The days are getting shorter, and you know what that means:
Winter is coming.
To borrow a phrase from the Starks of Game of Thrones fame!
While it might seem like a downer, and short days might wear on you a little bit, I find that this is one of the best times of year. Winter hasn’t quite arrived yet, but the weather is just right for being active outside, and cozy inside! The only difficult thing about the coming of winter is getting used to the idea that it’s not summer anymore.
Gone are the days where you can sleep in on the weekends, and still have plenty of daylight to take advantage of the day.
Instead, you have to maximise your productivity and your daylight hours. But, I find that also makes it easier to balance my life.
I’m someone that doesn’t like being inside, so for me, the long days in summer can sometimes be too much! I’ll often surf, hike, or try and be outside doing anything I can all day. But, when it comes time to work in the evening, I just don’t have the energy! So, I find late autumn to be one of the best times, because it naturally helps me with my work-life balance.
Knowing that the clock is ticking doesn’t put extra pressure on me. Instead, it helps me focus and seize every day. I wake up around sunrise, which isn’t late at all where I normally live: no earlier than 7am. Then, it’s a relaxing coffee and breakfast while, hopefully, doing a little bit of language study.
I’ll use flash cards, or try and write something quick in Japanese while sipping my morning coffee. I also check on the news, and just leisurely get into the rhythm of the day as my body wakes up.
After that, depending on the weather, I’ll either get some work done, or go out and enjoy the day. And unlike in summer, when the sun never seems to set, it usually feels like no time at all until the sun finally sets.
That’s ok though, because after sunset is when the day really starts! There’s nothing better than getting all cozy at home when it’s dark outside, and settling down for some real productivity.
Lately, I’ve really been enjoying going through the transcriptions of all my chats on our FruFru service at night.
Much like my Misconception Course on Fruitful English, which is a collection of the most common errors that I’ve seen over my career teaching English, I’ve been noticing some very consistent errors among all my speaking students. These points don’t show in writing, because students have more time and are more careful. However, when speaking, you have to be a bit quicker and you have less time to think about your grammar, which tends to lead to the same errors.
I’ve been enjoying going through our AI transcriptions and picking out these points. It’s so easy to see errors and bad habits when you have a complete transcription of your speaking, and just looking at your speaking once can really help you focus studying.
Recently, I’ve really been imploring students to slow down and focus on grammar. While it’s tempting to try and speak as quickly as possible, that’s not the best way to learn in the beginning. Instead, emulate Obama, and speak slowly and carefully!
Oh, and it’s getting dark!
That means it’s time to relax inside, get cozy, and do some fun work! How are you coping with the shorter days? I hope you’re making the most of the daylight hours and enjoying the beautiful world outside, then coming back home for some productivity at night! Take care and stay warm with English!
座右の名”The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”