3 Best Tips for Unproductive Language Learning Days

Language learning is not always fun and you won’t find motivation every single day.

You’ll have bad days and most probably there’ll be times when you would like to just quit.

But there are some tips that can help you overcome such days and that’s what I want to talk about in this blog post. You’ll often find yourself in this kind of situation and you should learn how to handle the bad days while learning a language.

Maybe you experience the same situation: sometimes I just wake up in the morning and I already get the feeling that today will be bad.  

It’s not that I intended it this way but I just have this feeling that I’m already stressed or feel sad without even making any step so far.

On such days I barely drag myself out of bed, get my glasses on and walk into the kitchen to drink water. The urge to get back into my bed is really big and I feel bad about it. And it takes so much strength to not go and just sleep for another hour.

I guess some of you can relate to that.

Thinking about all the stuff I need to do is overwhelming and I don’t know where to start.

And then there is language learning: my Italian books on the shelf and my notebook which waits for me to fill it with Italian words and phrases. You set aside this specific day for your target language, planned out your activities and tasks, but still you’re too tired or overwhelmed to actually start.

Well, here’s what to do…


1. Find Small Tasks to Start with

If you are having this particular day and you face such problems quite often as well, then you should find a good strategy to get you out of this state.

One good way to get yourself to study your target language is to find a small task you can start with.

This could be for example:

  1. Learning 5 new vocabs
  2. Watching a short video from your favorite YouTuber about your target language
  3. Doing a lesson on Duolingo. 

It could be anything you think of that seems to be an easy and doable task. If you start with a small task you will probably see yourself doing more activities in your target language.

And always keep in mind: It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you choose as long as you find something that keeps you motivated.


2. Fuel Your Language Learning with Motivational Things

Another good way to get into studying is to find motivational stuff in your target language.

Go and look for motivational quotes on Google or Pinterest, find a motivating video or talk to a native that is encouraging!

You could also try to write one motivational phrase in your target by yourself.

You could think of this as a motivational phrase: Why did I start to learn this language? What do I love about my target language? What kind of aspect do I like to most about learning this particular language?

Sometimes you can also find motivational stories on Instagram from your favorite Instagramers. Try to find anything that keeps YOU motivated! Again, it could be anything.


3. Take a Day of Passive Learning

If nothing really helps and you still feel just too overwhelmed by actually studying your target language, go watch an episode of your favorite series, listen to uplifting music or just grab your phone scroll through social media or watch YouTube videos in your target language.

It doesn’t matter that you didn’t sit down and learn 100 words, wrote 3 pages of text or did a chapter of your textbook.

What matters is that you keep going even if you have bad day. Passive learning is still a good way the still stay on track with your language learning habit. You’ll still learn something because you’ll recognize what kind of word/phrases you already know and this can give you new motivation.

And One Final Word…

What I should point out as well even after mentioning all the above: Don’t stress yourself!

If you really can’t get yourself motivated to even do passive learning and you feel just too overwhelmed, then don’t do it. Take a break!

You shouldn’t push yourself too hard or otherwise you may develop a kind of bad relationship with your target language.

Take a day of, treat yourself, do something else and get back to your language learning on another day. Always keep in mind that taking breaks is OK. It’s totally fine to skip language learning on such day as long as you don’t quit! You learn languages for yourself and no one else, so be easy on yourself.

There is no reason in feeling bad about this situation, just make the best out of it and take care of yourself.


Chrissa is a Greek polyglot who is living in Germany and obsessed with languages.  She is learning a lot of languages while getting her Master’s degree in Computational Linguistics, so she knows exactly how it is when you need to cope with overwhelming feelings and stress.  She is the starter and coordinator of the project “The Real Polyglot” and is present on Instagram, Twitter (@therealpolyglot), and Tumblr.


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