Now that you've read up on exactly how much time you'll need to learn Greek, the next question is, how do I make time to learn Greek? Where can I get 30 minutes to spend on a lesson? Truth is, you wouldn't be the first to ask this question. Here are some practical tips for carving the necessary time out of your day.
Use your most productive time to learn Greek
When are you mentally at your peak? Knowing this is a great help because you can then plan to use your most productive mental time for what is most challenging. For most people, their mental best is sometime in the morning. As we sleep, we process events from the day before clearing our mind for the next day. This doesn’t mean that we're at our mental peak 30 seconds after waking, as almost everyone will testify.
Not everybody is at their best in the morning. There are some who are at their best later in their day. The key point is to use your most productive times to learn Greek. It will increase your ability to retain what you learn and reduce memory decay, meaning you'll learn Greek more efficiently. In other words you'll need less time to learn Greek!
Plan your time beforehand
Once you know the best time for you to use, plan how you'll use that time the day before. Know what time you'll start, what you'll do in that time, for how long (approximately) and in what order. Then use the time according to your plan. If you find you didn't give yourself enough time for certain things within that time, change the times or tasks.
Another key aspect of planning before hand is to ensure that when you start that time you're at your best and ready to go. That means anticipating distractions (phone calls, kids coming in, meetings, social media, etc) and determining what you'll do beforehand to eliminate or minimize these. If you're working on Greek early in the morning, you'll want to go through a routine each day to ensure that by the time you get to Greek, you're not groggy. Some things people have found helpful include having a glass of water, exercising, brushing your teeth as soon as you wake up.
Use downtime effectively
Not all the time you'll be working on Greek is going to be in one segment of the day. If you do this, you'll forget tomorrow what you learn today. And this means revisiting the same ground over and over.
Instead, make Greek part of your lifestyle by spreading your time throughout the day. Technology is a huge help here. Use the short breaks during the day to work on your Greek rather than go on social media. Here are some ideas:
- Use a flashcards app on your mobile phone so you have all your vocabulary with you wherever you are
- Create flashcards to quiz yourself on paradigms you are learning
- Have blank paper or a loose leaf notebook with you so that you can write out paradigms (writing is a better alternative to looking at flashcards for paradigms)
- Purchase an app like ParseGreek to practice your parsing of new concepts
- Take your worksheets with you and try translating something in your lunch and other work breaks
By breaking Greek out of a single silo of time, you'll give your brain various opportunities to create the necessary neural learning connections in different contexts helping your overall learning of the language. The result is that you'll learn much faster, and you'll need less time to learn Greek
Integrate Greek into your daily devotional time
Many Christians spend some time each day reading the word of God. If you've got any proficiency in Greek and you do a daily devotional time, combine the two. This means that rather than spending 30 minutes in your devotional time and then another 30 minutes on Greek, you can use the same 30 minutes for both.
It doesn't matter that your Greek is slow. The slow speed actually can help you think through the text more carefully. Of course, if you're trying to read the Greek New Testament in a year or six months, it might take a while to get to that proficiency level. But if you're not reading it slowly now, you'll probably never get to that proficiency level later. Reading takes practice – even in English! So use your devotional as a time to learn Greek as well as refresh your soul. You'll find that it is far more beneficial than just reading your English Bible.
If you combine your devotional time with your Greek, you can reduce the time you need to spend on Greek significantly. The need to find an additional 40 minutes a day becomes a need to find just a few minutes throughout the day. This time can come from some of the other places I mentioned above. The benefits of reading Greek are worth the effort.