How Much Time Does It Take?

So, people are wondering what my schedule is like now that I am in Phase 3 of the Hacking Japanese Supercourse.  (Really, they probably aren’t, but it makes a good intro, don’t you think?)

So, here are the tasks for this week:

-redo one page of the homework from last week (as assigned by my Cafetalk tutor)

-do the 5 pages of “special present” homework (as assigned by my Cafetalk tutor)

-review the kanji (every day)

-review the anki vocabulary (every day)

-review みんなの日本語 vocabulary up through 八課 (chapter 8) using Memrise (and, yes, that should be every day as well)

Then, if time permits:

-do the homework from 八課

-add new vocabulary from the anki deck

Whew!

And, of course:

-spend time with my family

-do my job

-ride my bicycle

-practice some music

And all of the things that made up my normal life before I decided to learn Japanese

Easy, right?

Well, really, it isn’t as bad as it seems. Let’s look at it again.

-redo one page of the homework from last week (as assigned by my Cafetalk tutor)

This is probably only 15 minutes or so of work. I’ve done the page once and got most of it right, so doing it again [not, you’ll notice, NOT simply copying the right answers over and fixing the wrong ones, but actually redoing the whole page without referring to the original – I really do want to learn] won’t take very long.

-do the 5 pages of “special present” homework (as assigned by my Cafetalk tutor)

Now, that’s a different issue. Yeah, that’ll take a while. I have finished one and a half of the five pages, though, so that’s well underway. [I meet with my tutor on Tuesday mornings, so my week lasts until next Tuesday.]

-review the kanji (every day)

This is less than ten minutes a day.  Maybe even less than five.

-review the anki vocabulary (every day)

This can take a little while, maybe even up to twenty minutes or half an hour depending on how many words and sentences have popped up and how well I know them.

-review みんなの日本語 vocabulary up through 八課 (chapter 8) using Memrise

This takes less than ten minutes.  Even though I haven’t started the homework for Chapter 8 yet, I have pretty much learned all the vocabulary.  (Memrise is great.)

So, really, I should be able to get all of this done within an hour a day over the next week. Objectively, an hour a day may seem like a long time, but, learning a language takes time. That’s all there is to it. Of course, this doesn’t have to be one consecutive hour. It can be broken up and spread throughout the day, which makes it much easier to fit in.

The bike riding and the music practice don’t happen every day, and the 八課の宿題 and the new vocabulary from the anki deck are only “if time permits”. I won’t push them, but, if time suddenly opens up, I’ll get a start on them. No worries, no pressure.

The trick is to keep your studying 面白い (interesting) and 楽しい (fun) and (if you’ve read more than few posts here, you know exactly what is coming next) work on it every day (or as close to every day as life permits).  You have to find that balance between consistent effort and wearing yourself down so much that it isn’t fun anymore, and I can’t tell you what that balance is for you.  You’ll have to find it yourself, but realize that it is doable.  Have a plan, follow it, but be flexible for those times when life gets in the way of Japanese.  簡単ですね。

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