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Earlier I spoke of a method for maintaining a more-or-less constant number of daily SRS reviews. That method did prevent an excessive number of reviews (my goal at the time) while maintaining a minimum daily progress. But as my business interests get more complex and diversified, I’m finding that I have less and less time time available for SRS reviews, and I’m also becoming more and more distracted as I do my reviews.

My solution is to move back to how jMemorize does its reviews: a fixed time per day on a stopwatch timer. Number of reviews does not matter. Size of expired deck and number of added cards does not matter. Just X-minutes of completely focused time split into 15- or 20-minute chunks. If you run out of time with unfinished cards, forget it and move on. If you run out of cards with the stopwatch still running, start adding new cards. Progress will be made just as consistently as before, but the smaller, fixed goals will eliminate distraction and allow for effective time management.

This is an experiment in progress (just a few days old), but already I am pleased with the results.

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Earlier I said that I would wait until I was further into my kanji studies before I gave details of my own tips and techniques. My reasoning may have been justifiable from a results-oriented point of view (I want to thoroughly test any advice I give), but I failed to factor in just how many tips and tricks I would develop. It’s far too many to keep track of in my head until I’ve mastered the kanji, so I’m going to start relating the most important tips right away, starting with this post, and just come back to make corrections if I need to in the future. So take these methods with a grain of salt; they are not yet fully tested.

 

When using any SRS, it’s essential that you review expired cards daily, and fully review the entire queue of expired cards. For the sake of progress it is important that you consistently add a certain number of facts to the SRS every day. You will find that the day-to-day workload will steadily increase with time, even if only the same number of cards are added each day. (There’s an exponential/logarithmic relationship here that I do not have the time or patience to derive.)

When I first started on the kanji I settled in on adding 50 cards/day to my SRS. I could do this in about 1.5 hours or so (a reasonable amount of time for me). However within a few weeks I was up to 100 reviews/day and reviewing was taking up so much time that on some days I was unable to add new facts. And when I went a day without reviewing…the backlog of cards took a full week to clear out.

To the point I am getting. Since the number of reviews were getting out of control, I decided to cut in half the number of facts I add each day. Now I am adding only 25 cards/day, and over the last week the per-day workload has been steadily decreasing. On the morning when I open Anki to find less than 50 cards up for review, I will resume adding 50 cards/day until the workload again reaches 100 reviews/day and I cycle back to 25 new cards/day. This is a sustainable system; a method that I can keep up indefinitely, and a method which will ensure a steady progress of 50-100 reviews and 25-50 new cards on any given day.