isn’t working for me at the moment, in fact it’s actually having a negative effect on my studies so it’s best to put them aside.

I’ll bring back the short term goals when I’m settled in China.

The only things I have “planned” before I leave is to have 2 italki lessons, where I’ve asked my teacher to work on immediately useful things in preparation for the landing, plus I hope to clear my Anki queue.

I’d also like to finish the Pronunciation Challenge, though I don’t think I can meet my 10 hour target.

Anything extra I’ll be happy with.

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