How do you all manage your study time?

I’ve read through plenty of posts and articles that always mention you should study x amount of hours per day if you want to really learn the language and feel like you’re moving forward. So I’ve been wondering: do you set aside a set amount of hours to study per day (in one session) or do you break apart those hours of study into smaller sessions throughout the day? Would the latter be just as effective? I find that sometimes it’s more manageable with every day life to break up my studying. I know that overall, consistency is the key, but I’m curious how others manage their time and if it’s actually more of a hinderance or not to break up the studying.


Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s say aside from WK, you also put about one hour into your grammar studies every day, and you decide to break it up into two 30 minute sessions. It’ll allow you to drill new concepts much more easily, because you’ll have to recall them twice a day. With just one 60 minute session a day, you might end up spending a lot of time relearning what you learnt yesterday.

On the other hand, two 30 minute sessions means you have to get into it twice, with not a lot of actual study time as a pay off. The session ends before you get to make a lot of significant progress. One longer session gives you more “quality study time”. Instead of stopping after 30 minutes, you can just keep doing what you’re doing without losing any time.

Having finished all four of the Minna no Nihongo textbooks, I got to go through many of those phases myself, experimenting a lot to find out which approach was ideal for me. And that turned out to be having one big study session, with one or two short reviewing sessions. Sticking with the one-hour-a-day-example, I might have a 50 minute study session, and then later a quick 10 minute reviewing session. And then the next morning I might even take another look.

If you think about it, this gives you the best of both worlds: you have a longer study session that allows you to really make progress, but you also actively force yourself to recall everything you’ve learnt several times a day.

Still I’d recommend you to just experiment a little bit yourself and find out what works best for you. Most important thing is whatever you decide to do, it’s something that allows you to stay consistent.


Everyone’s study schedule and strategies are different since everyone has different circumstances, so I’ll just share what I’ve settled into.

In my case I can’t really guarantee that I’ll have X number of free hours every day to study something (I work a full time job where I wake up before dawn and don’t get home until like 4:30pm), so instead I just try to study enough every day to where I feel like I’ve learned something new. I consistently do around 20 new lessons on Wanikani every day and stay on top of reviews (WK overall doesn’t take a huge chunk of time, but that’s mainly because I limit lessons and can do reviews quickly), and I also try to watch a Cure Dolly grammar video every day (which vary in length from about 7-20 minutes), so I just count a video as my day’s grammar studies. I also take rather detailed notes for each video, which in itself can take a little while, around 20-30 minutes at minimum. So I guess in the end I put upwards of an hour towards grammar each day.

It’s also worth noting that I’m only doing studies relevant to reading Japanese, not speaking, listening, or writing, which cuts down on my study time significantly since I’m not having to touch as many resources. I’m focusing on grammar studies, kanji & written vocabulary, and reading practice (I tend to just try and fit in little bits of reading practice wherever I can, though I recently joined an Absolute Beginner’s Book Club that’s starting tomorrow.)

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Thank you for your response!
I suppose it somewhat depends on what resources you’re using to study. When it comes to textbooks, I want to sit down and have that “quality study time” you mentioned and give myself time to really understand the concepts. Wanikani and other things I have used as more supplemental studying (like listening to short videos) are easier to break up into bite-size sessions for me.

During your big study sessions, did you focus mostly on textbook material? Or did you study from more than one resource at a time? Personally, I like to “warm-up” with WK reviews/lessons then move onto a textbooks or other material, but then I find myself not always having time to do both in one go.


It’s very insightful to hear other people’s personal experiences, even if they vary greatly on circumstances. It provides some ideas on things I might be able to do on days where it’s hard to fit in full sessions for studying. So I appreciate you sharing what you’ve had to do to make it work.

I just try to study enough every day to where I feel like I’ve learned something new.

This part especially seems like a great mentality to follow to stay motivated.

I don’t focus so much on “I need to study at X time of day” or “I need to study X number of hours per day”. Those never seemed to pan out.

Instead, I did a lot of trial-and-error, and the thing that seems to work best for me is to create little study blurbs of X number of minutes, broken down by category. I use an app called “Multitimer” on Android that gives me a color-coded timer for many different things.

