Tag: life

Motivation Hacking

After [cached]Anna recommended that I read [cached]The Motivation Hacker, I went down the rabbit hole. I had already discovered [cached]Beeminder the day before, and now I was truly motivated to set myself up with some goals.

You can see them on my public [cached]goal page, but for now they are primarily about keeping up my language studies, spending a bit more time on piano and making sure I go for a run regularly. I'm not sure if I actually care about the money betting features, but just seeing the steady line of past effort is quite …

On Learning Languages

I've made an attempt at summarizing everything I know about learning languages into one page, also adding useful resources and books. It's both a personal reference and in the hopes that it will be useful to somebody else - it will certainly be nice to have when making recommendations to friends, be able to point them at a single resource.

Feel free to message me if I left out some essential book or grammar guide, I'll be happy to include them and use them myself!

Language Learning - An Update

It's been quite a while since my last post, two and a half months to be more precise. Back then, I mentioned I was heavily relying on Spaced-Repetition Systems (SRS) for learning and retention.

In the intermediate weeks I found that with increasing competency in a language - after reaching a basic comprehension of at least 5000 words - SRS become less and less effective. At this point, I've completely stopped using Anki for Spanish; instead I'm listening to random podcasts on my way to and from work, as well as watching TV shows in Spanish. My comprehension seems to have gotten …

An Anki experiment

More and more, I'm starting to rely on Spaced-Repetition systems (SRS) for learning. That's WaniKani for Japanese Kanji and Vocab, Memrise for good courses they have (like the one on Morse Code) and Anki for everything else I want to remember, like Spanish Vocab, books I've read, Latin expressions or the Nato phonetic alphabet. Once I've mastered a course, it will also be migrated to Anki for maintenance.

At the moment, I'm only have thousands of cards, but I'm quite curious how long-term maintenance is going to work once I reach tens of thousands and more. For one, reaching a …

Our minds are slaves to our bodies

Just now, I was practicing Spanish on Memrise. I used to speak each word aloud while writing it, but I had stopped doing that over the summer to not annoy other people in my hostels. So imagine my surprise when I started doing it again and my mood completely changed within a minute - from kind of meh and relaxed to full of energy and happiness.

Why full of energy? I tend to move through words pretty fast, thus speaking at that speed is quite energetic and fast too. This looks like a promising approach to alter my own mood, to …

Travel and your normal goals

I'm sure there's a lot of you like me, traveling at every possibility you can find, trying to explore all there is of our small and yet so large planet. And just like me, you probably have a lot of other goals too - trying to learn that new language, working out more, spending half an hour every day practicing this new skill.

The thing is, at least for me, it's very hard to combine the two. Being away from home almost every single day for the last two months, I've noticed that I hardly studied Japanese or Spanish - maybe a …

Finding myself by going away

It's been a month now since I've started traveling, all on my own. To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought before I set out - I was just too busy with exams and moving out of my flat in Vienna. Even on my flight to Tokyo I didn't really think about it, I was too busy sleeping and reading guidebooks, being all excited about going that far away.

Even for the first days, I didn't really notice - I was too busy meeting people, even got quite a crush on my second day here. But when things didn't work out …

Japanese Again

It's been a week since I've started using [cached]TextFugu and so far, it's been awesome. I also started using it's sister service [cached]WaniKani but can't report much yet because the spaced repetition algorithm hasn't given me any kanji yet (it takes a few days to start).

I can't read proper Japanese texts yet, but I was delighted when I managed to deceiver the text on the chopsticks during my last visit to a sushi restaurant ("arigatou gozaimasu"). Not much, but it still felt awesome.

So, if you want to learn Japanese, give [cached]TextFugu a try and make …

Learning Japanese

I've been studying Japanese for a few weeks, but so far it was only [cached]Hiragana and [cached]Katakana. Basically Japanese syllabary.

That's the easy part though, actually learning [cached]Kanji (the main part of the Japanese writing system) and of course the vocabulary is the hard part. Now I've evaluated quite a few services, but I'm still not sure which one too use.

  • for learning Hiragana and Katakana, I used [cached]memrise. It's basically a fancy flashcard system for spaced repetition, with the advantage that a lot of courses have already been created and filled with memes. Sadly, it …

Fleeting Thoughts

Often I wish for a way to instantly capture my thoughts at any given moment so I can pursue them later on, when I have more time on my hands. Just now, I realized that wouldn't actually work as intended: My whole state of mind would be different then, so the thoughts would play out differently, I'd come to different come conclusions.

This presents me with a conundrum: Sometimes, there are too many interesting thoughts to pursue all of them. How do I pick? Do I try to recapture those that I didn't pick at a later time?

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