Eternally behind in my repetitions

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I notice that I am perpetually falling further behind in my repetitions, even if I consistently dedicate a full 30 minutes per day to them.

I doubt the average person spends even that small amount of time invested in focused and deliberate learning. People have jobs. They have chores and physical exercise to do. They have households to run, kids to raise, relationships to sustain. For the average person, 30 minutes per day is asking A LOT--and, yet, apparently that amount is not even enough to maintain what learning I have so far achieved in my relatively short life. (Not. Even. Close.)

I have been eager to learn something new, but because I refuse to permit myself until I have caught up on the old, it is almost as if I am trapped. I have heard most of the advice: Eliminate leeches. Be more selective of what you retain. Stir in a little new knowledge with the old to bolster motivation. This is all good advice, and I will continue to follow it.

But the point is that 30 minutes per day seems like a very reasonable amount of daily study time. Even if I wanted to invest more than that amount, I would hesitate to do so if only because it means I am probably neglecting other important aspects of life. And, yet, apparently it isn't nearly enough for my feeble human brain to remember what I want to remember.

That is all. I don't really have a question. This is not a complaint about SuperMemo; it is a complaint about what SuperMemo reveals about the limits of our capacity.

OP Answer/Follow-up

After posting this, I discovered later that SuperMemo was not reporting all of my leeches. Apparently if you perform a search for leeches by using View > Other > Leeches (or SHIFT+F3), the filter criteria that you select in the related form will become the new definition of a Leech once you click OK and initiate a search. This means that if you have "Wizard" selected in Tools > Options > Leeches, those criteria will be the new basis for determining whether the Leech Wizard appears.

At some point in the distant past I must have fiddled with the leech filters, not realizing that I was changing what will cause the leech wizard to appear or not appear!

After resetting the leech filter criteria to "Lapses: MIN 5 MAX 100" and "Interval: MIN 0 MAX 60" I discovered that over 25% of my daily items are leeches! With the wizard now appearing when it should, I should hopefully be able to start bringing my repetitions back under control.


Some suggestions:

  • hunt leeches relentlessly! delete them, send them far into the future, give them low priority, or put them in the pending queue; reformulate (e.g. along the 20 rules)
  • never look at Outstanding, prioritize your material and do as much as you have time for learning; low priority material can wait, even indefinitely
  • try incremental reading, it makes you feel you always learn something new, and cloze deletion can help you with leeches (see Multiple lapses when learning English)