3 Day Projects (3DP)


source: pixabay.com (wagrati_photo)

Céad míle fáilte! (Irish: A hundred thousand welcomes!)

This post marks the beginning of a new approach: 3 Day Projects.

My personality being what it is, I quickly lose interest in trudging toward some lofty destination over the distant horizon. After a few days, I become restless and bored, increasingly tempted by shortcuts and vendors along the road. Inevitably, I end up finding new adventure elsewhere, hot on the trail of a few dozen pet procrastinations.

Another issue is that it’s almost impossible to predict where I’ll be, or what state of health I’ll be in, several weeks, months, or years from now. Life is simply littered with bumps and potholes. And as many of my previous projects turned out to be long or overambitious, it only took one serious health setback, domestic crisis, or demanding deadline to break the chain of past successes and watch good intentions fall apart.

I believe the solution lies in how I choose and define projects. Long and overambitious projects make easy targets for life’s bumps in the road, and the cost to each project in terms of momentum and motivation adds up. Essentially, the longer the project goes on, the more likely it will get derailed or overturned at several points. At least for me.

If I break language learning down into much shorter achievable wins, I think I’ll make greater progress in the long-term; mini-projects that are just long and challenging enough to break free of the shadows of past ambitions, but short and easy enough to remain highly resilient and low risk over the test of time. With enough of these under my belt, I hope to leave the days of wishful horizons behind me.

Ke aloha,

10. Sign me up, baby (ase).

Study Baby Sign Language in preparation for my son learning it next year while at daycare: 3 hours.

With free time at a premium this week, I opted for the easiest project that came to mind. And this was a good choice on the whole, as learning several hundred ASL-based Baby Signs while up to my eyes in baby diapers and toddler tantrums turned out to be a relative crawl in the park.

Dive into Buntús Cainte and breathe life back into my moribund Irish: 8 hours.

Having completed almost half of the first textbook, I’m finally “back on the capall (horse)” after all these years… I absolutely love the melodious lilt of the Irish language, and the cheeky retro illustrations used throughout this course are great craic (fun)!

Motivating moments: Filipino

I used Filipino to buy a couple of items in a local convenience store this morning. The lady was happy to hear her native language for a change, and in the course of our short conversation, asked me if I’d lived in the Philippines. When I said I’d never been but would like to visit one day, a look of worry spread across her face. Then she softened to a big beaming smile again, and with a knowing sparkle in her eye, declared: “Ahhh…your wife must be from the Philippines…that’s it!”

Motivating moments: Romanian

While my family and I were out walking one evening last week, we met a couple with 2 children selling slingshot helicopters with LEDs by the side of the beach. Hearing the family were from Romania, I tried out a few of the phrases I learned during 3DP6 (“Golden phrases”) and the whole family lit up. And when I offered to pay, they handed one to my daughter and said it was on the house. What a lovely surprise! 🙂

Try out a new online grammar course (Tagalog Lite, currently in beta) and provide user feedback: 9 hours.

I’ve made my way through just over a third of the course so far, leaving corrections and suggestions in my wake as I go. Each chapter and appendix unlocks new mysteries, and I feel my grasp of the language’s grammar is slowly but surely starting to fall into place.

7. My tailor is rich (fr).

Kick-start my French back into action with the help of Assimil’s New (old) French with Ease: 11 hours.

Ignoring supplementary exercises, I pushed through more than half of this textbook and picked up a few hundred phrases for productive review along the way. My wife says it took her close to forever to finish this course, so I guess 63 lessons is a respectable result for 3 days.

Look up 5 useful expressions across 25 different languages: 5 hours.

I really enjoyed indulging my inner language nerd in this project, and have already used some of the phrases I learned across several new languages in the wild. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier?!