I’m not counting the days now that I’m in Phase 3, but take a look at this:
This is the really great thing about Anki. The backbone of my studying really doesn’t even feel like studying. It’s weird, but it’s true. I get up in the morning. I review my Kanji cards, which probably takes fifteen minutes. I review my vocabulary and study new vocabulary, which probably brings my total time up to around an hour or so, depending on how readily the new cards stick. But it feels easy. I just fire up Anki every day and the cards move from unseen to mature on a regular basis.
Now, just memorizing words is necessary, but it isn’t enough, so I have to do more. But the rest doesn’t actually take extra time because it is built into my day. I listen to Japanesepod101 audio lessons in the car or while doing some task like washing the dishes that requires my hands but not much of my attention, so that doesn’t take any additional time. If I happen to have some free time, I might read some grammar, breakdown some sentences or, maybe most importantly, talk to my dog.
My dog does not speak or understand Japanese so far as I can tell, but she doesn’t seem to mind me speaking Japanese to her, so I do. Mind you, I also speak Japanese to myself. Using the vocabulary words is what really helps them stick. But, again, those things don’t take any extra time because I can do that while I am doing something else.
I’m not trying to sell you on the fact that I am learning Japanese with no effort and no expenditure of time, because that’s ridiculous. Of course it takes effort and of course it takes time, but the trick is that, if you have a good study plan, that minimized the effort and time and maximizes the return on your effort and time. Learning a language will always be work, but there are ways to make sure that you are working efficiently, and that’s what I’m trying to do.