Time is closing in on me as I have just under 40 days left until my trip to Japan. I did little to no studying during the holidays, which as a result did not make my online tutoring sessions as worthwhile. When it comes to motivating a 怠け者 (lazy person), extreme measures must be taken. So for the past 3 weeks I’ve been placing bets on how well I study each week. Literally. Luckily I have a roommate who is not afraid to take me up on this and will gladly give me a kick in the ass if needed.
So here’s how it works. First, I set up a list of language-learning activities and assigned a point value to each one depending on how beneficial or time consuming they are. Something like reviewing Anki vocab is beneficial but takes less than 15 minutes, so I assigned it one point. Likewise, entering new vocab from a new chapter into Anki is usually quite time-consuming, but not beneficial right off the bat so I assign it 1 point as well. Most items get assigned 2 points (Genki textbook activities, iTalki tutoring sessions, etc.) and the big whopper is a 5 minute Japanese vlog, which gets 4 points. I set a current weekly goal of 15 points while keeping in mind that I can miss 1 or 2 days of studying if needed and still make the goal.
So how does the money factor in? My roommate has selected a shelf in our place that displays my sacrificial $20 in cash that can easily become hers each Sunday if I don’t make my goal. I log each activity in and show her the summary at the end of the week. So far, I’ve been doing well, but last week this lit a fire under my ass after I had missed a study day early on. At first, going back to studying consistently was such a chore and I dragged, but now it has become a welcome part of my daily routine. As soon as I turn on my J-Pop playlist, my body knows what to do and gladly opens my Genki II textbook.
As I usually only set aside an hour or two 5 days a week, I’m not seeing a dramatic improvement but I feel improvement none the less. I struggle less when speaking to my iTalki tutors and that’s a blessing. I do plan on putting more time in to studying, especially since my trip date is nearing. To my lazy brothers and sisters out there, if you’ve got to do something this extreme to get yourself to study, I say do it.