Distraction = Good?

Hey there,

so I’ve noticed something curious while doing my lessons; Whenever I’m distracted from learning the new items (usually because of external influences), I tend to remember the items better for some reason.
I find this really weird, you’d think that you’d remember the items better if you aren’t distracted.
On the other hand, you do spend more time on each item, because you have to re-read a lot due to being distracted, so maybe that has something to do with it.

What do you think?


Did you guru these items without inaccuracies or are they in apprentice 2 right now? Either way, can’t imagine it’s a best practice. All the more power to you if you can make it work like that. But like you say, I can’t retain stuff if there’s no peace and quiet.

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I’ve guru’d entire batches from distracted sessions without a single error.

That’s what I’d have expected to happen from those batches. But I don’t know,
maybe I’m just weird. :nerd_face:

Memorizing involves using mnemonics and other knowledge to install new info somewhere in your brain’s network. If you can tie a real-life memory into a kanji or vocab, it gives you another way of remembering it. I strongly remember doing all of the “silver” vocab when I was at the airport, and those vocab have cruised through my reviews ever since. Perhaps distractions are giving your brain more details to mix in with your memorization, making those memories stronger?


When I’m doing lessons, I read them, then set them aside for five minutes and do something else before doing the quiz. I don’t know if it helps, but this makes sure I actually remembered them for longer than immediate memory. I like to think this means I remembered them better. And sometimes, I find I didn’t remember it, and so have to study it again…


So, you remember that you learned them while at the airport and when you encounter them again, you go like, “oh hey, I learned that one at the airport I know what it means!”?
It’s a cool theory, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening for me, as I usually don’t recall when and where I learned the items.

That sounds like a good strategy, I’ll try that for my next batch of lessons!

I find I have similar connections with arbitrary items, too.

Like I remember walking in an area I only go to a few times each year when seeing some characters or waiting in a dental office or something.

This, I would research mind palaces online as using them can greatly help with memory. Essentially, what you are doing by being distracted, by my guess, would be associating the item with where you are studying and the environment conditions it is in. Like, when I’m in the living room with the tv on at a certain time of the day, I learned 戸 means door.

Also, the more you forget something then relearn it with a certain part of it still in your head, you remember the item more. That’s the principle by which SRS is based upon. Being distracted makes you forget parts of the item, then looking at it again lets you remember it a bit more.

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