Language Log | Why keeping track of progress is vital

Whatever gets measured gets done. Keeping a language log is an easy way to monitor your Polish progress and stay on track. Whether you opt for a spreadsheet, a journal or a full on calendar, a language log provides you with a visual representation of your Polish studies. That means that you can see how far you’ve come and also notice when you’re not putting in enough effort.

Here are a few tips as to what you could put in your log, why I believe that keeping a log is so important, and how they can help you check that you’re putting in the required effort to learn how to speak Polish.

What you should put in your language log

Being a bit of a nerd, I opted for a spreadsheet. You can see my log here. I only track my speaking time (via conversation exchanges), although you might also want to count the time you spend reading, listening or writing.

Your level in each skill will be proportional to how much time you spend practising it. As my goal is to speak, I spend the majority of my time practising that skill via conversation exchanges. However, if you want to take a more balanced approach, keeping track of how much time you’re spending on each of the four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) will make sure that you don’t lag behind.

[alert-note]TOP TIP – Want to build your vocabulary? You have to read.
One undisputed way of building your vocabulary is reading. There are plenty of Polish books to choose from, but don’t forget that reading online counts too. If you prefer the satisfaction that you can only achieve from thumbing through a paperback, click here to browse a range of Polish literature. You might just find something that you’re interested in:[/alert-note]

In my log, I record the date of the conversation exchange, my partner’s name, the duration and any corrections. I add the corrections to my Anki deck later.

Why keeping a log is so important to progress with your Polish

My language log is the only real way of quantifying my progress aside from my Anki stats. By adding up conversation exchanges durations, I can see how long I’ve spent working on my speaking. Just by seeing how much time you’ve invested, you’re immediately less likely to give up.

You should also track your corrections in your language log. That way, you will also see the type and number of errors that you make changing over time. Every time I look back at the notes in my log and see the things that I used to struggle which are now easy to me, I realise just how far I’ve come.

Are you putting in as much time as you think?

Logs are also a great way of checking that you are putting in the effort that you should be. Although any time that you spend practising your Polish is beneficial, the more you do and the more often you do it, the better. My recommendation is to spend at least 30 minutes a day every day working on your language skills. Why not set a time target for yourself as a SMART goal?

If you realise that you’re not putting in as much time into your Polish as you should be, you could always “go public” by sharing your Polish progress with others. Having a public language log on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog makes you more accountable. Even just telling your friends and family about your intentions means that they can check in on your goals and encourage you along the way.

[alert-warning]TL;DR: Track the time you spend working on your Polish so that you have an easy way of seeing your progress.[/alert-warning]
How much time do you spend listening to, speaking, reading and writing Polish?
[alert-announce]I’m a terrible, lazy learner. Outside of Anki cards, I’d guess that I spend about 5 hours a week listening to Polish, 2 hours a week speaking Polish, and only 30 minutes a week reading and writing in Polish. Needless to say, my level in each skill is reflective of how much time I put into them. How much time do you spend listening to, speaking, reading and writing Polish each week? Let me know in the comments.[/alert-announce]

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