What are some things you do to stay focused while studying?

I always tend to drift off while I’m studying. I’ll be in the middle of the session and think, “I want to cook some spaghetti,” and then forget that I am studying and cook spaghetti xD. I have ADHD so that doesn’t help too much. What are some things that you guys do to stay focused?


I keep paper and pen next to me and whenever I think “I want to do [thing]” or “I need to do [chore]” I write it down and tell myself I’ll do it on my break. Somehow it’s less distracting once it’s written down.

Gotta be paper, though, writing on the computer doesn’t work because I get even more distracted switching between windows.


I put on “trance, female vocals” in Youtube, pick one at random and force myself to finish the night review session before the 1 hour long compilation finishes.


i just opened the forums mid study session and this thread was on top…uh…looks like i’m not the right person to answer it

that being said i usually try to set a clear and achievable intention (finish wk reviews for example…if there’s only 100 or so to do), then reward myself with a break, then start the next concrete unit of work (let’s say 3 pages in my grammar textbook), etc.


I tend to put on some kind of ASMR music, something calm without vocals to distract me, and it really helps if I turn off my other monitors while reviewing, I tend to go and do something else in the middle of reviewing.

That’s about it really.

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Just do it in chunks. When you start to space out you can hit the wrap up button and it will give you the pairs for the items you’ve already done and then end the review.

I do this when something comes up while in the middle of a review. Life happens.


I take tiny breaks.

If I try to sit through 200 reviews in one sitting… sometimes doable, but often it starts to feel like a real grind 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through and I lose concentration a bit.

So I’ll do 50 at a time. Even if it’s literally a one or two minute breather that just seems to help.

Keeping a steady pace during a review session also helps in several ways. Like at the most, a WK review answer should take ~5 seconds. Maybe 10 seconds but that’s really stretching it. As I often say, instant recollection is really important and it’s good to practice that way. If you don’t know it immediately, so what, fail it, move on.

As a bonus, forcing yourself to keep at it with a quick pace means less time for your mind to wander.


Yeah. Sometimes I also do them “10 at a time”.

10 - wrap up, another 10 - wrap up, continue until 50 or so. That way I feel in control of short burst-reviews instead of a huge pile.


i have to do it in chunks. I also have to have a reward system in place for those little breaks, like ok if i get through this chunk then i can go on a nice bike ride/then i can eat lunch/then i can watch an episode of One Piece etc…
also saying all the terms out loud as i see them helps me stay present with them

  1. Put on some ambient classical or chill lofi tunes.
  1. Think of all the fun things I can read and listen to with increased vocab and kanji knowledge.

  2. Remind myself that the study demon is real, and he is behind me.

  3. Take a break if I’m burnt out, walk around, and come back.


Do any of you have trouble following a plan? I feel like I spend more time trying to make a plan of what I should be doing than actually doing anything. Although, Genki hasn’t come yet and I’m having trouble getting into Tae Kim’s guide so that leaves WaniKani pretty much for right now. I guess I’m having trouble getting/staying organized, any one have thoughts there?

I’ve started drifting during reviews too, especially when the pile gets over 70 at a time (I review 3-4 times a day). So recently I started trying to timebox my sessions – knowing that I have 15 minutes for a batch of reviews seems to be helping so far! (It’s short enough to stop me thinking about spaghetti for long enough to finish reviews at least :sweat_smile:)

I definitely struggle if the plan is too vague, too idealist, or not concrete enough! I muddled around for too many years with no plan (and never doing assigned homework :laughing:). This year I started making some measurable goals, inspired by our performance reviews at work. I based my learning goals on realistic projections of where I should be if I stick to the plan.
Starting with yearly goals, then breaking them down into smaller monthly and weekly goals is working so far for me, especially if there are checkboxes to check! :slight_smile:

It takes a bit of thinking to come up with the plan, but without a map it’s hard to know where you’re going!


I have learned to use that wrap button so much! Sometimes I can go through 50, 60, 90 reviews and stay focused. At other times, I start up because I “thought” that it was a good time to WK, then after making mistakes and my mind drifting off, I soon remember there is that wonderful little “wrap” icon, and I quit until I’ve taken care of whatever my mind really wanted to focus on.

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wait there’s a wrap up button?!

That’s a great way to stay on track!

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