Keeping up Japanese while working full-time

Nah, I’m here in Northern Europe, so no one micromanges employees’ time. People abuse it all the time. Like there’s an unwritten rule that people are free to leave a few hours early on Fridays… why? And our lunch break is 30 mins but in most cases we spend at least an hour for lunch. And then go on multiple coffee breaks… And by the time you actually sit down to do some work it’s 4pm -> time to go home :laughing:


This is why I want a 6 hour work week day

freudian slip. don’t mind it


It’s possible it’ll become a new norm someday. 40 hour work week is a relatively new thing. And there are experiments checking reduced work time, like the one with nurses in Sweden on 6-hour work day. And there was a test of a 4-day work week at Microsoft Japan:


I’m keeping a diary of all the Japanese study I do, so answering is quite easy!

I study on average 2 hours a day, 50 minutes in the morning (7.10-8) and the rest after dinner

In a typical morning

  • 25min for WK reviews and lessons
  • 25min reviewing words and grammar

In the evening

  • WK 20 min
  • the rest depends on the day: lesson with a teacher, I write and publish on HelloTalk so that people can correct me, language exchange, prepare for future lessons/homework, or just talk by myself in Japanese like a crazy person. Reading is still hard to do but I sometimes read NHK

I focus on WK reviews on lessons in the morning and after work.
Normally I just watched anime/youtube when I get home, so i replaced that with watching anime/youtube in Jap without subtitles.
It helps alot with reading and listening comprehension
I also like to read a couple chapters of manga right when I get home to switch out of my native language
If i’m too tired to do any of the above after work, I just focus on getting all my reviews and new lessons done. I believe I can get myself back into the flow of Japanese much easier than I could relearn all the Kanji and vocab I have SRS-ing on WK.

I’m feeling the same! I went freelance and started working from home at the end of last year – and assumed I would have WAY more time for Japanese study as I would be in charge of my own time. In reality, I’m struggling much more. Without my commute, I’m not doing the hour I used to do on the train; and as I’m freelance (and times are quite tough at the moment in my industry because of the current pandemic) I feel really guilty if I’m not trying to do work. I also think because I’m so stressed about work stuff that I’m finding it really difficult to concentrate on anything… I haven’t picked up a Japanese book for months now and am struggling to keep on top of my WK reviews – They were up to 800 yesterday and I’ve just got them down to 550 now… I’m going to try to get them down by 100 each day this week. I’m also thinking of putting aside an hour each morning where I just do Japanese before checking emails or anything and try to do it guilt free… Has anyone else found that the stresses of the current situation have impacted on their studies?


When I started working full-time it absolutely killed my Wanikani and Japanese progress. For about a year I didn’t do any reviews and let my subscription expire. I’m in homeoffice since march now and I feel like I’m less stressed out and have more time on my hands, not having to commute, go somewhere for lunch etc. So for me, homeoffice was a positive thing for sure and it made me actually resubscribe a few days ago.

Honestly if I ever have to go back to the office every day I’ll probably ask for a reduction to 6 hours a day. Full time office work really took over my life too much for my taste.

I usually take public buses and trains so to and fro is about one hour each. I also need to reach my workplace early so I’ll go out 30 mins earlier. So that’s about 2.5hr of commute in total.

If I had a car it’ll probably take me like 1hr max.

This is something I would love, I think that extra day off would be great. Would give you more time to do all the things I need to do at the weekend, and more time for Japanese would definitely be a bonus.

I shouldn’t really complain though. The reason we work 08:00-17:00 Monday-Thursday is so that we can finish work at 14:30 on a Friday.

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I want a 6 hr a day, 4 day work week. I’m pretty sure my work output would be identical.


You’re not really trying, are you :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m impressed with how organised everyone is.

Since I work from home at the mo, I just do WK as work breaks, or when things are running and my laptop is rendered useless for other purposes.

I think this will all become harder when I’m at work. I’m useless in the morning so stuff will pile up for my evenings.

Depending on how you can do things sustainably, I’d say either get organised if you’re organised, inspired by all the great posts above, or do things piecemeal when you have a little bit of a lull if you’re not the organised type - like moi.

