Language Learning Burnout

Learning languages is not easy. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and regular practise. Sometimes things are hard to understand and it can take a long time to remember and apply them correctly. Often things can be very frustrating. Spending much time on it, not feeling like progressing, getting frustrated etc. can make you feel burned out after a while. In the worst case people just stop learning the language and never pick it up again.

I feel like I’m currently heading towards a language learning burnout myself. Why? Let’s see…

  • I don’t feel very motivated anymore.
  • I’ve been doing the bare minimum for a few weeks.
  • I started not doing my homework for my language classes (or only few parts and like either the day before or right before class).
  • Sometimes I really have to force myself to do something.
  • I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m not progressing at all.

It’s actually not surprising in my current situation. I just have way too many things to do, not enough time to focus on anything, not enought time to just enjoy the process of language learning. My current situation is like this:

  • I’m currently learning 3 languages at the same time. I wanted to focus on Japanese only for a while, but I thought since I have the chance to go to free Spanish and French courses, I should just use this chance. And I kind of need the certificates but now I found out that I probably won’t get them on time when I actually need them.
  • I thought I had enough time for 3 languages and in the first 1-2 months it was fine and I could do quite a bit. But now things are getting worse.
  • There’s always a lot of stuff to do for my classes. I can’t progress at my own pace. Especially when they want us to submit homework. It also means I can’t do many other things that might be more fun.
  • I have a lot more other work to do now, compared to 1-2 months ago. A lot of this work is also very important for my future, so I definitely have to focus on this.
  • Usually language classes help me a lot. The courses now are not bad and do help, but sometimes they can be very frustrating.
  • We do a lot of boring stuff in class and it just makes me feel really tired when I’m just thinking about doing it.
  • I feel like my Spanish is getting worse instead of getting better.
  • I want to take the JLPT N4 in December but I haven’t done much in the last few months.

The best solution would be to quit Spanish and French and just focus on Japanese again. But I kind of need the certificates, so I don’t want to quit when I’m almost at the end of the courses anyway. It’s only 3 more weeks until the final exams and then it’s over.

Another problem for me is that just focusing on only one language can be a bit boring sometimes and I like some variation. Also when I’m frustrated with one language I can do something in another language.

So I probably won’t drop these languages immediately but I will definitely restructure my studies in 3 weeks:

  • Main focus on Japanese with the goal to take the N4 in December.
  • Secondary focus on Spanish. But instead of doing boring exercises I will mostly read (short stories for beginners, for level A2/B1).
  • Not sure what to do with French yet. I will probably take a break or maybe I will also just read a bit.

There are a lot of things that I’ve learned during the last few months and that will hopefully help me in the future with my learning:

  • It’s important to find interesting material to keep you motivated. Nothing is worse than doing boring stuff.
  • Streaks are not important. I still have my Duolingo streak from day 1 but I lost a lot of streaks in other apps and I’m planning on purposely breaking my longest Memrise streak (the one in the app) soon so I will have less pressure there.
  • Doing fun stuff can really help find more motivation. Listening to songs, watching videos etc. I need to include these things much more.
  • Not doing much on some days is okay. Taking a break is okay.

Can’t wait until the 3 weeks are over and I can finally stucture my language learning studies completely according to what I want.


Japanese Goals June 2018

As I said in the other post, I didn’t set any goals for my Japanese studies in June. I will continue reviewing N4 material but I’m not setting a minimum or anything else. If I can do something else that will be fine, but it’s not necessary.


  • Review N4 vocab
  • Quizzes N4 grammar/kanji/vocab


Spoiler: The month is almost over and I haven’t really done much, but I just can’t at the moment.

Japanese Goals May 2018 – Results

This is a very late post about my Japanese goals in May. But I’m busy with a lot of things and my motivation went down a lot too. So I didn’t do a lot in May. These were my goals:

  • 150 Kanji [Heisig + Kanji Study App]
  • Review N4 vocab
  • Quizzes N4 grammar/kanji/vocab

Of course I didn’t manage to do the 150 kanji. But I did at least 50 new ones so I’m up to 1900 kanji with Heisig. Otherwise I reviewed N4 words/grammar/kanji with Memrise and by doing quizzes.


Overall I spent almost 11 hours on studying Japanese in May. That’s again less than the month before and it probably won’t be better in June. I’m currently just not really motivated to do much in any of my languages.

That’s why I also didn’t set any goals for June. I need some room for doing the things I have to do while not feeling pressured to study a lot extra. I will just continue reviewing N4 material like before and if I can do a bit more then that will be nice, but it’s not necessary.

Japanese Goals May 2018

As so often, things don’t go as planned. At the beginning of May I became busy and a bit later also sick. So my Japanese goals for this month will be very minimal:

  • 150 Kanji [Heisig + Kanji Study App]
  • Review N4 vocab
  • Quizzes N4 grammar/kanji/vocab

Basically just what I’m usually doing with reviewing N4 vocab and doing N4 quizzes. As for kanji I will try to do 150 new ones, that would leave me with about 200 for June.


Japanese Goals April 2018 – Results

This month didn’t go as planned… I barely did anything:

  • 384 Kanji [Heisig + Kanji Study App]
  • Review N4 grammar
  • Review N4 vocab  ✔ 
  • Quizzes N4 grammar/kanji/vocab
  • Listening practice
  • Reading practice

Basically, the only things that I did was reviewing vocabulary and kanji as well as doing some quizzes for grammar and kanji. Of course that’s a lot, but I didn’t achieve the most important goal: finishing the Heisig book. It’s actually quite the opposite, instead of progressing a lot, I only learned 40 new kanji, so I’m now at 1850 kanji. But I feel like I have some mental block when it comes to kanji at the moment. I’m glad if I can keep up my reviews every day but learning new kanji is something I can’t really do at the moment.

I also got zero listening practice or reading practice and it starts bothering me because December and the JLPT are approaching closer and closer. I really need to find a strategy for integrating these parts into my study routine.


Overall I studied only 15 hours this month… that’s just 30 minutes per day. What I am proud of is that I do a little bit of Japanese every single day. But compared to the previous months it’s just not much.

I’m currently not sure how I want to structure my language learning in the next few months. It’s clear that with two other languages I won’t have much time for Japanese, so I need to really think about what’s most important and adjust my goals.