Monday, December 29, 2008

Time Has Told Me

Timeboxing, revisited
Experimented with some timeboxing today while trudging through the mindless sea of RTK reps. For those who may not be in the know, "timeboxing" is the practice of introducing arbitrary time limits for tasks - any regular task you can think of, really - which, in theory, improves one's efficiency and speed in said task. It's a very interesting psychological experiment. Something in our brain just seems to wake up when we put ourselves on a time limit, as I'm sure anyone who's ever taken a timed test in school can tell you.

This is a technique I've applied to SRS reps on occasions, but really felt the need to do so today. I set my timer for 30 minutes and went at it, with pleasant results.
By the end of the timeboxing session, I had completed 101 cards, or roughly one card per 20 seconds - not bad, especially keeping in mind that I write out each kanji (the most time consuming part). The important part wasn't necessarily the speed at which I tackled these cards, but the consistency, and the fact that my focus was nigh unshakable. No longer did the process feel so mechanical and chore-like - I had to get in another dozen cards before the time ran out! Just a few more, go go go!
I plan to timebox a few more 30 minute sessions later for this neglected, but crucial deck.

Luckily, reviewing sentences is far from feeling like a chore, actually being quite enjoyable with a much greater sense of reward and satisfaction. After all, this is real Japanese I'm reading and comprehending. This is what I set out to accomplish in the first place!
Almost 300 entries in that deck so far, and making steady progress. Keeping a pace of 30 new sentences daily has proven very easy, and I'm tempted to kick it up to 50-60... but I remind myself that any SRS deck is easy and manageable early on. Once I began adding more cards per day to my RTK deck, things quickly became out of hand when the reviews (lo and behold) came back with an unapologetic vengeance, and suddenly I was up to my neck in cards.

So, I'll see how the sentence deck goes. If I can keep things contained as well as I have so far, I'll kick things up a notch. Even at my current pace of 30 new cards per day, that's over 900 sentences, on average, every month! Within one year, I'll have broken my target goal of 10,000 (not that I plan to stop there, mind you)... and that's A-OK by me.

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