Worried about over-doing it

I’ve not been super active on the forum lately, but rest assured I’ve kept a steady pace on my journey.

Well… It’s been steady but super slow
I know it’s better to go slower than rush and not learn anything but I’m a bit sick of taking ages to get through everything. (the last two levels took over 40 days compared to previous ones which were 2-3 weeks)

I used to go at a pace of 50 apprentice items max, but now it’s been floating closer to 20 max when I remember to do lessons
I keep avoiding them, worried the next 5 will be 5 too many and I’ll get swamped in reviews and have no time for them

Any suggestions for a good balance?

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50 is very low. The usual number people keep throwing around is 100. But if you want to stick to 50, at least make sure to do lessons right when it goes below that number. You need to get rid of that fear of overdoing it, or at least try to actually test the waters first before coming to the conclusion, that it will be too many.

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my issue is that I’m quite slow at doing reviews
so going over 50 can mean it takes me quite a while to get through stuff

Then the question gets pushed to why you are slow at reviews. Do you need to think about the reading/meaning a lot before it pops in? Are you using mnemonics for them even if they are guru or even beyond? Are you slow at typing them in?

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I get distracted when I do things
if I switch tabs or get out of my chair it might be over 10 minutes before I remember I’m doing something

Then you should make it basically impossible to not concentrate on reviews. Try out the pomodoro technique, that’s usually pretty efficient at things like this. Or just close everything, every tab, every program, everything that’s not necessary when doing reviews. Put your phone somewhere where you can’t reach it and don’t stand up until you are happy with your progress.

Or alternatively don’t rely on a few review sessions, rather break them up and do reviews a few at a time throughout the day.

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Do you use scripts? Because the back-to-back option on Reorder omega somehow managed to cut my review time in half. Something about it just keeps me much more focused during reviews. You get a card → enter the reading → enter the meaning → move onto the next card. No partially completed cards that get forgotten when a review session times out

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The answers are stored as long as you don’t close the browser, and in some cases even after that. And even then, there are scripts that remove the review session timeout feature

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It seemed to me like sometimes it remembered and other times it didn’t. But I’ve been using back to back for a while now so just going off memory.

It sounds to me like getting swamped by reviews isn’t really the problem. Doing the reviews slowly isn’t the problem either.

The real problem is that you aren’t actually doing the reviews, because you get distracted too easily.

Consistency is key, and you’ll need to figure out how to solve that problem if you want to make satisfactory progress.

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I also had a very tough time focusing on my reviews, one thing I was able to do though, was to put on something to watch on my main monitor and use my 2nd monitor to do my reviews. It’d only be like 1 review per minute when I did that, but it was better than not doing it. Well, you may not have multiple monitors, but you could always use your phone instead.

I also recommend making it a habit to do a certain number of reviews before you do something. Want to play a game? Do like 5 or 10 reviews first. Want to check what you have in the fridge for a snack? Do a bit of reviews before that. Apply it wherever you can.

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I agree with some of the others that it sounds like the problem isn’t the reviews, but your ability to stay focused on your task. It sounds like you need to make yourself a study space and develop study patterns that let you get stuff done.

Some people study really well in a low distractions environment: an empty desk surrounded by silence (or noise reducing headphones or white noise app running) and nothing to do but the task in front of them. Other people find this environment even more distracting and would rather have music or TV running in the background or even might learn better getting jostled in the middle of a noisy train. Find out what works best for you.

A really common technique is to break down the task into time periods or amounts of work. Set a timer and do nothing else for that time period then take a short break. Suddenly want to look something up? Don’t switch tabs, keep a pencil and paper next to you to write down distractions and and get back to work. Look it up later. Need to go to the bathroom? It can wait until your break. Have a nosy roommate or parent or sibling poking in? Let them know ahead of time how you’re chunking your time and if they need you, you’ll be happy to help or speak during the break time. Don’t forget to set a timer for your break time as well as your work time. It’s really common to feel productive after a successful work period heading off to your first break…only to forget to return for more work.

The Pomodoro Technique is common, traditionally you set a timer for 25 minutes and concentrate only on your task for that time, then you have a 5 minute break. You can adjust the time period to whatever works for you. Starting small and increasing the work periods as you train your brain for focus is great if you can’t manage a long study period at first.

Find that you’re drifting off after just a few minutes? See that little clock symbol on the left that says “Wrap Up” when hovered over? That’ll limit your review session to 10 more reviews from the moment you click it. Finish those 10, then reward yourself. Set a timer for a minute or two, let your brain drift, use the restroom, watch a cat video, whatever, and when your timer goes off, do another 10 reviews. Rinse and repeat. Give yourself a longer break after several successful sessions and let your brain really relax. This can improve focus when you come back.

There are also apps for both iphone (Tsurukame) and android (Flaming Durtles). Plenty of people find it easier to do reviews throughout the day instead of dedicated study sessions. Do 5 reviews everytime you’re in the bathroom, a handful waiting for the bus or while being a passenger, some while waiting for dinner to finish cooking, 2 or 3 during every ad break on Youtube, etc. This can get a large number of reviews done without ever actually sitting down to study.

Mixing and matching study habits can be advantageous too. For example, I like to do lessons on Tsurukame on my phone because I like having the reading and meaning on the same screen instead of split into different pages the way the browser does. But I like having my laptop keyboard for reviews (faster than typing on the phone), so I usually do them either at home while sitting comfortably in bed and with no distractions, or waiting for my kid’s classes and activities to finish. These are loud, but no one’s talking directly to me so I put in my ear buds and tune out the world. However, I’ll also frequently pull out my phone in quiet moments and toss out a few reviews here and there throughout the day. I can’t do my reading practice while out and about though, it takes more focus than flashcards, so that’s limited to low distraction environments, while WK can be done in any small moment when using the back to back options (meaning and reading right after each other, rather than mix in with other words).

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I’m not sure how obvious it is but I do get reviews done

Like, it takes a while
but no amount of closing other tabs or whatever will make me not periodically wander out of my room until I remember I was doing something (I’m like that even when drawing, watching a youtube video or scrolling through tumblr, I just can’t sit still)

besides, aside from weekends, most of the time I do reviews on my phone during lecture breaks at uni

idk I think I must’ve phrased the original post wrong but it’s late for me

I do reviews all the time. And when I say all the time I mean it. I’ll do them in groups of 10 at work, at the toilet, etc. That way I won’t get overwhelmed by having too many reviews and still get them done. Maybe doing that could help make the load a little smaller so you can do more lessons and advance quicker.

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Have you been tested for ADHD? You should be able to find ways to manage it if that’s the reason you can’t stay focused

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Doing these little “10-packs” throughout the day works really well for me.

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It’s not that you aren’t getting any reviews done, but I think what people are getting at is that studying something as massive and complex as a language requires a certain degree of regularity to make reliable progress.

Taking frequent breaks while studying is not a problem at all, but if those breaks are undefined, of unpredictable length, then you end up rolling the dice with getting derailed. It just sounds a little too stochastic to make reliable progress, and I’d imagine it gets pretty frustrating after a while.

I’d suggest setting a timer for five or ten minutes every time you feel yourself start to drift. Voice commands are useful to avoid having to navigating any distracting interfaces. When I’ve struggled with focusing, I’ve found the most useful systems to be ones that remind and reinforce my intentions. If I’m taking a break, it’s important that I’m conscious that that’s what I’m doing, and know when I’m going to get back to work.

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