PTPL 39: Obsidian’s Spaced Repetition Plugin ROCKS For Language Learning

Ellane W
4 min readFeb 13
Plain text, paper, less 39 graphic by Author

PLUS Creating a DIY Rocket Book, and increasing productivity by overcoming horror vacui

This week

  • Horror Vacui is the fear of empty space. I comment on how overcoming it can lead to better design (graphic, product, UX, life)
  • How Obsidian’s Spaced Repetition plugin is helping me learn French more effectively than paid alternatives
  • I’ve figured out how to make a DIY Rocket Book!

Productivity Tips and Inspiration

This past week I expanded some thoughts I wrote last year, in response to someone who used Word files and Google Docs as their second brain: Do You Need a Notemaking App, or Are Word Files Enough? My answer: it depends! Click on the link to find out why.

A white archway at the end of a corridor is surrounded on all sizes by busy patterns on traditional blue and white tiles. The floor is black and brown chec
Santuario de Ntra. Sra. de Nazaré (Portugal). Azulejos. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

On Horror Vacui, and the importance of being bored

When Slava Polonski, PhD talked about breaking free from the fear of empty space, they were referring to principles of design.

But horror vacui can apply to so much more, including what we do — and don’t — fill our lives with. Having more of something can suggest affluence, while less is associated with poverty, but the inverse can also be true!

When every available space is filled with even the most beautiful, well thought out details, there’s no room left to learn the lessons that cannot come without room to move. Boredom is willing to teach us things we can’t learn when we’re constantly in motion, but we have to let it speak.

Deliberately leave empty spaces in your calendar for just being. Not for filling the mind with external input like news, social media feed, or replying to messages. This space is for listening to the spaces between.

  • Rest, walk, draw, listen to music, be still
  • 5 minutes is enough, but 15 or more would be better
  • Do this no matter how busy you are
Ellane W

Designer and educational publisher for 30 years+. Plain-text advocate. Still using paper, but less of it.