So if I have a block of at least 15 or 30 minutes, I will start the timer and pop in one of those categories. I am NOT the type that is like, “Oh, I have 3.2 minutes of free time now, I can use that to study!” If I don’t have a block of at least 15 minutes to really lose myself in study, I don’t bother, as it won’t be a productive session for me.


I didn’t really like the idea of juggling with heaps of resources that all sort of serve the same purpose. I had Wanikani for kanji and Minna no Nihongo for grammar and that’s all I needed to start out. There was no need for me to learn grammar from another source if Minna no Nihongo had yet stuff to teach, no need to learn the same kanji with another resource if WK is doing fine. Later on, after reaching a high enough level I would branch out into immersion with native material, but during my actual study sessions, trying to suck up everything MnN had to teach was the only goal I focused on.

If I recall correctly, I used to do WK before studying as well, although not with the intent of “warming up”, though. If you’re struggling with time management, how about picking and fixating your study time? For instance, you study every day from 6PM to 7PM. If you’re doing your WK reviews and you can’t quite finish them off until 6PM, leave them and resume at 7PM. This allows you to prioritize the habit instead, which is much more beneficial than getting the review count to 0 at 6PM instead of 7PM.

I think however works for you is fine, personally. I’m someone who prefers longish sessions, feeling like after a little while I sort of wake up the Japanese portion of my brain more, so I tend to grab an hour or two chunk to do something. That said, it mostly caps around there, because I’ve definitely learned how to tell when my mental ability is starting to diminish and give myself a break. That’s task dependent, too. I do Wanikani and Anki almost together but I do take a little refresher in between since at the tail end of either I start to feel it, too. I think you can get an intuitive feel for what you like over time.

This is pretty much the exact same reason I generally can’t go much longer than an hour on a study session. Even if it’s a topic I genuinely enjoy, after long enough I simply get fatigued.

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I don’t do a set amount of hours each day, but I have a list of set tasks that I do, most of which are very consistent in terms of the amount of time they take (especially SRS).

I do split up WK into at least three sessions each day, generally more (because it’s easier for me to do 20 reviews in one session than 50). But often with KaniWani, the most I manage is two sessions, and with Anki, I just do all of my reviews at once. All of that is what I consider generally basic daily maintenance, so I get that done every day regardless of what else I have going on in my life.

With my textbook, I have my own personal deadline that I set, where I try to complete at least one lesson per WK level. At this point, I have a pretty good idea of how much time each lesson will take me, and how much time I can expect to spend on doing the exercises and such. I chunk it out based on type of activity more than time: like I’ll work on a specific workbook or set of exercises until I complete them. Usually I expect to spend at least an hour of study time on it, but this varies depending on the day, and depending on what task I’m working on.

With reading/listening, this is where I’m most flexible. I’ve been signing up for the read every day and listen every day challenges, and for those, I just try to get something read/listened to each day. Some days that might be only a paragraph or two of text, or only a few minutes of listening. If I’m working toward a translation deadline, I’ll generally put a lot more time into reading than normal, but otherwise, I’ll just do as much as I have energy for that day, so if more is going on in my life, that generally translates into less time spent on reading.

I guess I can definitely say that I break apart the study hours into smaller sessions throughout the day. But I don’t really like to stop specific tasks in the middle of doing them. I’ll have one reading session, one textbook study session, one Anki session, etc. The only exception is WK and KW, which have a specific SRS designed around doing multiple sessions a day, so I try my best to use the tools as intended.

My best advice is to form consistent habits specific to each tool that you’re using. If you’re consistent with your tools, you’ll spend a consistent amount of time doing them each day. You might find that you prefer doing SRS reviews in the morning and then reading at night, or that you’d rather get it all done at once.

I also recommend adding new tools to your routine slowly. Wait for your habit to settle with one thing before adding another. It’s easier to cultivate a daily habit of reading, for example, if you already have an established routine with WK that you just do without thinking about it.

I don’t really have a specific measure of hours I put into studying each day, but I do study very consistently for hours each day because I have at least six different study tasks that I do each day, and all of that time adds up, so I plan my life around those tasks knowing about how much I should expect to put into them. But each of those tasks sort of happens on its own schedule, so to speak, which gives me some flexibility, and which lets me see continuous progress in multiple areas at once.


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