The general confusion I have at balancing my time and where my italki coach fit's into my studies

Hello all. I’ve been studying japanese for around 6 months and, after quite a while of feeling like I had a study schedule that worked for me, I’ve found myself questioning everything again. ^^; It’s hard because I have pretty bad ADHD and I can find that a lot of study time can feel “empty” in terms of the benefit’s I’ve gained. (IE: My mind will wander or sidetrack itself, making 1hr studying feel like 25 minutes of focused study.) I was wondering how you would balance and break down the time you spend on different areas. I find that, as soon as I find myself in a study routine I think is working I realize I haven’t given an area enough time. I’m sure that that is, to some extent, just the reality of trying to balance your learning. That said, It’s like there is just so much to learn that it is very hard for me to figure out “where” I should be applying my efforts. ^^; Like I absolutely love learning Kanji but, because of that, I find I spend more time on kanji than I probably should instead of say, solidifying my vocabulary knowledge or practicing sentence creation.

It sort of came to me that this was the case because I was struggling to use what I have learned in vocabulary to create my own sentences… So yeah, I guess my question is this… How do you balance out all the things you need to learn throughout your study sessions.

What I currently do is about this…

  • Anki 1hr (Primarily Vocab)
  • Wanikani 45m
  • Genki 25m-1hr
    *Tokini Andy Genki video on chapter I’m doing if I’ve entered a new chapter.

Things I don’t do with consistency

  • Practicing what my Italki tutor has for me.
  • Writing / Use Hello Talk to practice conversation.
  • Critical Listening Practice.
  • Immersive activities like consuming japanese media.

Looking at this, I’ve definitely been missing immersive stuff and also have slowly drifted to not using my tutor to any potential. :frowning: She is a fantastic teacher and very very knowledgable, but I think I’m struggling because she is more used to doing teaching using some coursework called the JIC coursework. She does have Genki but she moreso teaches with the other coursework. It is actually good and I feel like I gain a lot when I push to learn it in terms of real working japanese. (Ie: Certain conversational stuff.) The problem I think though is that I do just like using Genki for the good grammar explanations and books like genki have a real community resource built up around them. As such, I’ve been

What I’ve been thinking is this… I need to cut down my wanikani learning a bit and work more grammar related cards into anki… I also feel like I need to do some listening practice though, and either ask my teacher to use genki or spend less time with Genki and do the JIC coursework more. All in all though, I feel like I’m attempting to do too many different areas and need a more structured and spread out study plan if I am going to managed to do all of it. ^^; So yes, any advice I could get on both how I should approach my italki teacher stuff and how I should balance my time, that would be super helpful to me. I can study around 2-3 hours daily.

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Replace a Genki lesson with an iTalki lesson. You should be reviewing what you learned in Genki with a tutor anyways frankly. But that would be my suggestion.

Yeah, I have an italki tutor… Did you mean to replace the JIC stuff that she is doing with Genki?

No I mean, the time you use to watch Tokini Andy videos, you should use for iTalk to review what you learned in Genki.

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I’d follow WaniTsunami’s suggestion since it seems more iTalk would help you produce more and speaking with a native teacher would help eliminate potential bad habits.

I’d also replace 1/4-1/2 of the time you spend on Anki and WK on immersion if possible. Some people have a higher tolerance for immersion earlier on and some have it later. Seeing/hearing words in context will help more than studying Jp-En flashcards if those flashcards only feature the words.

You can use a tool like https://learnnatively.com/ to help find materials appropriate to your level. You could try something from each successive level until you reach something that challenges you. https://drdru.github.io/ is similarly wonderful and great beginner reading material that’s fun even as an adult. At 6 months in, it might be too easy for you, so perhaps the Tile Chronicles might work better for you?

Immersion will help you sound more natural and better recognize common speech patterns as opposed to flashcard reviews.

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You said you’ve been studying for about 6 months, but it’s not clear to me how you’d assess your own level/ability (maybe I missed it?). Have you finished Genki 1? How many anki cards and/or WK vocabulary words are mature? How do you feel about where you currently stand? I think it’s pretty natural to want to change up your study routine as your skills develop, so that might be part of what you’re experiencing.

In general, I agree with WaniTsunami. When I was going through Genki 1 and 2, I watched the TokiniAndy videos for each chapter, and I thought they were a really useful resource–but only because I didn’t have a dedicated tutor and was studying completely on my own. I think it would have been a much better use of my time to spend an hour going over the chapter with a dedicated tutor than watching a video.

