Ever get into a studying groove, where the hours fly by, the energy is flowing, and you forget whatever amount of time you originally planned on studying for? These happen often in the early beginner stages. They are great. Who isn’t thrilled by a fountain of motivation pouring out?
…Until the following study session.
These power sessions usually end in the same way. You get tired. You were excited and loved every moment of it, but no matter how intense it was, you drain yourself. After all, if you didn’t, you’d still be studying.
What happens the next time you want to start a new study session? You think to that exhaustion. Not to the amazing time that led up to that, but just that end feeling of being completely wiped out. No one wants to start a new study session thinking about being drained, especially when there is a good chance that you are going into that new session already tired.
Insert Cliffhanger Addiction
The television industry provides a valuable lesson to continuing the enjoyment of something, and looking forward to the next installment. You all know how cliffhangers work. Whether you like them (you do) or hate them (you only think you do), they work off a powerful concept.
End on a high note, an interesting moment, a mystery, or something that leaves you wanting more.
Sometimes a cliffhanger is done so well, even if the entire episode was fairly lackluster, those final moments suddenly spur on the adrenaline within you. When you end an episode on this feeling of high, you want to continue. But you can’t. The next time you think about watching that show, the last thing you remember is that feeling of high.
End your Japanese study sessions in the same way
A Japanese study session has its highs and lows. It’s highs are where you learn new interesting things about the way Japanese works, make an interesting revelation, have a shock or “aha” moment, or just really want to know what goes next.
Your goal is to end a study session on one of these moments.
Sounds simple, right? Except when you are in a high moment, you have the urge to continue, usually until you reach a low or get tired. So you have to make yourself stop. Feel this great ending moment, and stop. Continue later or the next day. When that later comes, which it will, it will be an amazing and smooth start.
I know what you are thinking.
Shouldn’t you study as much as you can when you have the energy?
It’s not about studying as much as you can with your energy, but studying as much as you can with your energy in a way that you can end before you become exhausted.
Let’s say your current study energy level could take you 3 hours, where you’d end up being completely spent. Find the moment where you will start taking a drastic dive down depleting your energy levels. Maybe at 2.5 hours you feel that final high, and you know where you are heading. That last 30 minutes where you would be winding down aren’t worth you not looking forward to studying again or starting at minimal energy levels (resulting in a shorter next study session)
Mastering Your Study Sessions
It takes a little work to get a grasp of your studying energy levels. You may underestimate or overestimate how much you have left in you. But once you start to feel that final high, you’ll be setting yourself up for the best possible long term gains possible.
A lot of this also depends on where you are in your studying and how much motivation is currently supporting you. At a good phase, you can end countless study sessions on the brink of passing out, and still be infused to go all out the next study session without hesitation. At a bad phase, you are teetering on not even wanting to think about Japanese, and being left tired when you are already tired leaves whatever motivation you would’ve been able to summon left stuck in the ground. This method reaps the greatest benefits towards the latter.
Find your high points. Find your balance. And make the studying flow seamlessly, with passion, day to day.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.