It’s incredibly easy to constantly think “I’ll do this later” and then not. Then the day ends and you haven’t studied. Then the week, then, if you’re not careful, the month! It’s incredibly easy to do.
Sometimes you don’t even realize you’ve not studied in over a week until it’s too late.
Even I struggle to be more productive with Japanese, but you’ve got to find a system that works for you. This could just be a single app and/or a combination of productivity techniques.
Here are a few suggestions that you can implement to become more productive when studying Japanese.
Give Yourself Goals
The key to goal keeping is to:
- Give yourself short-term goals (i.e a week/month).
- Break those goals up into daily/weekly goals.
- Give yourself reasonable goals you can easily achieve.
I’m going to repeat myself because it’s super important: Give yourself reasonable goals you can very easily achieve.
This could be (for example):
- Today I’ll study kanji for 10 minutes using a kanji app.
- I’ll study 10-15 words on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Kanji on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.
- I’ll read Japanese book/manga for 10 minutes before I sleep.
Just one thing, or a combination of things like the above, is more than enough. Short, simple goals that don’t take more than 15-30 minutes a day. If you do more than that during a day then great!
It doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday either, you can mix things up to keep it interesting.
Make sure you include fun things like watching anime without subs, reading Japanese manga and novels!
Keep Track of Daily/Weekly Goals with Apps
Both of these are great free apps for mobile and computer that help you keep track of daily and weekly tasks. You can enter tasks and check them off easily.
Give yourself goals and check them off!
Track Goals and Progress – Blog / Diary
One thing you could do (if you’re so inclined) is keep a blog or diary. This could be just a monthly or weekly record of your goals and progress.
It’s a great way to track your progress long-term and can be a huge motivator. They’re good for tracking your progress over time and you can see how much you’ve worked and how far you’ve come.
Blogs and diaries can also be a good way to make note of daily and weekly goals which you then cross off.
Some Blog/Diary Suggestions
Keeping a Diary in Japanese – This post goes over different types of diaries and how you can use them in different ways.
Track Daily Study Time
This is probably the BEST advice for keeping productive. Use an app that tracks your study time.
Time Tracker Apps
aTimeLogger – Create your own custom Track time for projects
I’ve used toggl for over a year now for translation work and can say that tracking your time works. It’s strange how it keeps me on track. I’ll look at the timer and decided I’ll do just 10 more minutes. I keeps me less distracted by social media (which can be a HUGE drain on productivity).
toggl – I use this more for big projects rather than for studying Japanese.
I also started using aTimeLogger a week ago specifically for Japanese and it’s been great so far! It’s been really helpful to see how much I study during the day. It also pushes me to just 5 more minutes, just 5 more minutes. And those few extra minutes build up. Which I can see in a pie chart that breaks down study time on each task.
Share Your Progress with Others
Sometimes you just need someone to keep you accountable. Sometimes that person is yourself.
I find that there are times when sharing my progress or what I’ve been studying on social media helps keep me motivated.
It’s another way to track progress.
Social media is also great for asking questions if there’s something you don’t understand. There’s always someone willing to help.
An Example – Luna’s Language Learning Blog
Luna is an avid user of Japanese Talk Online who shares lots of Japanese resources on Twitter. She also has a blog where she writes down her goals and achievements. – It was her posts that inspired this article.
Luna’s Language Learning Blog is a great example of some of the above productivity tips. She writes about her monthly goals and posts weekly updates of her progress.
She also recently started using eTimeLogger (which led me to using it). I strongly suggest you read her full post for how she uses eTimeLogger
You do You
How you build your productivity is entirely up to you. I hope this post gave you some ideas.
If something gets in the way of you being productive then it’s not helping. But if something helps push you even a little bit then keep going!
Hopefully you won’t end the week having studied nothing like I have.
UPDATE: I’ve been using eTimeLogger and found it’s really boosted my daily and weekly study time! So defiantly try that out!