My impatience actually stops me from learning and makes me anxious

Does anyone have this experience and if so, how to

I’m a very impatient person with anything that I have to learn or do slowly. This is why despite opening up my first Japanese learning textbook almost 10 years ago, I’m still a beginner. I get incredibly in my head over it to the point where I sometimes can’t even start a learning session.

Part of the reason is the overwhelming resources out there. What to start with? How to learn? In what order? In order to help me feel less overwhelmed, I’ve limited my learning mainly to the Lingodeer App for 90% of the time, WaniKani and sometimes Bunpro.

It sucks to know that if I’d have managed to hone some patience, I would probably be near on fluent by now. But, I know it’s not too late :slight_smile:

What methods or ways do you use in order to manage your time and learning effectively? And if you have issues with patience, boredom and delayed gratification, what has helped you focus?



First thing is to forgive yourself. It’s hard to learn a language and the image that some people put out of ‘fluent’ after only a year or whatever are kinda like fitness models. Sure they are more athletic or whatever but their pictures are still photoshopped. Ive been learning Japanese for a long time as well. There are periods in my life where I just don’t have time and I don’t make a lot of progress, there are months where I do and I am able to make a log of progress.

Everyone is on their own journey. If you are looking for specific advice I can give it, but I feel like you just need to hear it’s not a moral failing that you are not further along in your Japanese journey. You are doing good! We are proud of whatever level your are at! If you need support just ask!

This make me think of a classic Japanese expression:


Trust me when I say that my journey has been long. I grew up in a time when things like ADHD weren’t commonly diagnosed even though I’m pretty sure I had it.

It took me a long time to develop good study habits, and I’d like to share a little bit about my process.

Time boxing and pomodoro: Setting 10, 15, 20 min, even just 5 minutes to just start something and stick to it. Then give yourself a break after that time is up. It helps to keep track of it as well.

Gamifying: I personally use Habitica to add a little fun to my habits. There are plenty of habit tracking apps out there, but I can only speak for Habitica which I have used for years.

Make it enjoyable: For me, study time is fun time. It took a long time for it to become that way, but I learned to enjoy and find pleasure in it. I’ve invested time, money, resources, all to make my study sessions more enjoyable. At home I have a nice setup, and when i’m not at home I head out to a coffee shop which feels like a reward in itself. You may or may not have the money to do this, but even without money, finding a relaxing, comfortable area to work and enjoy a cup of coffee can go miles.

Don’t deny yourself of the things you like: I got a lot of bad advice early on about not watching anime to learn Japanese, if not I would forever sound like a weeb. So I watched a lot of things that didn’t interest me. I watch what I like now, and I didn’t end up sounding like a Jojo villan, although I may pose like one from time to time.

Just show up, even if it’s for a little bit: I always told students in our study sessions, even if you do 5 minutes a day, it’s better than nothing. Just show up and do it even if you don’t want to. Your body will eventually take you to that place after a while, it will become automatic. I remember getting back from work after a long shift, getting on social media for an hour, getting something to eat, probably watch Youtube for an hour, then play Skyrim the rest of the night. Had I studied Japanese for 5 minutes every night, would that have made me fluent? Probably not, but it would have been better than not doing it at all. Now I can study after work, but it did take a little while to get there.

You are your own competition: It’s easy to compare yourself to others, I know I’ve done it, we all do it think. But even the most fluent of speakers sometimes feel down because they mispronounced a word, misread a Kanji, or just lack the confidence despite their ability. If you’re still doing it 10 years later it means that you are not like the 95% that take one Japanese class and then give up forever.

And finally, something I learned recently: I tend to not read motivational books, but I did check out “The Power of Habit”, and the most profound thing the author mentioned, was to not think about what you want to do, but think about who you want to be. Do you want to get better at Japanese, or do you want to become a fluent Japanese speaker? If you make it clear to yourself why you’re doing this, getting to it becomes a little easier. I want to become a Japanese speaker/translator/interpreter/teacher.

I get it, I’ve been studying for a long time and there are days that I feel like I don’t know anything. But the truth is that you probably know more than you think you do, and all you have to do is build on that because it’s a lot more than what most people who try to learn the language will ever know.


Have you tried a site called Irodori (Online)? I found it was really good for those earlier beginner intermediate stages of comprehension and is well structured. Just put some time aside and do a lesson a day. You might decide to continue lessons but revist old lessons a week later through their practice section to reinforce concepts as well.

