Career Advice

What should I do to study as a working adult? 6 recommended study methods & 5 books

How much time do working adults spend studying?

When you graduate from school and enter the workforce, you are required to study independently. There is no homework or tests, and there are almost no opportunities to be told to study this.

Do you find yourself not studying enough or feeling at a loss because you don’t know what to study or how to study?

For you, we will explain recommended study content for working adults and tips for studying efficiently in a small amount of time. It should be helpful for new members of society and mid-career business people who are thinking, “I want to learn something.”

How much time do working adults spend studying?

First of all, how much study time should working adults set aside? As a guide, let us introduce data published in the business magazine “President” in 2016.

This is the result of asking 500 business people with an annual income of 20 million yen or more and 500 business people with an annual income of 5 million yen how much they study on weekdays. However, those who spend no time studying on weekdays are excluded.

Among working adults who have the habit of studying on weekdays, most study for about 30 minutes to 2 hours. Considering the fact that some people don’t study at all, if you study for even an hour on weekdays, you’re probably working really hard.

However, don’t forget about the strong people who study for more than 3 hours a day. We often hear that working adults in Japan don’t study hard, but there are some rivals who work hard to achieve their goals.

This data also shows that people with higher incomes tend to spend more time studying. This can be interpreted as “people with higher annual incomes have more time”, but it can also be interpreted as “studying and acquiring skills increases the value of human resources and increases annual incomes”.


Studying as a working adult requires effective strategies to manage time and maximize learning. Here are six recommended study methods and five books that can help you in your self-study journey:

Study Methods:

  1. Pomodoro Technique:
    • Break your study time into focused intervals, typically 25 minutes, followed by a short break. After completing four intervals, take a longer break. This method helps maintain concentration and prevent burnout.
  2. Active Recall:
    • Instead of passively reviewing notes, actively test your knowledge by recalling information without looking at your materials. This helps reinforce your understanding and improve long-term retention.
  3. Spaced Repetition:
    • Space out your study sessions over time, reviewing material at increasing intervals. This method enhances long-term retention by reinforcing information as you approach the point of forgetting.
  4. Mind Mapping:
    • Use visual aids like mind maps to organize and connect key concepts. Mind mapping can help you see the relationships between ideas and make it easier to recall information during exams or presentations.
  5. Teach the Material:
    • Pretend you are teaching the material to someone else. Teaching forces you to consolidate your knowledge and identify any gaps in your understanding. You can also create study groups for collaborative learning.
  6. Use Multiple Learning Resources:
    • Combine different learning resources, such as textbooks, online courses, videos, and podcasts. This approach caters to various learning styles and makes your study sessions more engaging.

Recommended Books for Self-Study:

  1. “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel:
    • This book explores evidence-based learning techniques and provides insights into effective study habits, helping you optimize your learning process.
  2. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport:
    • Cal Newport discusses the importance of deep, focused work and offers practical strategies to cultivate concentration, a crucial skill for effective studying.
  3. “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear:
    • James Clear explores the science of habit formation and provides actionable advice on building positive habits, which can be applied to your study routine.
  4. “The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking” by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird:
    • This book offers practical insights into improving your thinking process, helping you become a more effective learner and problem-solver.
  5. “How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading” by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren:
    • Learn effective reading techniques and strategies for extracting valuable information from books. This classic guide provides practical tips for active reading.

Remember that finding the right study methods and books is a personal journey. Experiment with different techniques to discover what works best for you, and adapt your approach based on your learning preferences and the demands of your work schedule. Consistency and adaptability are key to success as a working adult learner.

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