How to use Anki without getting burnt out (how many cards a day and stuff)

How to use Anki without getting burnt out (how many cards a day and stuff)

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I use Glossika and will prioritise this in the morning. In the evening I read/listen. I just put some ambient music on in the background and push through reps.

I think the burnt out comes from feeling like it’s not adding value more than how you’re using it. Watching your Anki deck grow is as rewarding as watching your word-count on LingQ grow.

I try and spend around 30-40 mins a day on cards. Anymore and it takes away from other things. If I have to stop adding cards because my reviews are taking too long, that’s fine.


It’s not that I feel like it is not adding value, but it feels very artificial and boring. I can push through 30 minutes of Anki for sure, but do I want to spend my life doing that?

On the other hand, I feel like adding just two cards a day (as recommended in this video: Why Language Learners Hate Anki - YouTube) could give me some benefits without getting me to the point of giving up all together.

But, of course, one is always in search of a second opinion and improvements of its own methods.


Excellent choice in Youtuber :slight_smile: (although he did rip into Glossika not too long ago haha!)

No I agree, I certainly don’t want to be using an SRS forever. But I don’t want to use a reader (like LingQ) forever too (on the same language). The difference is of course the process of using LingQ is way more fun and fundamental in language acquisition.

I suppose the lesson is: get as much as you can out of the SRS as you can. You don’t have to go full AJATT style and have 9k sentences; maybe instead stick with 2-3k.

Good luck and start learning Greek :wink:

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Thanks! After I learn Spanish and German, I plan on learning French and Russian. After that, who knows, maybe Greek is in the cards too. :smiley:

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If the language you’re learning is in the same script as your native and is in the same language family then you can do 50-100 new cards a day for the first couple months and then drop back. Do as many reviews as needed,
If the language you’re learning is in a different script as your native and/or is not in the same language family as your native language then you might find your brain can’t hold onto the words as easily so the best you can manage might be 20 new words per day combined with no more than 100 reviews per day.

Make sure you consumer other material and don’t just do anki. LingQ, watch youtube podcasts, whatever other apps you like.

For reference: I was able to do 100 new words a day in French for 2 months straight then I slowed the number of new words way down over the remainder of my six month challenge. I had a ton of reviews for the first three months then it tapered off.

For Russian I was only able to do 20 new words a day on average.

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How much time did it take a day when you were doing 100 new words a day?

@LTD: I disagree, I watched the video and it’s pointless. :smiley:

But I’ll keep this discussion going in the other thread.

The problem is that in the video he’s just find a romantic solution to make a deck in a tiny habit. You can read a book on tiny habits. But it doesn’t really show that’s necessary to drill any deck and how to build those deck to make them effective. Which is what I try to figure out in the other thread.

Believe me, if you intensively read here on LingQ you will learn way more words that drilling decks or srs. Imho.

I used ANKI for years btw.


1-2 hours sometimes 3. The first 2-3 months of my way of doing things isn’t for the faint hearted. This was for French, which is way easier than Russian. By about month 4 I was down to about 45 minutes and it stabilized at about 15-20 by months 5 and 6. Usually I quit anki once the bulk of my cards are longer than 6 months because I feel like I know them good enough that consuming native content instead will keep refreshing them.

Right now I’m about 6,000 words of Russian and I’m doing about 30 minutes reviews on average. I add 150 new cards each weekend which temporarily bumps it up to an hour for a couple days. I spend the rest of the time (about an hour) split between lingQ, youtube and netflix.

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Awesome! Thanks for the answer. :slight_smile:

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@LTD: I disagree, I watched the video and it’s pointless. :smiley:

lol :smiley:

You don’t have to do Anki or any SRS for that matter. I stopped doing it after “A1-ish” level. When I had about 1700-ish words/phrases. It was just too unwieldy, and if I took any time off I was spending days catching up on review. That’s when I found LingQ and decided to go off SRS “cold turkey” to see how, or if I could progress. Well, the progress was exponential comparatively.

When you read and listen, you are coming across all these words over and over again. It’s like SRS in a way, but every time you see that word, in context it is a “review” and another chance to see if you know the word. AND…you are reading interesting content. Of course, a lot of beginner content may be fairly mundane, but if you go searching elsewhere for things you might enjoy to read and listen about then it makes it much more pleasurable.

