How not to over do it?

I have done WaniKani in the past, but only got to level 5 because I would maybe do too much and burn out. Meaning I would do the lessons and practice, but on the side also do extra grammar, vocabulary, read manga, etc.

Now that I hit lvl 3 again, I am afraid to burn out, but also that I don’t get enough practice.

Does anyone have a good method or system to get in a little of both without burning out too fast? I am just afraid to forget the basic kanji reading, but also overwhelming myself again with too much.



I found limiting myself to 100 in apprentice is good for me. But I also do a lot of reviews on Flaming Durtle while I’m out and about waiting for my partner to do their thing. If I wasn’t doing reviews mobile I would probably go to 50 in apprentice because full-time job and full-time traveling makes it hard to do more. I would say find how many reps you’re willing to do per day. Don’t take more lessons until you’re at that level. Then note how many items are in apprentice at that time and set that as your general bar of how many items you should take on.


I think you’ve already analyzed what went wrong the last time. Don’t do more than you can chew on. Don’t do all lessons at once, but also refrain from doing multiple SRS at the same time. Just settle for one other activity that you feel brings you enjoyment as well.

Immersion is a bit of everything and can be kept simple as well. Grammar is more time consuming but more important to work on depending on where you are with your japanese studies.

For the moment, just do WK and keep track of those apprentice numbers so that you don’t have too many reviews in a day to sap energy from other things you wanna do. Take note of stuff in your life that also takes a lot of energy and adjust as you go, so that learning Japanese fits into all the rest you’ve got going on in your life, the main stuff, and this being a respite from it all, not something that just adds stress/exhaustion on top of things.

And be patient and forgiving if you need more time to learn certain things. :slight_smile:

You can do it!


The Apprentice and Guru count advice can be helpful. But, I found it wasn’t enough to help me keep from burning out. So, I went and found a script that gives me a better look at my future review counts: Wanikani Ultimate Timeline.

I addition, I also did the following:

  1. I don’t do all of my WaniKani lessons when they drop. Instead, I limit to 20 lessons per day maximum. Usually, I only do 10 lessons per day, though.

  2. I do use Anki for vocabulary from my textbook, but treat it the same way I treat WaniKani. No more than 20 new cards a day, and watch my future review pile size.

  3. I spread my grammar lessons so that a chapter takes at least a couple of weeks.

  4. I’ve chosen not to read until I reach Lv 25 in WaniKani. But, I will watch anime sometimes. I don’t (edit: do) watch it for fun, though, rather than active listening, right now. (I’ll do active listening if I feel like it, though.)

Note, this determination of my study plan came after I got burnt out as well. What I did was determine what prevent me from feeling stressed. It might more or less than what you can handle, since we all have different stress limits.

The basic idea is this: Don’t add too much at once. Work out what you can comfortable handle, currently. Then, slowly build over time, expanding on what you’ve been doing, once you’ve consistently made one thing part of your life.


I only do lessons when I can really focus, but I do so many reviews on flaming durtles when I’m out and about. There’s so many moments in my day where I have a few minutes to kill that I would end up scrolling social media, and instead I always first check if I’ve got any pending reviews. I definitely try and do a full batch in the morning and the evening, but on a weekend I usually won’t get to most of my reviews until I go out for the day and I’m sitting on the train, that sort of thing.

If I start to get overwhelmed or I know I have something coming up, I’ll just stop doing lessons completely for extended periods of time. I’m supposed to be going on vacation soon so one month out I stopped doing lessons and I won’t do any unless I manage to knock it down to 50 apprentice or less. (Also if you know for sure you aren’t touching WK for a while don’t be afraid to turn on vacation mode. My accuracy is always kind of shit coming back after vacation mode but at least I can focus on a much smaller number of items while I get back into things, and not feel like I’m battling a mountain).


Woa what? 20 lessons a day? How do you unlock new lessons so fast?

My wanikani limits me to 10 new batch items per lesson and I can get through a full lesson in like 2 weeks. I wish I could go faster as I have the time to do so.

Stuck at level 7 really wishing to grind more as WK really slows it down

Look carefully at how WaniKani counts lessons, and you’ll notice that “one batch item” as you put it, is actually also “one lesson”. That is, one radical is one lesson, or one kanji is one lesson, or one vocab item is one lesson.

So, to put it in your terms: I do no more than 20 “batch items” a day.

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I would say limit yourself to a specific number of lessons a day. I personally only do 10 reviews every weekday and maybe 15 on weekends.

For reviews, I make sure to have two times where I just finish all my reviews. Once in the morning and once at the night.


for me, I had burn out in the past so I didnt want to repeat my Japanese studies all over again.

with WK i waited until lvl 30 to start grammar (bunpro) so then I would have enough vocab so I could focus on grammar points and not trying to translate the sentences to understand the grammar point.

It worked for me, now my focus for this year is to finish Wk (it will be 2,5 years here) and increase my vocab for the 10k words.

