Waiting For The Right Time To Learn Japanese
The plan to become fluent Japanese is a grand one. You know by now somewhat of what it takes to get there. So it’s a good idea to wait till you have the proper time to attend to it. Wait till your job settles down a bit. Wait till your exams finish, or the semester ends. Wait till you don’t have long errands to run. Wait till your family life is in check. And wait till your life won’t constantly get in the way. This is the perfect way to handle things…
…if you never want to be fluent in Japanese.
If you are waiting for the right time to study Japanese, a time when all of your life and schedule aligns perfectly, you are chasing after magical unicorns trotting over rainbows.
Your life will never align into the perfect time to study Japanese. There will always be something, until the day you die. And studying Japanese after death will yield minimal rewards.
I don’t care how busy you think you are, how bad and incompatible you think your schedule is, if you want to do this, you are doing it now. The waiter loses. It’s an instant sign that you do not want it badly enough. Fluent Japanese isn’t just something you can just “kind of want” and expect to get any results.
I know I sound harsh. But I hear this often, and I need to be harsh.
I’ll start reading more when…
I’ll start watching more when…
I’ll start listening more when…
When nothing. Every “when” you have should be altered to “right now.”
I’m not saying that you should sacrifice everything to study Japanese. But you need to sacrifice something. You need to work with the life you have, its time constraints and obstacles. You can’t wait for things to clear up, as they often never do.
It’s your decision, but just remember that every “wait for the right time” delay is a dangerous blow to any chance at victory.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
As someone with a most terrifying exam-time, i love articles like this. :)
Tough I found a way to keep learning, it is always encouraging to read those once in a while.
If it helps anybody, here is how i survive before and after very busy times:
While having a busy schedule i just set my weekly goals relativly low, and make sure i catch up all reviews in anki. In extreme times maybe just 1 new card a day. Progress is progress, no matter how small.. And when there is time to learn a lot of new stuff, its important to stop soon enough..It is great to learn maybe 40 new cards a day..but the joy fades quickly if the reviews hit a few days later and you are already busy with your life again
Thanks for sharing your experience with the busy times!
As I always say, to quote a wise man from a couple of thousand years ago (Hillel): “If not now, when?”
My best advice for this is: You can always find time for the things you care about.
I think the idea “Do less with more focus” fits well here.
A few tips for time-management:
Basically, be smart with your time; motion/activity (“busyness”) =/= progress/results (“growth”).
It might help to start a “let’s get to business” study ritual. Like:
Pick a cozy spot with good lighting, where you’ll study.
Put the kettle on and get a nice cup of tea going.
Sit down and get to work for 20 minutes. Break to stretch or get some water. 15 more (or whatever).
If you really fall off the horse, maybe pick an arbitrary date to start good habits again — give yourself a few days ahead to plan and prep and be on your way again. This week, you could pick “Winter Solstice” or “Christmas” as an excuse, or simply “Monday”. You could give your quest a cute name, a mantra/motto, and pump yourself up by planning a reward for reaching your first milestone. Or skip the plan and simply flip on a TV show / open a book and start watching/reading and see where it goes.
Oh, and I forgot to add: it might also help to “break” your current routine and build a new one.
For example, if you wake up in the morning and immediately grab your computer, and then time flies away… Maybe make a new rule: you can only touch your computer after you do XYZ (Anki, etc). Or if you get mentally exhausted after ____ o’clock, maybe alter your schedule so you can take care of your priorities before that time. Or if you have trouble focusing in one place, change the location — go outside, go to the library, rearrange your room…