Now some people like Anki and SRS and feel it’s important to their learning. I think it can have some benefits (certainly in the very beginning stages), but I think the bulk of your time should be spent reading and listening. Maybe limit your Anki usage to 10% of your time spent on the language. Don’t worry about catching up on any reviewing, just do the 10% of time. Spend the rest of the time reading and listening. Or go “cold turkey” from Anki altogether. Maybe revisit it after some time and add a little bit in just as something different to do. Or do Anki while you’re standing in line somewhere.

I don’t have any great suggestions regarding Anki. I think if I were to spend time with it, I would use complete sentences for the word with it in context and in a way that offers a “hint” at the meaning. Doing Anki on words alone (at least intangible ones) I think is not much help at all IMO.


Well, all your post is exactly my experience with the only difference that I totally dropped it. That’s why on the other thread I’m trying to give it a chance but if it’s really necessary because I’m not sure about it.

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You study other languages while doing this many new cards per day or just the language of the cards that you are adding?

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I’m a strong believer in focusing hard on one thing at a time, so my French is parked. My Spanish is already so solid I don’t need to refresh it.

So to directly answer your question: I’m only doing Russian right now.

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I figured that I can maybe set my daily reviews at 20 and as for new cards, do as many as I want. Not sure if this would solve the problem of getting some benefits and not getting burnt out. I’m aware that I’m dancing wrongly with the algorithm, but wrong dance is better than no dance.

Oh I totally dropped it when I joined LingQ. Never looked back. I might occasionally hop in and do a few every once in a great while, but it’s not for review per se…more to see if a can just simply move a few to “known”.

I don’t want to dismiss it entirely, but for my own “schedule” I don’t have enough time for it and think that reading and listening is far more beneficial with my limited time. And it’s (R+L) way more fun. And it (R+L) works great.

I think it can have its place, but I don’t believe it should ever be more than 10% of anyone’s time, depending on their goals…If the learner needs to learn specific words for a class, then yeah, it probably is the best approach to use Anki. For someone learning the language to learn it, I think it’s not very efficient to learn the language as a whole.


@xxdb: if you read this I would be curious to know a few things on how you use ANKI and that you think it was more beneficial?.
For example you use always audio? audio + text? And you use each card in the same way or “reverse” cards? I don’t remember the name but as Toby said, from L1>L2 and L2>L1 (so doubling the cards).
And lastly you use the normal card format or the “cloze” caption I think it is, I don’t remember the name. Where you have a sentence and you hide only the word that you are interested to force your mind to recall that word in context.


I found text only anki to not work for the purpose. It did work in the sense that I could remember the written word. It failed because there was no “link” to how the word sounded, which in my opinion is useless. Caveat: it did work with Spanish - but Spanish is pretty close IMO the way it is read to the way it is pronounced.

I tried about a decade ago to build up a list of mp3s manually but it took too long and there were big gaps so I abandoned language learning for a long time.

About three years ago I found a text to speech app that allowed output of mp3s. I bought it and a french voice which was pretty decent imo.

I played with it but never did anything. From time to time I read stuff on polyglots to see what they thought. During covid I read about benny lewis and a couple other polyglots who use anki and I ended up concocting the theory that if I was able to use audio with anki it might work better. I used my app to spit out a bunch of mp3s one per frequency word from the top 10,000 words of french and imported them into anki and did an experiment based on my random research and the ideas from those polyglots who more or less had the same ideas as I did. Over a six month period I did it and it worked so my theory was confirmed.

Anyhow to answer the specifics:
I use an audio “front” of the card with an English translation for the word or phrase.

I don’t use cloze because I disagree with the idea of using phrases.

Others disagree but we’re all over the map to be honest even among polyglots. My opinion is armchair philosophy based on the observation that children start off learning simple individual words and combine them together into sentences. So whether I’m right or wrong I ran with it and the end results speak for themselves. Is it optimal? Who knows. I can provide what I believe is a rational explanation for why I’m right but I don’t want to get into a philosophical debate. After all, this forum is about learning languages via reading. I actually agree with much of what Steve Kaufman says but I am focused on the audio part of what he does (i.e. mini-stories are epic). I don’t even use lingQ for reading as such. It’s the fact that you can click on the words and hear the sound that is epic to me. That and the fact that you can drop in a transcript and see visibly which words you don’t know.

I don’t really use reading and especially not with Russian.

I personally don’t agree that in the early stages reading is optimal even if it’s in a script that you can read already but others have their own opinions.

Others have their own methods that work for them. One polyglot (Luca Lampariello maybe?) simply translates texts back and forth from one language to the other which is wierd to me but he can definitely speak languages so who am I to say his method is wierd?

My method works for me and that’s good enough for me so I’m sticking with it, though I may experiment.