My daily max studying WK is 45min + 2 anime episodes with japanese subtitles for immersion.


similar to what @evandcs said - but I’ve been through the burn out (I’ve been here longer than my level suggests due to a hiatus at level 8).

I used to use all the fancy add-ons and things, but that’s all really just noise. All I do now, is ensure I try to do all my Reviews everyday. I keep an eye on my Apprentice and Guru, and try to keep them under 200 and 600 respectively. If those two buckets start shooting up or my average accuracy goes down below 80%, I know I’m teetering towards burnout or being overwhelmed, so I’ll slow down and let the Lessons pile up. That’s fine. I’d rather do Lessons when I have a clear head and don’t feel overwhelmed, and knock out 25 a day easy, versus struggling through any amount when under water.

My keys for success:

  • Keep an eye on how many are in Apprentice and Guru
  • Try to do all my reviews every day, and if a day slips, sleep well and knock them out the next day. Try not to let Reviews stay above 0 day after day after day.
  • WK is a means to an end. Do other things in Japanese, and remember WK is just a tool, not the lifeblood of your journey.

Picture is from WK History


not sure what’s going on here and what limits you’re talking about. If you want to go fast you can. :eyes: 7 day level ups are possible (it’s actually 6 day X hours). Just make sure you plan out when and how you do your lessons to make the most of your day reviewing.

First get the radicals up to guru. Then get the last batch of kanji to guru and you level up (assuming you by then have most of the first batch kanji in guru)

Taking a look at the SRS-system helps here to plan this.


I used to match my learn rate to my burn rate to keep the reviews at a steady-ish level, but the removal of the summary page has made that somewhat more difficult.

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Personally, I’d advise one thing at a time until you KNOW you can handle more.

Maybe only do WK for a few weeks or months, setting a timespan or a specific level goal before you decide to add other things to the mix like grammar and “immersion” (which means different things to different people).

Learning kanji is a big help for any other Japanese language study, so it makes sense to me to emphasize it early, but you might prefer to only study grammar at first, or listening practice first, or whatever.

The important thing, imo, is to create a system, make it a habit, grow confident with it and learn your limits, and only then branch out.


Did you mean lessons rather than reviews?

Only ten reviews per day pretty much guarantees you will struggle to progress.

You really want to make it a habit to get your available reviews down to zero at least once every single day.

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Oh oops, yeah I meant 10 lessons.

You may want to take a look at the thread :durtle_hello: Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route :turtle:, where the whole idea is to take an approach to WaniKani where we avoid burnout by consciously taking our time – in other words, at our own sustainable and comfortable pace – so that we can always maintain the enjoyment of the process of learning Japanese.

I burned out a couple of years ago and when I came back, I had decided I needed to slow myself down. I was glad to find a little thread/group of like-minded folks who had similar thoughts and ideas about how to do so.


Like others have said, what seems to be working for me right now is setting a fixed number of lessons I complete each day (currently 15). Previously I was having issues where when the workload dropped a bit I would complete 30-50 lessons in one day if I had fewer apprentice items at the time - but this caused really large spikes in the reviews further down the line.


So I’m not sure everyone’s advice here is actually relevant to your situation. There’s a burnout that’s extremely common to people who stick it out for a while, where the SRS algorithm hits you with a firehose of reviews faster than you can handle it. But that usually doesn’t start to really hit until the level 15-20 range. That’s not to deny your own experiences. If you were feeling the firehose effect at level 5, then that’s valid.

But what I suspect you’re getting is maybe not burnout, but the natural ebb and flow of interest in a subject. I think most people get this all the time, where they decide they’re going to do something, and keep it up for a week or so, and then get bored and do something else instead. Like personally, I get back issues, and every so often get it into my head that if I start doing planks and squats daily, then it’ll get better. And I keep it up for a week or two, but then fall off as the interest wanes. It’s totally natural.

The question then is how important Japanese learning is to you, compared to all the other possibilities and responsibilities in your life. That’s not a judgment. Learning Japanese is a useful skill for a lot of things, and if you have a sustained interest in Japanese things, then trying to solve your motivation for learning Japanese is a thing to work towards. But if your interests are temporary, if you get into it for a couple weeks and then fall off, then don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s no law that says you have to prioritize learning one specific language.

BTW, all the advice in this thread about pacing yourself is good. I just don’t think that’s what you’re running into right now. If you stick with it, it will absolutely 100% become relevant though.


How fast were you going to burn out that way?

Keep in mind that you can burn out if you go too fast (review avalanche) but I think you can also burn out if you’re going too slow. If you don’t feel like you’re making progress after months of studies it’s easy to lose motivation.

I’ve been going pretty fast with WK but I also feel improvements on a monthly basis when I try to consume real Japanese content, so it really helps to stay motivated. When I encounter an unknown kanji in the wild I look it up on WK, that’s also motivating. “Oh 3 levels more and I’ll know this one! Neat!”


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