Busy People: What's Your Study Schedule Like?

So I know there have been plenty of other posts like this, but I’m specifically curious about what Japanese self-study schedules might look like for people whose days are usually filled up with other commitments.

For example, if you are a full time student who works at least one job (I have a friend who works three, I think), how do you fit Japanese study into that? If you’re a full time parent whose kids keep you busy all the time, how do you make it work? What if you’re a parent AND you have a full time job? Or a parent who is a full time student?

Basically, if you’re the type of person whose schedule would make most people shake their heads and say, “I don’t know how you’re managing this,” how do you fit Japanese study in on top of that?

(When I say Japanese study I don’t just mean WaniKani…I’m talking about extra grammar, speaking, writing, and vocab stuff outside of this site.)

Since I am calling out to the busiest people on this site, I salute anyone who takes the time to reply to this post. :slight_smile: Thanks!


I have a full-time field job and a kid. Take a short session in the morning and a loong one around midnight. Trying to take smaller sessions in between but my job do not let me to do so.
in addition, I listen to podcasts on car and sketch kanji whenever I find time.


10 hour workdays, 4 days a week: Clear the review log before I leave for work, clear review log at lunch, clear once I get home from work.

Days off: Keep the review log clear every hour, two study sessions where I write out the Kanji/Vocab I’m learning that level or are on the critical list.


Wake up, study (not Japanese), sleep.
My progress on Japanese is slow for some reason


@jprspereira has a good method to deal with doing reviews while also having a life.

(Especially point 4 has an example schedule)

But you don’t have to do it as fast as possible. You are allowed to take your time.

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I have a full-time job and pursuing a master’s (only one class per semester, but that’s enough, trust me :sweat_smile: ). Also have voice lessons once a week and usually add in an aerials’ class on top of my usual exercise routine. I usually do my reviews in fits and starts during my workday. Fitting BunPro into this has actually helped my grammar keep up with my literacy, since it’s easier to do set reviews instead of sitting down for an extended grammar session with a textbook.

I fit some reading (and reviews) in during class (depending on the class) using the TangoRisto app on my phone. And with the latest book club book, I’ve gotten literate enough to read through the week’s chapters pretty quickly. I don’t understand everything, but I’m able to get the gist and fill in missing details by going through the week’s thread (I feel a little bad about not contributing much to them, though. Oops. :sweat_smile:).

The thing that suffers the most is listening/speaking practice. I can’t really do that during the workday, and by the time I get home, my brain does not want to grapple with foreign speech after working hard all day. I’m still working on the best way to improve this, but I definitely plan to schedule a tutor through Italki when I graduate this summer.

Interestingly, it’s sometimes harder to get stuff done on the weekends because I don’t have the steady schedule of work to tie things to and don’t have a computer in front of me all day. Plus, I’m usually doing something with somebody or doing homework, neither of which I tend to interrupt with reviews.


I’m a natural procrastinator with a lot of free time, so not sure if I can be of any help, but I’ve found that the things that actually work for me all have 3 things:

  • A goal.
  • A step-by-step plan to achieve x goal.
  • A schedule.

For example, let’s imagine Genki has 300 pages. After some testing, you know you can find time/manage yourself with a speed of 3 pages a day.

You know that 300 pages/3 pages a day = 100 days. So you know exactly where you’ll be in 100 days. You’ll be done with Genki. This allows you to find a path to walk on. Studying without knowing where it will lead you makes you less motivated.

There’s this thing “You have time, you just lack priorities”, right? It might sound extreme but it’s true. There’s always time. If there isn’t, it’s because you have more important stuff to do other than Japanese… and that’s okay. But it’s important to look at our daily routine and be self-aware of what we could do better. If Japanese is a priority over other things, you will be able to find time.

Once you find your time to study whatever you want and you have your plan established, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it :slight_smile:

Let me give a weird example: habits are like drugs. First you start with small doses… until you need to have more and more… until you get addicted.

The trick to lifetime success is defined by what one does everyday. If you’re able to get addicted to your routine, you win. But for that, you can’t take a bigger step than you’re able to. For example, you shouldn’t try going for 20 words/day if you haven’t been doing even 10 or 5/day. Start small. Start with 5 words… then once it feels like nothing, you go up to 10… and this line of thinking should be applied to everything.

Yeah, that’s my advice as a natural procrastinator. Hope it helps :rofl:


I have a full time job (including a lot of interstate travel), and two kids who need to get to and from school and all of their after school and social activities.

  • I do reviews (WK, KW and floflo.moe) while the kids eat breakfast,

  • I listen to NHK radio news on podcast on my 35 minute walk to and from work.

  • I do reviews In my office while I eat lunch.

  • Once a week I meet a Japanese language exchange partner in the food court downstairs during my lunch break and we have a 1 hour “exchange conversation”,

  • One night each week I go to a Japanese language course after work (studying Kanzen Master N2 textbooks)

  • Every night I complete my reviews and lessons as they appear, and watch something in Japanese without subtitles (drama, documentaries or anime on YouTube, Crunchyroll, AnimeLab, PrimeVideo or Netflix etc)

  • On the weekends I do my reviews at the cafe after my gym class and I do my homework from my weekly Japanese class on Sunday evening

  • When I travel I do my reviews and homework in the airline lounge and on the aeroplane.

