The Pomodoro Technique
With exam season and coursework deadlines looming, it’s really important to find a study method that works best for you. The pomodoro technique is one of my favourite ways to keep myself on task and accountable when doing my work.
Here’s the idea:
1) Choose one task on your To Do list
2) Set a 25 minute timer
3) Spend 25 minutes (thoroughly!) focused on this task
4) Give yourself a 3-5 minute break
After 4-6 pomodoros, take a longer 20 minute break.
Here’s why it’s great:
The idea of the pomodoro technique is to take a task, no matter how big, and make it manageable. Splitting your time into 25 minute blocks encourages focus. Break your larger tasks down into smaller goals you can realistically achieve in 25 minutes (even if it’s just “Answer question 1a.”!) and this way you can feel a sense of regular accomplishment as you make progress towards your overarching goal. Sometimes with larger goals, such as writing a long essay, there’s little tangible progress seen in the early research and planning stages. The pomodoro technique makes it easier to measure your success by the amount of work and hours you’ve put in rather than the amount of words on a page. This helps focus on quality rather than quantity and keep motivated on actionable tasks when the larger picture can sometimes be a little daunting!
Here’s how you can make the most of the pomodoro technique:
1) Whilst the 25 minute intervals are intended to find themselves perfectly between being a manageable time and enough time to get some valuable work done, we all have different methods. Adjust your pomodoro to suit you. If you find yourself with a short attention span, maybe start with 15 minute pomodoros. Conversely, if you find it’s not quite enough time for you to produce an amount of work you’re happy with – extend the length of your pomodoro.
2) Batch tasks that take less than the length of one pomodoro together (e.g. replying to several emails). For longer tasks – break them down into bite-size 25/50 minute smaller tasks and goals.
3) Treat your pomodoro as sacred! That means no distractions – no quickly checking social media, notifications off, phone in a different room… whatever it takes! No Facebook notification is so important it can’t wait 25 minutes until it’s checked – that’s the beauty of the pomodoro technique!
4) If you want to train your focus a little bit harder, don’t reach for your phone until the longer break – this way it’s a lot easier to stay in your flow and not let a 3 minute break turn to 30 minutes.
5) Implement a no-pause rule – be really strict about keeping breaks and pomodoros separate! If you find your attention wondering towards a mid-way break, when you return to your desk be sure to start your pomodoro from the beginning again.
6) Zone in. Whilst you may need 15 tabs open, 5 books and 3 YouTube videos to complete “Write essay.”, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to make the most of all of them in 25 minutes… In fact, it will probably take you 25 minutes to find the one website you need! So, whilst it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to complete your mini-goal, it can be just as beneficial to close a few tabs, take the books off your desk and restrict yourself to only what you need for the next 25 minutes.
7) Track how many pomodoros it takes you to complete similar tasks. This can be a really useful way to help you schedule your time in the future.
8) Challenge yourself to complete a certain amount of pomodoros a day!