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How to use online flashcards in eight surprising ways (and how to create them).

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Image created using the A.I. Midjourney

Chances are you haven't used flashcards since school, even though they're an incredibly useful tool for self-development, not just exams and trivia. Here are 8 unusual ways you can benefit from using flashcards - with examples of how Clearer Thinking founder Spencer Greenberg uses our free flashcard tool, Thought Saver, to improve his life.

To get you started on your journey of using flashcards to improve your life, we’ve assembled for you the key takeaways from this article (as flashcards, of course!):

1. Record the most meaningful compliments you receive.

Why only benefit from a compliment once? Make it permanent by using Thought Saver to remind yourself of it from time to time.

2. Record every decently good idea you have (with "tags" to make each one easy to find).

If you have an interesting idea, why not save it forever? You never know when you might be able to use it to solve a problem or to help someone solve one of theirs.

3. Record any fact you learn about the world that really surprises you.

When something surprises you, it suggests that your model of reality was off in some way, and it can be helpful to be reminded of this data point to help make your understanding more accurate in the future!

4. Record intentions for what you'd like to eventually do.

Whether it’s an intention to learn something, a place you'd like to go, or a self-improvement approach you'd like to experiment with. By recording these with a tool like Thought Saver, which reminds you of them periodically, you increase the chance you really do them.

5. Remind yourself of behaviors you'd like to have in specific situations, to replace your unhelpful default behaviors.

By setting an "implementation intention" of how you'd like to behave differently at particular times/places, you increase the chance of that new behavior.

6. Create a flashcard for every interesting idea you learn that would be valuable to remember.

Most ideas will disappear from memory without repetition, and even the ideas we do remember will stay fresher with occasional repetition, making them easier to apply whenever they are useful.

7. Capture incredible true stories that you want to be reminded of.

For inspiration, or emulation, or because they teach you something valuable about the world.

8. Keep track of quotes that express ideas you would benefit from thinking about more often.

Great quotations can capture valuable ideas in elegant ways. They can also reinforce or evidence important claims. Make them more memorable by using a tool like Thought Saver to remind you of them periodically.

What’s the best way to use online flashcards?

Research shows that flashcards are more effective with spaced repetition (repeatedly viewing your flashcards over time, rather than just cramming shortly before they might be useful). It’s best to use long delays for content you know better, and short delays for content you don't recall as well. You can try our free tool, Thought Saver, which makes spaced repetition effortless to integrate into your life The Clearer Thinking team benefits greatly from it - and we hope to bring these benefits to you too!

Try it free!

If you are interested in remembering the most important ideas in your life or found any of these uses of flashcards intriguing, we'd love it if you'd try our free tool, Thought Saver. We’d also love to hear any feedback you have!

If this interests you, we have a podcast episode about habit formation that you might like:

Click here to access other streaming options and show notes.


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