This is all possible because my husband does his share of the child rearing and household chores, and of course I also make sure that he has time to pursue his hobbies.


I have a full-time job (don’t tell my boss I’m writing this message during office hours) and a lot of extra commitments too, so fitting in self study isn’t easy. That’s why I ended up overwhelmed and reset recently.

The one thing I thin I’ve nailed down is integrating self study in my morning routine. This is the only time of the day when I’m sure I’ll have full control over my schedule nine days out of ten (maybe more). I can dedicate 20 minutes to 1 hour So at least I’ll do reviews (I clear my log), sometimes lessons, and have some self study through Genki or human japanese on top of that if there’s time. I just have to make sure that there are enough mornings when I have time to study outside of wanikani.

Then my day can start. Sometimes I have time to do reviews during the day, but if I don’t have time that’s fine because I know I took the time in the morning. Also I found integrating japanese self study in my mroning routine is helping me with my “let’s get stuff done” attitude for the rest of the day. Last year I cut out this tudy time in the morning because I was too busy, but it had a negative impact: while it did help clear out a bit of time in my schedule, I think it also made me more stressed out and I was not as positive throughout the day (other factors were involved too, of course).

In the evening I’ll occasionally dedicate some time to reading (I usually read in the evening, so adding a few pages of japanese isn’t extra complex schedule wise).
I’ll also most likely do reviews just before going to sleep, but sometimes i’m too tired and that’s fine.

That sounds like a challenge. :stuck_out_tongue:


My workplace (corporate) feels like a mini prison.
No youtube or mp3 players allowed, no browsing outside breaks.

I only managed to “cheat” with two small things.

  • bringing a mouse pad with all hiragana characters. Cause there was no pad at my office
  • bringing daily japanese snacks to eat thru the day outside breaks (i use bokksu sub).
    I can (try) and read whats written on the packages (and plan to keep them anyway).

I work 9am-5:30pm, I also host a podcast, and do study (not Japanese) to be better at my job.

I usually fit in memrise for grammar and vocab during my cardio session after I lift weights or swim, so that’s usually an hour or so a day.

Otherwise I try to fit in at least 30minutes to an hour with textbook after work.
It can be hard coming home tired from work, but once I get in the ‘study’ mindset, I can go for hours without realising it, which is good. I guess.

In terms of WK, I just kinda fit that whenever I have time to look at my phone. I’ve been trying to stay on top of my reviews lately.

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I work from 2 PM to 11 PM

I clear my reviews first thing in the morning , sometimes at 1PM before working , and do a huge review session from 11PM to midnight

and when I’m overloaded with work I stop WK lessons for a while a just try to do the reviews
last year I had a 6 months break on lessons


I will include myself in the busy crew :sweat_smile:
I work from 10am to 8pm monday to thursday, having a 2 hour break for lunch.
Friday I’ll have a meeting from 8am to 10am and for the most part I’ll be done with work.
So, I wake up at 7, read for about an hour with breakfast. After the cooffee has sink in, I’ll do my Anki/WK review for about an hour and a bit more.

Lunch break If possible I’ll finish whatever vocab / kanji review I have left and try to do any new lesson.

Nightime usually whats left are the audio cards I do (sentence mining), which go over very quickly, in like half an hour, and then I try to watch a show, usually a couple of episodes without subs.

Friday I’ll catch up with anything that has been left undone during the week and try to fit a listening lesson ( やさしい日本語の聴解トレーニング). Most of the social activities will be during the weekend ,also inline skating I’m doing it almost exclusevily weekends lately.

Some weeks something will be added to the weekly schedule and then by all means I try compensate for it during weekend, as to start fresh next week.


I work thirty hours a week and have a toddler who isn’t great at playing by himself. I have an hour lunch break, but there are a bunch of other things that that’s the only time I can do them, and I have a tiny bit of time after bedtime. Available time on weekends can vary a lot.

Free lunch/evening/weekend time:

  • WaniKani. I do an average of three lessons per day.
  • Add new anki cards. Usually less than ten per week, plus (mostly automatic) production cards for burned WaniKani kanji.
  • The while reading transcript part of my shadowing routine
  • Occasionally, timed JLPT practice

When my toddler gives me tiny moments:

  • Anki reviews on my phone. I usually have 60-70 cards due per day because my deck is older than my child.
  • HelloTalk
  • Um, browsing the forum?

When my toddler gives me slightly larger moments:

  • Reading
  • Textbooks
  • Untimed JLPT practice stuff

(All these things are where my anki cards come from)

While doing housework:

  • Shadowing
  • Listening

Occasionally during work when it doesn’t interfere:

  • Listening to stuff I have listened to before

The only time I get out of the house by myself:

  • One hour a week conversation class that has almost no homework

(I watch the toddler by myself a different evening of the week in exchange)

I only gave quantities for a couple of these things. The other things are small irregular amounts.


This is great topic which I was thinking about for awhile.

Married with a kid and I work from 7:00 am to 17:00 about 50 hours weekly , during my break I try to finish wanikani review or lesson and try to read something in Japanese.

Also from my home to my work the distance about 20 minutes so I spend the time listening to japanese podcast or Japanesepod101 or some songs.

Last when I go home I only do Wankani and try to watch Japanese films or drama if possible.

I’m really trying to start grammar with Genki book but no time I barely time have to study.

Weekends for the family :grinning:

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