How to stay focused?

I've made several attempts to learn Japanese but i find myself not wanting to focus. I try to do it everyday but my brain makes excuses and doesn't want to do it. Is there any methods on making yourself focus and repeat lessons daily?

May 9, 2018


I like to listen to calming and ambient music

May 10, 2018

You need a goal. "Learn Japanese" is a bad goal. Why are you learning?

May 14, 2018

To add onto to Hamham's suggestion, I would recommend setting S.M.A.R.T. learning goals as a way of tracking your progress and motivating you to continue toward your long-term goals.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for "specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely"

What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific you are, the bigger the chance you'll get exactly that. This is the difference between setting a general goal of wanting to "learn Japanese" compared with setting a goal of "Reaching B1 proficiency in Japanese in 18 months to prepare for going on a one week vacation in Japan."

Questions you may ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives are:

What exactly do I want to achieve?
With whom?
What are the conditions and limitations?
Why exactly do I want to reach this goal?
What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?

Be sure to set measurable goals. This means that you can clearly determine that the goal has been achieved. You should be able to know exactly when you have reached your goal. It generally means breaking your long-term goal down into measurable elements. You'll need concrete evidence - "knowing more about the language" is too vague. Learning 200 new vocabulary words is much more measurable. Or maintaining your streak for 30 days on DuoLingo ... whatever works.

Measurable goals can go a long way in refining what exactly it is that you want, too. Defining the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.

Is your goal attainable? Be sure to weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal will take against the profits and the other obligations and priorities you have in life. For example, I do not intend to reach Crown level 5 in all my Japanese skills on DuoLingo. I have other priorities and I don't think maxing out the Japanese skill tree will get me that much closer to my language goals. I also do not plan on becoming fluent in under 6 months. I have limited time to invest in language learning, so trying to reach a high level of proficiency so quickly is unrealistic. Instead, I'm setting realistic short-term goals that are personally challenging, but that I know I can actually reach if I try hard enough.

Is reaching your goal relevant to you? Do you actually want to learn a second language? What does it mean to you? What do you hope to accomplish with your new skill? How are you planning to use your knowledge of Japanese in the future?

The main questions, why do you want to reach this goal? What is the objective behind the goal, and will this goal really achieve your ultimate objective?

Lastly, you should think about time. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch from thought to action. So set deadlines for yourself when planning your Japanese learning. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, so you can keep morale high. Being too stringent on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the perverse effect of making the learning path of achieving your goals and objectives into a hellish race against time – which is most likely not how you want to achieve anything. But giving yourself too much time (or no deadlines at all) will give you too much freedom to goof off. Give serious consideration to how long you want to spend on each stage of your learning and do your best to stick to the plan.

Another thing that's very important when setting SMART goals, is to setup your goals POSITIVELY. Remember that what you focus on, increases. So when you focus on NOT doing something, all you think about is that thing. And it will probably increase. So don't set a goal to 'stop procrastinating', rather set a personal goal to 'get into a daily study habit'. For example, set a realistic daily goal on DuoLingo or set aside thirty minutes each day to practice your language by other means and stick to that plan. Fill the void with something productive and positive to help you keep on track.

May 14, 2018

I would suggest that practice concentration by turning off all distractions and committing your attention to a single task. Start small, maybe five minutes per day, and work up to larger chunks of time. If you find your mind wandering, just return to the task at hand.

May 9, 2018

There are a couple different ways to keep motivated.

First, it helps if you get into a study habit. Set aside some time each day that is dedicated to learning and try to be consistent. Avoid procrastination or skipping days, as much as possible. This is why maintaining your "streak" on DuoLingo is such an effective tool for language learners. Even if you are only doing one lesson a day (which only takes a few minutes), you are making progress toward your goal. And the longer you maintain your streak, the more motivation you have to keep it going.

Keep in mind, you don't even need to be using DuoLingo to maintain a learning "streak" or get into a habit of learning. It just helps if you have some way to monitor your progress and encourage yourself to stay on track. Whether that's an app or a progress calendar or something else doesn't matter as long as it works for you.

Another strategy that I find effective is using multiple study techniques and resources. This adds variety and keeps things from getting monotonous or boring. If I don't feel like doing a lesson on an app, I pick up a Japanese textbook and read a chapter. If I don't feel like reading a textbook, I watch a Japanese lesson on YouTube. If I don't feel like watching a video, I try translating a few pages of a graded reader. If I don't feel like translating, I open TinyCards or Anki and drill myself on vocabulary or kanji flashcards. If I don't feel like drilling flashcards, I play Influent or Crystallize. If I don't feel like playing a Japanese learning game, I read some articles on Japanese from one of the various blogs that I follow. If none of that excites me, I listen to a song in Japanese.

Whatever my mood, I can usually find SOMETHING that sounds interesting or enjoyable enough to do during my study time.

If you are struggling with keeping your brain interested and focused, try feeding it a greater variety of mental "food". Repeating the same lessons over and over is boring, but Japanese is not. It is a fascinating and challenging language that has plenty to keep you interested, so long as you keep putting in the effort.

May 9, 2018

Very good advise, especially the 'switching between learning methods' ! And the cool thing is, you can transfer this method to almost anything you want to learn. Be it a language, maths, a new sport. Diversity counters boredom and will result in a much greater long term motivation, as well as less frustration! I can only recommend it again and again. If one way keeps putting you off, switch the road ;) :)

March 19, 2019

I just got myself REALLY hyped over learning japanese and then I wanted to learn it so badly that there were times I caught myself still awake until rediculouse hours trying to learn new things. well maybe I took it a little bit too far but in general that's a great way to progress countinously. (actually I did it in lingodeer, a similar app, but I think that it'll work the same way here)

May 11, 2018

I find I can keep myself focused by listening to music. It's almost like listening to music distracts my brain enough that I don't feel like jumping from one thing to the next as often as I would when not listening to music.

Listening to music w/ vocals isn't all that helpful, especially if it's in a language you understand, or is in your target language.

May 15, 2018

Not learning Japanese, but Polish. For me, the reason was to be able to communicate with Polish friends and family when visiting, and as I am very sensitive to admiration (yes, I admit it), this made all the difference. Find something that really pushes you, so that when you think about it, it makes you want it very much! Maybe it is writing with a Japanese friend, being able to watch anime in o-tone, and understanding half of it for the first time - what gets you fired up? And then make it a habit, switch often between different methods of learning, and when you are able to, switch the language of your handy to Japanese! Expose yourself to the language as much as possible, and the results will come, keeping you even more motivated!

December 28, 2018

Have you tried chewing gum? Staying awake and trying to focus on learning something new can send you to sleep even if your not tired, I find chewing gum helps me to focus.

March 19, 2019
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