I started a new regimen immediately after the NSC and I will have made a complete pass through all the OWL 2-8s by the next NSC. I've learned all the 2-5s already, so those are just review. For the 6-8s, I'm breaking them up in groups of 100 to learn each day; 6s by playability, 7s and 8s by probability. Fortunately there are fewer than 36,500 of each length so it will take less than a year. Here's the breakdown:
6s: 15,788 words = 158 days
7s: 24,029 words = 241 days
8s: 29,766 words = 298 days
It's nice that the number of words allows me to skip about one day per week and still make it through the 8s. The 8s are what I'm most concerned about, and I know there will be days when I won't have time to study. So far I've been studying each morning on the train to work, and it takes about an hour each day. I expect that to increase as the cardbox grows, and once I start getting to words I've never seen before.
Here's the regimen. My overall philosophy is to keep the cardbox as small as possible, since reviewing cardbox words can easily overwhelm learning new words. So I only populate the cardbox with words I really need to review, and try to keep everything else out. To that end, I only put words in the cardbox after I miss them twice, and then I remove them after I get them right four times in a row.
Each day, I do the following. I set a timer of 5 seconds per word for every quiz, except for the cardbox review, which gets 10 seconds per word.
1. Quiz anything that's due in the cardbox.
2. Quiz missed 6s from the quiz I did 5 days ago. Add any missed words to the cardbox.
3. Quiz 100 new 6s by playability. Add any incorrect guesses to the cardbox.
4. Quiz missed 7s from the quiz I did 5 days ago. Add any missed words to the cardbox.
5. Quiz 100 new 7s by probability. Add any incorrect guesses to the cardbox.
6. Quiz missed 8s from the quiz I did 5 days ago. Add any missed words to the cardbox.
7. Quiz 100 new 8s by probability. Add any incorrect guesses to the cardbox.
8. If there's time, quiz 50-100 random 4s. Add any missed words to the cardbox.
9. If there's time, quiz 50-100 random 5s. Add any missed words to the cardbox.
10. Remove anything in cardbox 4.
I'm doing at least 300 words per day, which is totally manageable, plus whatever I missed 5 days ago and whatever is due in the cardbox, plus some 4s and 5s if I find some extra time at lunch or something. I'm usually done studying before work in the morning. That gives me the rest of the day for the anagramming parts of my brain to rest, and for me to do other things like, you know, my actual job, family stuff, and Zyzzyva iPhone development. Today I got through the 2600th words of each length, and I'm already starting to feel so much more in control of my word knowledge than I did a month ago. I expect the dynamic to change once I start learning brand new words, and I'm looking forward to it.