I do this in conjunction with Bunpro and Wankani since it provides a means of listening and speaking practice with a conversational everyday context.

(its also free)

Try using Renshuu instead of Wanikani. An interface is a bit misleading but I’m having much better kanji-learning experience with it. Disclaimer: I have a lifetime Wanikani subscription and I was using it for 5 years (dropping and restarting, lol).

And you don’t even have to buy Renshuu for kanji, free version is fine. Colored radicals are godsent(at least for me):

I am not a native English speaker and Wanikani mnemonics don’t always work for me. You can also learn much more useful words on Renshuu comparing to Wanikani because you can add them in any given order (e.g. from a frequency list, from your current grammar app, from your current native content, etc).


I think this is more of a psychological issue than a resource problem. We could tell you the most amazing textbook ever, but you are very likely gonna throw it away.

I think that one of the things that could help you is to ask yourself why are you learning japanese in the first place. The language is certainly not a trivial thing and your progress will be directly proportional to the invested time.

A lot of people “fail” because they discover that it’s just not worth it. If you are investing your time in this just to be able to see cartoons without subtitles, or be the cool-guy-who-knows-japanese in the party, it’s very likely that you are never going to make a significant progress.

I don’t want to be mean, really, but If you were able to get by without knowing japanese for the last 10 years, chances are that the language was never interesting enough for you.

Reevaluate your motivations before potentially wasting more time in this.


I’d say you’re anxious and impatient because you’re too focused on the end game: speaking/reading Japanese. To add to what @Edo9 said, you should try to find a way to shift your satisfaction from the goal to the learning process. That is, try to enjoy the effort you put into learning and forget about the results.

What works for me is this:

  • I basically just do Wanikani and Bunpro. I like that there is no friction about WHAT to learn, you just pick it up and go.
  • Every day I do 30 minutes of WK and 30 minutes of Bunpro. The important thing is to NEVER try to get the review counter to 0. Forget about the numbers, just do the 30 minutes (or less if you don’t have enough reviews). Don’t burn yourself out!

WK and BP are now part of my daily routine. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get to the end, it’s more important to be consistent and do a little each day. It’s more efficient than stopping and starting again in a few months anyway!

Eventually I’ll do more reading and other resources to fill in the gaps, but for now these two are more than enough to keep me going for a while!


I think you’re absolutely bang on about making sure to get it straight why someone would want to learn a language. Without that cornerstone in place, I would find it easy to just let the studying go when it starts to get boring/tough or when life gets in the way.

I just want to say though that I personally believe wanting to watch cartoons without subs is a perfectly viable reason for wanting to study Japanese.

In fact, it’s a big part of my own study goals. Admittedly, I’m still just a beginner, but I’ve always wanted to watch mystery anime like Case Closed (over 900 episodes btw!) in its native language. Of course, I have other reasons as well. And I can speak another Asian language too, which helps speed up my study progress.

My point, in case other cartoon-lovers out there had a similar reaction, is that narrowly-focused, intrinsic rewards can work for some people as a goal for putting in serious hours to study a language.


I can very relate to this, I have quite the amount of books since long ago, but never felt real progress, so most of the times I tried moving into something else.

I’d say it depends on your objective. What do you want to do with the language?
My recommendation is to focus on what you want to do, and try to start using it as soon as possible.

For example, my main is reading. So I’m investing more time in Kanji and Vocab learning than Grammar or Listening/Speaking. That already reduces the amount of resources that work for me.

I’d say write down your daily grind/progress. At first is very hard, I’ve been keeping a log for more than 800 days now since I started with the objective of doing at least a bit of learning daily.

It also allows me to check the backlog and see how far I have gotten. This helps when sometimes I feel like lack of progress put things back in perspective again.


My reasons are: the language is beautiful, and I have a love of languages in general. If I had the energy I’d be learning Russian and Arabic alongside Japanese. I want to be at least bi-lingual in order to understand what it feels like to switch between languages, not to mention that it is good for brain health.

But, yes, I get what you are saying. It is worth thinking over it again. I also suffer depression and anxiety on the daily so that certainly doesn’t make life easy, let alone learning a language.

Thankyou for the input.

ps. I forgot to mention the most important reason: I’m looking to move to Japan for a while. I’m getting a head start with the language.


