Week 37: The Flibbertigibbet
Published on Monday, September 19, 2016 By Max Sparber
I have studied Yiddish for 247 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 141 hours
I have reviewed 2,944 individual flashcards
To my frustration, I find my attention lapsing again. This is a dangerous time for me, as I have gotten to the point where I can maintain a project for a very long time -- almost a year -- but then I entirely lose interest in it because I have become distracted by something else. I am, in my heart of hearts, a flibbertigibbet and a dilettante, and I used to hop from one project to another every few weeks or months. The fact that I can sustain a project for nearly a year nowadays is a Herculean act of will on my part, but there is always a friend to have drinks with, or an online argument to have, or a dog to play with, and they all sap my will.
But this project was not intended to last nine months. It was intended to last ... I don't know. Forever? And so when I feel my attention slipping, I must make efforts to reverse that slippage.
Here are the areas I am having trouble just now:
1. I have been studying at 10pm, just before I go to bed. This is a convenient time for me to study, but perhaps not the best time, as if I get distracted, and I do, I find myself starting late and being unable to finish mt studies before 11pm, when the flashcard program rolls over to the next day. Additionally, I really should go to sleep at 11pm, as I wake a 7am, but instead I want to hang out with my girlfriend and dog for a bit before I go to sleep. So it would be better if I found a different time to study, or perhaps several times, so I am not studying in one solid block of time.
2. I miss learning words just because I found them entertaining, and learning entire sentences, as I have been doing, is hard work. I think I need to get back to word lists and only learn a few sentences per day, so that there are still things I learn relatively quickly and enjoy learning. It has started to feel a bit like a chore, and that is deadly for me.
3. Similar, it can be easy to get into a rut, and I don't want that either. It is important to occasionally have a big, pleasurable experience that re-energizes you. I think I need to think about what that might be.
4. I probably need to set some new goals and deadlines as well. I had pretty specific goals when I started, and I think they have been replaces with much longer mini-projects. It's one thing to decided to learn the most common six hundred words, which can be completed in about six weeks. Its another to decided to memorize the entirety of "Say It in Yiddish," which might take a year. I need a mix of small goals and big ones, and ways to identify if I am accomplishing these goals.
I will think about all this over the course of the week. Like all flibbertigibbets, my main concern is fun, and if I can't keep this project fun for myself, I run a real risk of losing interest, which would be an awful shame just now.
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