It ends up that way because I can rarely take the sort of breaks during the day that would alleviate the stacked-up workload I’m presented with when, at the end of my day, nobody needs my attention. I completely agree with you; I would love to be able to control when and how people need my attention during the day, but that’s not how my profession works. There are other times I might have a month or so break between projects, in which case I can zoom ahead in my studies and dedicate the proper time.
I’m not in my twenties, living alone and have time to burn. I’m in my forties, with children and adult responsibilities, a demanding profession that sometimes means OT (beyond the normal 11 or 12 hours a day), and fatigue can lead to leaving study aside until my mind is fresh again. I do project-based work, which means deadlines and high expectations, which is anathema to consistent study of a foreign language, but I don’t give up.
Sometimes I try to review at lunch, when nobody needs my time, but that’s the trouble with the nature of it: it’s work, not leisure. It’s not always a break to review kanji—it’s a matter of self-discipline. I am disadvantaged compared to most people who work in terms of freedom of time spent because I work my ass off to keep my family and my business in the black, so if I bitch that a slight change to WK would make my time using a paid tool more meaningful and a better value (and thanks to someone here, I’m now living that dream!), that is a natural consequence of a busy life.
The dream I’ve held to, since the very height of the バブル経済時代 when I first visited Japan, is fluency. If you fail to achieve it in your youth, you may reach an age when you are ready to take it on with a more serious mind. So be it, I have orders of magnitude more responsibility than I had back then, and it makes it a lot harder. I may not be a consistent, or even good studier, but I’m still determined.