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Apr 21, 2011

Start the Day in Japanese

During this last week I have rediscovered a secret to staying connected and active in Japanese – or in anything really. We all have such busy lives that even on days off from work or school we seem to be rushing around to complete things. Because we've got so many “important things” to do, the easy and natural thing to do is to put Japanese off until the end of the day. We think, “There's so much to do, I have to focus on those big important things and hope I'll magically have time later for Japanese!” but the truth is that you won't just find that time, you have to make it.

The secret that I have rediscovered is this: start the day with Japanese. Our inclination to put Japanese off will only have us cramming in some quick reviews before bed or putting it off for tomorrow. Make Japanese the first thing you do each day and get yourself in a Japanese mindset before you start anything else. The benefits of doing this will extend far beyond simply getting your reviews done and increasing your knowledge of the language, because now you are beginning your day by working on something that you enjoy.

When I was learning Japanese, I worked out a schedule for my mornings. I set aside a block of time for doing reviews, adding new sentences, and for doing some reading or listening in Japanese. It didn't take much time, even 10-20 minutes was enough to remind me of what I was doing and why I was doing it. Oftentimes I'd manage to complete all of my reviews and even add my target number of sentences in that small block of time, and then my entire day would be filled with a warm pleasure because I was achieving my personal goals before I even started my obligation filled day.

Another benefit of starting your day with action and accomplishment is that those feelings will carry over into the rest of your daily interactions. That's why I say that this concept applies to anything, not just Japanese, because beginning your day with any passion or hobby will make your life feel more full. Instead of putting off your dreams until the obscure future, you grab hold and begin every day by living those dreams.

I urge you to try this idea. You don't have to do much, just wake up 10 minutes earlier or cut some small tasks out of your morning routine and fill the new gap with Japanese. Accomplish your goals before the day has even truly begun and realize that you can achieve anything. Begin your day in Japanese and you'll find that your goals are much closer than you thought.

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  1. Ahaha, I barely commented on the last post!

    Ideally, I'd have my day set up with some language grinding at the start. I only go out after sundown, and the rest of my day is spent wasting away like I usually do. Ideally.. There's so much stuff that could fill the rest of my day.

    You would know how difficult it can be to introduce new things into one's routine. I'll keep this in mind for when the time comes.

    >Instead of putting off your dreams until the obscure future, you grab hold and begin every day by living those dreams.

    Yeah! This is great advice. It's all about those small victories.

    I'll get on it as soon as I fulfill other goals. I'm working on things one step at a time!

  2. Indeed, I always start the day with Japanese and make sure the day ends with something Japanese as well (music listening, quickly looking at my kanji poster to pick kanji at random for review, read a manga, etc.)

    Getting started with the Japanese early makes the rest of the day run more smoothly.

  3. Haha, I pretty much forgot about studying Japanese for one day yesterday. Unless watching anime counts.

    I can't really do this since my body needs at least one and a half hours to "wake up" because I'm a complete zombie before then and forget everything I did.

    I make time though, it's just that some days it would completely slip my mind.

  4. Thanks for the advice. I'm still stuck on learning hiragana because there's so much things I have to do during the week, and I barely have time to even think about it. I'll make sure I follow it so that I can start on the core 2000 series.

  5. I should really try and follow this advice. You're exactly right, there's been so many times when I get to the end of the day and just brush it off because I'm feeling too tired.