The BEST Way to Study a Language: Animedoro!

Animedoro - The best way to study a language. Plurilingualism

You have likely heard of the pomodoro method of studying, but have you heard of Animedoro?

Animedoro is the best way to structure your language learning for maximum benefits.

Below, I talk about what it is and how it works, why it works, and offer 5 tips and tricks to help you start today!

What it is and How it works:

Creator Josh Chen talking about his (genius) idea to combine anime and pomodoro studying!

Josh Chen is the creator of this unique take on pomodoro.

With the orginial pomodoro, you typically study for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. This is one “pomodoro” (i.e round). After three pomodoros, you take a longer break of around 20 minutes. You then repeat it all from the beginning until you are done studying.

The idea is that 25 minutes is the ideal time for the brain to focus on something at optimal levels. The 5 minute break is then the “reward” for studying and should restart your focus and brainpower for the next pomodoro.

However, Josh found that it takes him time to ease into studying and actually start to focus on his work. So although 25 might be the idea time for optimal focus, he needed time to start working, start to focus, and then to actually accomplish anything. The 25 minutes was just too short to get much done.

To fix this issue, his method includes (roughly) 45 minutes of studying. He says 40-60, depending on your task and when you finish is best. This way, you can hopefully achieve that full optimal focus time and perhaps even achieve a full task or two without being cut short.

Josh also finds that a 5 minute break is not very rewarding and not enough time to do much of anything. So Josh decided to make the breaks longer. In fact, 15 minutes longer so that each break is 20 minutes – just the right amount of time to watch one episode of anime (or any short show).

I use the animedoro method almost every time I study.

If I am studying a language, I will try to watch an episode of a show in that same language during my breaks if I am feeling very motivated. If I am not too motivated or just tired, I will take my break to relax and watch a show in my native language or another language.

Customize your rounds as desired, per your motivation and language levels!

Why Animedoro works:

The benefits of pomordoro are many. The benefits of animedoro, for many people, are more.

As Josh mentions in his video, studying for roughly 45 minutes generally allows you to complete full tasks. In general, 45 minutes is enough time to finish a good chunk of a big task, one or two mid-size tasks, or a couple of small tasks. There is more wiggle room in planning what tasks you’ll work on and more wiggle room in trying to fit them into the time without worry of being cut off or finished early – as with 25 minutes.

You have more time to get into a flow and grow some momentum. If you do have a bigger assignment, you don’t have to worry as much about the timer going off partway through and killing your momentum.

The “reward” break also tends to feel like more of a reward. As Josh says in the video above, “you aren’t doing 25 minutes of work just to eat a frickin’ granola bar“.

He’s got a serious point though. What can you actually achieve in 5 minutes? While 5 minutes is better than no break at all, I much prefer a 20 minute break. This allows me to recover and relax and just feels like much more of a reward. I feel ready to jump back into studying and I even look forward to it, knowing that I will only be able to watch the next episode of my show after my next study round.

5 Tips and tricks:

1.) Pick a good show!

One of the most important parts of animedoro is picking your show. I would recommend only picking short shows (20 minutes) as this will allow you to fit in an entire episode during your break.

Should you do wish to watch a longer show (I have watched K-dramas when studying Korean!), just make sure that you have the discipline to pause it, when your timer goes off. If you trust yourself to pause it though, then the anticipation to finish the second half after studying might be a big motivator!

If my skills are advanced enough, I like to watch shows in my target language with subtitles also in my TL. Does anybody know the show and episode this screenshot is from? πŸ™‚
2.) Minimize any possible distractions!

The next important tip, as Josh also mentions is to minimize distractions. It is important to turn your phone off or on silent and study in a quiet room, if possible.

He also mentions that even in these ideal conditions, you might need to build up to 40-60 minutes of study time. It’s not easy and does take some getting used to, especially if you are used to the shorter pomodoro rounds. However, as Josh mentions (and as I know from personal experience), you do get better at it with time!

3.) Make a “Shitty draft” first!

The Shitty Draft“. Josh talks about this in his video and I do use it often. This is best for those assignments you keep putting off that are quite difficult. The idea is to take the assignment and just go ham. Finish as much as you can, as quickly as you can. After you have gotten it all done, then you go through and edit it and make it presentable.

Basically, do a half-ass job today, just to get it done, and then edit it tomorrow.

This does NOT work for all assignments, though. I find it’s best for essays, journal entries, and assignments where you must produce something, often written, yourself (rather than answering multiple choice questions or completing a quiz, etc.).

Recently, I just had to write a 2,000 word essay in German and I used this technique to finish it in record time. I word vomited all I needed one round, cleaned it up nicely the next two rounds, and got a 93%! And, of course, on my breaks I watched some Avatar: The Last Airbender in Spanish!

4.) Get up and move!

I would highly recommend using at least some breaks to get up and move around! Many studies have shown it helps you learn measurably better if you move around on your study breaks (or even while learning).

If you live near a park or a great, safe area to walk in, 15-20 minutes is a great amount of time to go for a walk!

You could also do home workouts, do some yoga / stretching, or just shake your body out for a minute or two.

I’ll admit that I am oftentimes a real couch potato, but if I only really want to watch TV one day, I will at least try to combine being active and watching TV on one of my breaks! Here are some great videos I use to achieve this:

5.) Be gentle and patient with yourself!

The most important tip of all: be gentle with yourself.

Allow yourself longer breaks if needed. Try to move around during your break (see above), grab a tea/coffee/hot cocoa, grab some good (so important to remember to eat while studying!), get to bed at a decent time, etc.

And if anything isnt working for you – change it! You dont need to study 40-60 minutes. You dont need to do any of this! This is just an idea for you to take and make your own. You can change it in any way to fit your lifestyle better. Test out new things and see what works best for you and then use that! That is the best way to study a language.

Have you ever used animedoro? If so, let me know what you think of it below, as well as any tips or tricks you have to share!

Don’t forget to check out my language learning printables on the website shop here for even more language learning help and resources! πŸ™‚

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