I know someone who tracks everything he does in life but personally I don’t like this because it feels like too much pressure. But I thought it might be nice to track my Japanese study time for a bit and analyze what I’m actually doing for it. I know I’m neglecting certain things more than others but seeing it in numbers might help adjust it if necessary.
So I’m doing a little experiment now: I’m tracking my study time and what I’m studying for a while and will be posting the results here. I’m thinking about weekly reports.
For this I’m using the aTimeLogger app, which provides a very simple way to track what you’re doing. It saves the tracked time in a list but you can also change the view to a pie chart. You can also set goals but I’m not doing this for now. The app has some paid features but the tracking and pie charts are for free.
Creating your own categories/items
The aTimeLogger app has a lot of predefined categories for everyday life. But you can easily add your own personal categories! You can also create groups and add categories to this group. I did this with Japanese because I thought maybe I would use the app later for something else and with a group it’s more organized.
What I really like is that you can define your colors and have hundreds of icons to choose from.
These are the categories that I have defined so far. I might modify them later if I think I need to adjust them. Here is what they mean:
- Vocabulary: Learning new or reviewing old vocab. Mostly done with Memrise, but I will also use books for learning vocab.
- Kanji: Everything that has to do with kanji study: learning the meanings, learning kanji in context etc. I’m using Memrise and Kanji Study App, might try some other apps, also websites with resources and books.
- Grammar: Going over grammar (books, web resources), making notes, doing exercises, reviewing grammar.
- Reading: This includes all kinds of reading resources: books, websites, news etc. Since I’m still a beginner my main goal at the moment is improving my reading speed, even if I don’t understand everything in the text.
- Listening JP/EN: Videos/podcasts/etc. with a mix of Japanese and English.
- Listening JP: Videos/podcasts/etc. in Japanese only.
- Listening Quiz: All kinds of listening practice quizzes/tests.
- JLPT Quiz: All kinds of quizzes (grammar, vocab, kanji). I’m using JPDrills.com and will do old JLPT questions.
Most categories are pretty broad but for listening I actually made 3 different categories. Listening is my weakest skill so I need to do a lot more here. These 3 categories are quite different and tracking them individually seems better to me considering my current situation.
The app gives you a list of when you did what and for how long, but what I really like are the daily/weekly/monthly pie charts.
It gives you a breakdown of all the categories that you tracked during the selected period including the time spent for each category as well as showing the percentage. “Show untracked time” includes all the time where you didn’t track anything. Since I’m only tracking my Japanese studies, this gives me a visual view of how much time I spent on studying Japanese during my day/week/month.
I started using this app to track my study time on the day the JLPT results came out (January 24th), so I’ve only used it for a few days now. But so far I really like it because it’s really very easy to track something with this app. Before I could only guess how much time I spent for studying every day, but now this app shows me the total time for each day, week and month, as well as the time I spent for different categories.