We all have our proud Anki review stories. I once sat down with 1200 cards, and didn’t move for half a day until I finished every last one of them. You smile with victory, and it becomes one of your memorable battle stories. From there on you go back to your typical hard Anki study of an hour or two a day. You sit down with your reviews, and make sure they never build up again.
What if this wasn’t the best way for you? What if your lengthy Anki block was getting in your way, making you unmotivated or causing you to dread Anki?
How about making Anki easier? It only takes 2 minutes to unleash the power.
What is the 2-Minute Anki?
I promise this isn’t a “study 10 minutes a day to fluency” trick.
2-minute Anki is exactly what it sounds like. You only do Anki reviews for a few minutes and you are done. No planning. No extended sessions. No internal struggle deciding whether you have time right now or feel like studying.
Who is it for?
Everyone (yes, even you rolling your eyes).
Why not just set aside a dedicated hour or so and get it done with? Because there are other activities that need this time: Learning new cards in Anki. Watching a Japanese TV show. Reading a Japanese book. You don’t want to use up all your active focus time on Anki reviews.
Why 2 Minutes?
2 minutes is enough time to open your app from your phone, and knock out about 5~10 reviews.
To be able to accomplish this, you need to have your app ready to be opened in an instant. This takes a little practice, but eventually it will be instinctive (ex. place the app on the top left part of your home screen). You should be able to do it with your eyes closed. If it takes you 20-30 seconds to find the app, the 2-minute session won’t work.
The power of 2 Minutes
There are 4 reasons why this works so well.
1. Anyone can do two minutes without much stress
The amount of willpower it takes to study for 2 minutes is minimal. You can be tired and stressed and still manage to go through this.
2. Two minutes is packed with value
Less time is more. A 2-hour session can drag on, with your eyes glazing over, and you wishing you were dead. 2 minutes requires laser focus. You’ll want to race to get as many cards done as you possibly can.
3. Stay engaged with Japanese throughout the day
When you choose Anki in the morning, nothing else Japanese during the day, and then more Japanese study at night, there’s a large part of your day where you don’t touch your goal. Spreading 2 minutes throughout the day makes sure you always stay connected with Japanese, and reminding you of your dream.
4. You feel more productive as a person
No one likes waiting for things. No one likes their perfectly imagined flow of time interrupted. At the same time, people have a large amount of small moments throughout the day that are just wasted. With 2-minute sessions you fill these negatives with positives, making you feel better about yourself.
Where to find these 2-minutes?
This requires a careful look at your day as you go through it. You are bound to find these moments everywhere. If you don’t have as many as you would like, you can purposely create more.
My favorite 2-minute session locations:
1. Shopping with someone in a store that I have no interest in
2. Waiting on line in any store (no more worrying about having to choose the shortest line at the supermarket. Go ahead and choose the long one!)
3. Anytime I have to meet with someone, I will arrive extra early
4. Cooking time (microwave, stove, oven, etc.)
5. I sit down a few minutes early before a scheduled TV show starts
6. I get into the car a few minutes before the other person I’m going somewhere with
7. Brushing my teeth
10. Waiting for (or missing) a train, bus, or uber
12. Waiting for the shower water to get hot (I’m sure I should probably get this fixed…)
These are just some of my examples. The key is to find or create waiting time. If you have your own perfect 2-minute locations, share them in the comments!
The 2-Minute Master
Try it. You don’t have to give up your 1-2 hour sessions if you love them. But you may find the 2-minute version empowers you in a new way.
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