The title of your post immediately brought something to mind, and then your entire post, and this quoted part in particular, fits well with my initial thought:

It is possible (just ‘possible’, mind you, I’m not a professional or anything) that you may have a condition, such as, for example: ADHD, or an anxiety disorder, or something else with similar symptoms. Of course, diagnosis over the internet is not a thing, so you would have to see a professional to get a proper diagnosis, but sharing experiences and information over the internet is not intended as a replacement for proper diagnosis, just as potentially helpful insights and/or pointers.

I didn’t know I had had (lifelong) ADHD until my early 30s, which was about 15-ish years ago now. I was completely surprised when a colleague of mine suggested, after I had been struggling to make progress on a project, and experiencing anxiety over it, then “You know what your problem is, man? You have ADHD!”

I thought he was joking at first. But then he started listing off a bunch of symptoms (he had just seen the other night from a documentary on adult-ADHD), and for each symptom he listed I was like, “Okay yeah. Yeah. Yup. Uh huh. Pfft, yes! Sure. Okay. Yes. Yes. Holy f’ing sh!t, I have ADHD!?!”

I got an appointment with a psychiatrist specializing in adults with ADHD after that, and after what I consider a thorough and careful diagnosis (attempting to rule out ADHD, rather than confirm it), he diagnosed me not only with ADHD, but also with 2 other conditions I had for most of my life (chronic depression and generalized anxiety disorder), and all of a sudden the puzzle of my entire life started to make a lot more sense!

I’ll give you a couple links related to adult ADHD, but just remember that if you happen to have some condition affecting your learning of Japanese, it could be any of a variety of other things, so again, this is just sharing some info – the only way to really know for sure is to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified professional. Perhaps a good way to get started might be to mention the issue to your family doctor and ask for a referral.

With that in mind, here are a couple useful links related to adult ADHD:

Now that I’m aware I have ADHD (and always have, since I was young, but didn’t know it), I’m able to get direct treatment for it via medication, and also use knowledge of ADHD and how it works to adjust my work and study behaviours to better match my ADHD-ish brain. Using SRS tools like BunPro and WaniKani are good examples of things that really work well for me. But there are many other things one can adjust or change, also. And, each person is different – different people with ADHD will have various differences in their ADHD symptoms, so there’s not really any one-size-fits-all changes that will work for everyone – you would have to find out what works best for yourself.

Edit to add:
Oh, almost forgot! There’s a really good thread on the WK forums, where a bunch of us fellow WKers discussed learning about ADHD and getting diagnosed, and all that, in relation to using WK as well:


Don’t try and climb everest from sea level in one go. Set up a series of camps and different stages.

Complete a text book, complete a JLPT level on BP, complete 5 levels on WK, do a read/listen every day challenge on WK forums, do a WK book club.


Hey, thanks so much for this info and taking time out to tell your story too.

I have many times considered the idea that I was not only ADHD but also on the Autistic Spectrum, however when I went for testing they determined that I was neither.

I think that in my specific case, it might make equal sense that depression + GAD (general anxiety disorder), both of which I am diagnosed with alongside borderline personality probably carries enough weight to explain why I cannot concentrate on things. Gone were the school days where I could shirt off up and coming responsibility for not-yet-made life decisions. I just had fun and I was able to concentrate on things I enjoyed. That being said, I was always fidgeting and couldn’t sit still, I was incredibly hyperactive and subjects often bored me to the point of actual tears. Probably only art and sport ever truly grabbed my attention. Anything else was a horrible grind.

Then came my adult years; a time where I had to earn money whilst simultaneously dealing with the excruciating existential and identity crisis’s that often come with mental illness.

In short, I’ve not had an easy ride and having to cope with circular thinking owed to anxiety and worries about my future probably explains why when I try to put my mind to something, it doesn’t work out. Dealing with my hyper-sensitivity in life in general and the demands of being an independent, single adult person means that anything I want to focus on requires, ultimately, a heck load of mindfulness. Even the stuff I love. I remember being able to focus on my illustrations as a child with complete ease.

Alllll that being said, I still won’t discount something like ADHD. The metrics by which they test for autism (for adults) is just awful here in the UK (by the NHS, not sure about how it differs going private) and when they tested me, I wasn’t aware that they were testing for ADHD…they just mentioned it.

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Thankyou. This is something I am starting to learn to do and at moments where I am able to ease into learning by taking the pressure off, I do, in fact, learn things better and more efficiently. Mindfulness is a big helper.

Hmm, I did that diagnostic test and scored pretty darn high. Thanks for supplying that. I think I may take it to my doctor and ask them for a specific ADHD screening.