Can I Take a Break?

I always stress consistent daily effort.

On the other hand, sometimes your brain needs a break.

How do you find that balance?

I wish I knew the answer to that question, but it’s probably different for everyone.

The reason for consistent daily study is obvious.  Human beings are creatures of habit and, if you can make studying Japanese (or whatever) a habit, then it becomes almost automatic to do it, and that’s a good thing.  Without that habit, you take a day off and it turns into two and then three, and then a week goes by and then two and, all of a sudden, you find that you have to start over.  This happens to people.

On the other hand, the longer you study, the less likely this is to happen.  In the early days, it’s a lot like work, and you may have to make yourself do it sometimes.  That’s when time off is the most problematic and is the most likely to turn into too much time off.

Now, I’ve been studying Japanese for over a year.  It has become a habit.  I do, every once in a while, take a day off.  (*gasp*).  Yep.  Mind you, it isn’t even once a month, but I do it from time to time.  By the next day, though, I’m eager to get back to it, and the idea of taking two days in a row off just seems ridiculous.

How long does it take to get to that point?

I can’t put a time to it.  It may well be different for everybody.  Some studies show that 90 consistent days will create a habit, but applying hard numbers like that to a species as diverse as human beings seems like a risky proposition to me.

Just remember:  you don’t want to be the person who takes too long a rest and, as a result, has to start over because of it.  Decide for yourself how long a rest is okay, but, for most of us, shorter and not too often is probably better.

Japanese is a wonderful, complicated thing.  I’m enjoying studying it, and I enjoy thinking things like “I couldn’t have read that six months ago, but now I can”.

Take breaks often enough to keep it fun but not so often that it slows you down. How about that?



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