How to keep going?

fredrik's Avatar


14 Feb, 2014 08:33 PM

This have happened to me several times when using Anki. I add notes for well structured cards and progress fine in the beginning and feel I really see the benefits of using Anki. A few weeks with new cards to learn every day I start to get tired. I still progress fine with the cards already seen but new cards gets harder and harder to learn. After a few days I drop the routine completely as I feel that I am bored when using Anki. A few days now and then I go back to Anki only reviewing cards that I seen trying to get back on track until I drop it completly.

Then a few weeks pass before I start to think of Anki again as it is a great tool to learn things with and start to create new decks to learn again. So how do I best avoid the "burnout"? Do you add new stuff every day or do you more focus on repeating things you have seen once and add new stuff now and then?

  1. 1 Posted by Aleksej on 14 Feb, 2014 10:31 PM

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    Is the knowledge in the cards well interconnected? Do you forget why you added them, why you thought you'd be able to memorize them?
    Do you really need those new cards?
    Do you add too many and just get tired of reviewing?
    Have you tried the drop-down box which "controls when new cards are shown: either mixed with, before, or after all reviews."?

  2. 2 Posted by Heather on 15 Feb, 2014 12:20 AM

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    How many new cards do you add a day? How many reviews are you tending to get to when you are burning out?

    I suspect you are trying to add too many new cards when you start out gung-ho.... then as the reviews build up, you get burnt out... Limiting your new cards may help that.

  3. 3 Posted by fredrik on 15 Feb, 2014 07:41 AM

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    I've tried adding just 10 a day for a while and changed it to 50 for a period. At most my review time was around 40 minutes per day and then I went through about 350 cards. What I'm thinking about trying now is to work more with the material before I add it to Anki. Now I have new material that I have cut together directly from the source so I haven't really reviewed the material before I see it in Anki.

  4. 4 Posted by vokietis on 15 Feb, 2014 09:45 PM

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    50 new cards per day are way too much! Even for languages I already know very well and have no trouble with learning new cards, I have never exceeded 30 cards per day. For average languages, 20 cards are fine; for hard ones, only 10 shall suffice. The reason is that otherwise reviews would pile up and I’d either have to spend too much time reviewing or get a backlog.
    Stick with 10 cards a day, and if you keep getting frustrated, reduce them to 8 or even 5. You won’t notice new cards distinctly from cards you forgot, so you will not get the impression that they are hard to learn.

  5. 5 Posted by Heather on 16 Feb, 2014 01:21 AM

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    Ok - so for most of us, 50 cards a day are probably too many - and from what you have said this is almost certainly the case for you.

    I don't think many people are going to recommend amphetamines of any type, and I certainly wouldn't recommend caffeine either!

    Xiao may have other ideas.

  6. 6 Posted by Paul B on 16 Feb, 2014 03:38 AM

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    What the original poster describes is a classic case of adding too many new cards per day.

    The problem is that when you increase the "New Card Limit", it takes around 2 weeks for the total number of reviews per day to stabilise at the new level. The solution is to only make slow changes in the number of new cards per day.

    My solution would be as follows:
    1) Decide in advance how much time per day you want to invest in Anki. (Select a range, such as 20-30 minutes). Choose this to be low enough that you won't get too bored.
    2) Initially, only add 10 cards every day. Do not change this limit for at least 1 week. (Even if the amount of time you spend is too low)
    3) After a week, then every day, look to see how much time you are spending in Anki. A) If it is within your target range, then do nothing.
    B) If it is below your minimum target, then increase the new-card limit, but only by 1 card (if below 40 cards per day), or by 2 cards (if above 40 cards per day).
    C) If it is above your maximum target, then don't study any new cards (i.e. new cards = 0), until the time gets inside your target range. After that, reduce the number of new cards by 2 cards (if below 15 cards per day), or 5 cards (if above 15 cards per day), and do not increase the limit again for another 5 days.

    If you do something like the above, then you should eventually reach an equilibrium. The trick is never to rapidly increase the number of cards that you study.

  7. 7 Posted by Heather on 16 Feb, 2014 09:51 PM

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    Wow Paul, that is a great advice!

    Just wanted to mention another method of keeping it manageable, although the number of cards to do each day will vary a lot with my method... it is what we are using for spelling - and works with the spelling course we are using... Basically we introduce a number of cards, wait until they are mastered (most of them are moving towards being mature cards) - then add some more. This does work great with our spelling course because that is also how it works.... but it could work well with other things. Basically adding a number of new cards once a week instead of daily....

    I think for the most part a low number of cards added daily is best - but for some things (where you are keeping along with a course) adding more cards but a lot less often can work too.

  8. 8 Posted by borrvo on 16 Feb, 2014 11:20 PM

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    @fredrik: Stick to approx 10 cards a day. Even with this small number, you will have approx 100 repetitions a day after some time...

  9. 9 Posted by borrvo on 16 Feb, 2014 11:25 PM

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    @Xiao Sun: yeah, sure, whatever...

    you see Xiao, most people have life to live in addition to doing repetitions with Anki... you know... working, cooking dinner, providing for their family, raising kids, reading books, having sex, doing the dishes, cleaning, and so on.

  10. 10 Posted by fredrik on 17 Feb, 2014 10:53 AM

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    Thank you for all feedback. I'll start slower and grow instead I think and also combining this with a treadmill which seems like a good idea :

    I'll start an see when it/I break again. :)

  11. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:40 PM.

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