Working though Genki with a tutor would also have the added benefit of giving you more direction with your iTalki lessons, since it seems like you’re not totally happy with how they’ve been going. And as an aside, if you like using Genki over JIC and you feel like your tutor would rather use the latter, I think that’s a perfectly fine reason to switch tutors!

For the record, I don’t think you’re doing too many things, or going off in too many different directions. You’re moving through a textbook and practicing vocab! Those are pretty standard tried-and-true steps in structured language learning. You could add some native material; depending on your level something structured like a graded reader or one of the past WK book clubs might be a good place to start. Or you could try an easy manga; I started reading the manga ふらいんぐうぃっち (Flying Witch) around the time I finished Genki 1, and although it contained a lot of new vocabulary and grammar, I could follow it without trouble.

I think with Japanese learning in particular there’s a lot of talk about optimization and efficiency that can make it seem like no matter what path you’re on, there is a better one out there, and you could be farther along than you are if you’d just made different choices. But the real secret is, the best and most efficient method is the one you stick with.

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I’ve been balancing WaniKani and an iTalki tutor for a while now, along with a little bit of reading/listening comprehension. About to hit Level 60 and have been gradually increasing the comprehension time.

I’d recommend using an app; I use Strides, and setting up a combo of weekly/daily trackers. e.g.

WaniKani - 3 Times Daily
Listening - 2 Hours per Week (I use the Japanese with Shun podcast)
Reading - 2 Hours Per Week (I use the Tadoku Graded readers at the moment)
iTalki Homework - Once per week (Tick this when I’ve completed my homework)
etc.

I find this tracking helps me get quality time in on all the areas I need to work on, otherwise I just spend the time on WaniKani and let the rest drop off.

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Not sure how helpful this is, but as someone who also struggles hard with ADHD focus, I don’t keep super detailed track of my time, I just have some consistent weekly/daily goals and do my best to balance reading/writing/listening/speaking

Daily
-Wanikani - usually 2-3 times throughout the day and I just do it until I’ve cleared my reviews and new lessons
-Immersion (listening to music/actively watching anime or Japanese youtuber)

Weekly
-1 hour Italki lesson (this gives me most of my speaking practice and allows me to clarify things that confused me when studying)
-transcribe the notes from my lesson and review the concepts
-Complete 1 lesson in writing textbook and 1 lesson in listening textbook (My Italki professor uses Morigoto books which I find really easy to work through and there’s lots on free resources on the official website with audio exercises and extra videos)

In addition to the above I’ll occasionally use Anki and I’ve been working my way through Tae Kim’s Japanese grammar guide since it’s very concise and keeps my attention much better than Genki did. Trying to keep up with multiple Anki decks AND WaniKani AND my textbook homework AND my lessons AND make time for immersion was just too much for me so I don’t stress about doing Anki anymore and just review Tae Kim when I have time.

When I first started studying Japanese I would feel super overwhelmed and inefficient, I would also panic whenever I felt like I wasn’t on top of all my study areas. Simplifying my goals and having a weekly italki lesson to hold me accountable to at least 1 thing has been really helpful. I always try to keep in mind Japanese is a Marathon not a sprint and every time I understand a new word/sentence when I’m watching/listening to something I get instant serotonin.

It seems like you’re doing great so far! I hope you’re able to find a routine that works well for you!! :smile:

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Ah, I didn’t mention it, but I have an italki tutor 3 times a week. I did mention though that she seems to be more into using this JIC coursework instead of Genki, though she said it is OK with switching if I wanted. Sorry, I know my first post was long. And I can’t really afford an italki tutor more than the 3 times a week.

I’ll cut back on some of the others and do more immersion. I definitely think that that is a huge problem. Like it’s great I’m learning vocab but not using it and hearing it has hurt me for sure. ^^;

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Oh man, is it ever true that there are always posts about how to do things better. ^^;; I do think I’ve got it sort of dialed in in terms of the sort of… core resources I’m using that work well for me. (genki, wanikani, anki), though I think maybe the balance just needs some work and that I definitely need to do more immersion. As for adding in additional tutoring sessions, I don’t think I can do that financially, but I think I’m going to ask my italki tutor for us to try with Genki. I think what I realized after making this post is that using the JIC coursework sort of prevents me from using something that is my strong suite, which is the ability to throw hard work at something. ^^;; Like with Genki, I can re-read if I need to and I really like how much the information get’s drilled and tested by the ending practice questions and such in Genki. With the JIC stuff I can definitely run threw drills based off of what was covered, but there isn’t a workbook and the like to go with it.

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