September 13


EP3: Priorities


Hi, I’m Kristian, and welcome to the Learners of English Podcast, episode number 3. I’m Dutch, I’m 43 years old and I live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I teach English, mostly to adults, but also to teenagers.

Remember how I spoke in the first episodes about the 4 Ps? Do you remember them? The 4 Ps are Priorities, Practice, Patience and Progress.

In this episode I want to talk about the first of the four Ps: Priorities

OK, let’s start. First of all, I divide everyone who listens to this podcast into 3 different groups: 

  1. You don’t want to improve your English and you’re happy
  2. You want to improve your English and you’re happy with your progress
  3. You want to improve your English and you’re not happy with your progress

Alright, let’s talk about the first group: You don’t want to improve your English.

That is perfectly fine. I’m happy for you, and you won’t find any blog article on my site that says something like: 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn English

Because I only believe that you should learn English if it makes you happy. If you are perfectly happy without learning English, that’s great. 

Next is the second group: You want to improve your English and you’re happy with your progress.

Excellent, I love it! Again, I want people to be happy with their English. If your improving and you’re happy with your progress, no matter if it’s slow or fast, if you’re happy, I’m happy.

Let’s go to the third group: You want to improve your English and you’re not happy with your progress

That’s where it gets interesting.

I have much experience with this particular group in my lessons. There’s a certain number of people who tell me that: “I’ve been learning for so many years, I can’t do it because I don’t have time to practice at home.”

I’m listening to these people and I think: “You need to set your priorities.”

What do I mean by that?

Well, you have to make a decision. If you’re not happy with your progress , you have to make a decision. What’s really important to you? What makes you happy? 

We all can improve our English. I truly believe that. But you have to make a decision. 

You have to tell yourself: Come hell or high water, I’m going to make progress. No excuses. And no complaining. Complaining doesn’t help. It gets you down. Complaining is of no use if you want to make progress.

How do I know that this mentality works? I’m using it to improve my English and to learn Czech.

I will give you a clear example. This year I started to learn Czech. From the ground up. A1 starter level.

I’m the first to admit it wasn’t always a smooth journey. I struggled to get my rhythm. I struggled to find a routine. I struggled to create a habit.

But I did do one thing: I told myself, no matter what happens, I need to improve my Czech. So I didn’t give up and I made it a priority in my daily life. 

To get into more detail: I found out pretty quickly that I didn’t have time to do everything. 

First of all, I need to teach. I need to exercise, I need to improve my English, and then I also need to improve my Czech. 

So at one point I made a decision: I told myself that I can’t do everything when I’m learning Czech, so I need to focus on certain things. And I decided to focus on reading and listening.

The result is right now, in September 2020, nine months after I started, that my vocabulary and my pronunciation have definitely improved. My speaking, on the other hand, is shit. 

And I know that. But it’s a choice. It’s a choice I made. I only have so much time.

For next year I already know that I’m going to make speaking a priority. It’s a choice.  

So that’s how I know that “setting priorities” are a vital ingredient if you want to enjoy the taste of progress. 

There’s one more thing: We all know the relation between priorities and the excuse “I don’t have time.” I mean, everyone has has time, but maybe learning English is just not the most important priority in your life. 

And that’s OK. It’s not a problem. That’s why I’m really focused on long-term progress.

Think of my podcast as the opposite of the “learn a language in three months” apps and courses. Now, I have nothing against these apps and courses, but I know they don’t work for everyone. 

I know they don’t work for me. I prefer to talk about long-term progress. The kind of progress you can achieve in three, five or even ten years from now. I know that works for me and I know it can also work for a lot of you out there (who are now not happy with their progress in English).

That is also related to another “P” and that’s the “P” of Patience, but I’m gonna talk about that in another episode. 

For now I just want to make it clear that setting priorities is a vital ingredient if you want to make progress in English.  

OK, that’s it. I hope it’s clear now in which direction I’m taking this podcast. It’s still early days. This is the third episode and I’m just warming up. I’ve got so many thing to share with you, but of course I need to prepare it, so that it all makes sense. 

If you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email @ or leave a comment on my blog.

All right, that’s it for now. Take care of yourself, and each other, and don’t forget to prioritize.

I’ll catch you in the next episode!

About the author 


Kristian is a Dutch guy who teaches English online. He relaxes with audiobooks, music and podcasts. Kristian still has a lot to learn, but he's happy to share what he has learnt along the way.

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