You can set some goals. I don’t have many: finish the day with 0 reviews and hit 0/0 once per level. I’d like to add bunpro once a day but that’s just not happening right now.

That intensely yes but I get distracted easily and start learning stuff all the time! However, I’ve been keeping at this for over 3 months which is amazing for me.

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I work 8 hours a day and without overtimes usually. It takes around 10 minutes by bicycle to home, so commuting can be disregarded.

Each weekday I can afford 3 activities after job I think.

  1. Running
  2. Doing mandatory 1 hour of japanese textbook
  3. Gaming or cooking
    These activities can be changed to different ones though, except for mandatory japanese.

And I don’t include wanikani here because it gets inserted fluidly into any time window I get.
I go with a pace of around 8 days per level. To go with such pace while maintaining my lifestyle I have to do wanikani before job when I wake up. During the job if I have some time windows. And after the job I do it randomly, but I strive to never have anything but 0 in reviews by the bedtime.

If I had a family then I would have had to omit at least one of my daily activities. It all comes down to deciding whether you can sacrifice something. Compromise and balance is a key.

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For me it’s more of a filtering process. Out of 20 lessons, let’s say I fail 7 items on the first review. That’s only 65% accuracy, but that means that the 13 I knew where easier to remember. It’s usually the radicals and the less abstract Kanji.

I’ll then think about what part I didn’t remember on each of those 7 items. Maybe the mnemonic didn’t stick or there was one part of the mnemonic I didn’t remember.

As I learn more Kanji, it’s much easier to guess the reading so it’s usually the meaning that I get wrong. On those I’ll tweak the mnemonic and focus on the part I didn’t remember.

For example, on the 債 Kanji I knew that the leader was blamed for something bad but not what. So I added the image of him being a compulsive gambler and racking up debt.

When I get a reading wrong, it’s usually because it’s similar to another Kanji. I’ll then look up that Kanji and compare and then I’ll remember the different part.

On the next review, I’ll probably only miss 1 or 2 out of that 7. Those ones tend to be more abstract or have nuances I missed. I’ll go through the process again and identify what I got wrong and then reinforce the memory.


I’m currently working from home and recently picked up reviews after a long long break away.
I squeeze review in small chunks throughout the day.

A chunk before work starts around 8am
Another chunk after work around 6pm
Nightime chunk around 9pm to give me enough downtime before bed.

When I go back to the office (whenever that is), I’ll be commuting by car so will cut reviews down to morning and evenings. :slight_smile:

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I’m working from home (Monday to Friday). I started wanikani 3 months ago but inconsistently…

And now I found a pretty good trick that works to improve my progress: small chunk. I changed my habit of learning & reviewing and it works wonder!

I divide my new lesson into 3 time:

  • Morning (12AM-12PM)
  • Afternoon (12PM-6PM)
  • Night (6PM-12PM)

I divided my time into timezone because my work time is flexible (sometime overtime huhu), so I don’t push myself into a specific time point.

Since I targeted my new lessons to 20 per day, I divide it to 7-7-6. I can also split each timezone into smaller one if I got busy - but still I have to finish it on current time zone. For the review, I also use small chunk, I do review as often as possible.

Sometime I missed lesson or review, but still I set my limit -> lessons max 7, review max 30. If the batch is more than that, I split it, give it time space at least 1 hour.

I realized that doing small chunk will maintain my energy (that pretty low because of full time job), and don’t burden me during my work. I did all of this for more 1 week now, and it is fantastic, consistent, with no much effort from me :smiley:


My commute time. When I do not go to work by train I do not study Japanese. Working from home really slow down my progress :sweat_smile:

I work 40hrs a week with a commute time of about 5 minutes.

I keep a rotating schedule of doing 2-3 x 30 minutes lessons a day. For example 30 minutes of listening and shadowing, 30 minutes of Duolingo, 30 minutes of conjugation practice.

I do my reviews on WK any chance I get an I read on Satori Reader for 30 minutes before bed.

I work 44h hours a week and everyday I can do a batch of reviews around 130 at noon and 60 or a little more at night.