How to Trick Yourself into Studying — 8 Comments

  1. Yes, I fell into this “get reviews down to 0” trap, and I stopped adding cards. Then I got bored, so I started adding cards every day. I feel much better about adding cards as I’m almost finished with Jalupnext beginner, but I have 700 reviews to do. I’m still figuring it out. Thanks for the pep talk!

    • Sounds like it is working out then. Just break those 700 reviews into small goals, stick to them not expecting more, and you’ll be fine!

  2. this is exactly what i started doing recently! i decreased the number of cards, both review and new because i wasn’t finishing and the number kept scaring me away. then after reducing my count, if i only do that number i feel accomplished. but i’ve taken to adding more review cards, adding the ones i’ve forgotten, and reviewing ahead. my japanese grammar class today went better than it ever has before because i could read all the kanji easily and didn’t have to resort to english for vocab words i should already know! trying to force myself into doing more was really hard, but accepting that less is better than nothing has made me study more in the past couple week than i have for several months.

    tldr; this works.

    • That’s the way to do it! And that extra kanji knowledge can really make a difference, as you are finding out now.

  3. For me the magic words are “I’ll do five minutes.” Even on bad days, I can mostly force myself to do five minutes of reviews. And guess what, even then I can usually manage to do more. But I probably wouldn’t get started if I tried to force that! Somehow “It’s okay to stop after five minutes – really!” already helped quite a lot to just get started.

    It also helped alleviate “I don’t have time to study right now!” a bit. Most things can wait for five minutes, so “I’ll just do 5 minutes of reviews and then I’ll do other-none-Japanese-task” seems to work out better for me than thinking “I need to block this big timeslot for Japanese”

    I’m not sure if “You must actually convince yourself that you will only study 25 cards, and quit after this amount feeling happy, with no expectations of anything more.” really is how it works for me. I guess I know myself too well for that ;) But just knowing that “it’s fine if I quit after five minutes!” is working out pretty well (and thinking about it, in the end is probably rather similar anyway) and it’s something I did manage to convince myself of!

    Another thing I just noticed: I think I’m even sometimes using this more than once a day, or on days I actually do feel motivated to get me going a second (third?) time. “I’ll just do another 5 minutes before going to bed <3" and in that case it might really only be five minutes and as it's additional study those are some really positive five minutes! (But I guess it might actually make the "just five minutes" work better on low motivation days as well as there are more positive memories attached to it?)

    tldr; works for me!

  4. Consistency is far more important with reviewing than just getting the number down to zero. It’s great if you get rid of a backlog of 500 cards in just one day, but chances are high of not doing reviews the next day. After all, the backlog is there because you skipped several days, so the habit will be to skip reviewing. Even though there aren’t as many cards, the last memory of reviewing was that it was a huge ordeal.
    It’s more likely you’ll fall back in the habit if you do 150 cards over multiple days. There will also be more time for immersion, which is an essential motivator.

    • That’s a great point that consistency can be even more important than specific goals. When people try just once to get rid of all their Anki reviews, they usually have the same problem again in the near future, unless they really work hard to change their habits.

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