Truth is, when planning our schedule for a day or our study sessions before our exams, most of us often fall victim to the planning fallacy. Sometimes procrastination gets the best of us or when we finally decide to study, Netflix decides to release new binge-worthy tv shows. The good news is that we might have a solution for you — The Pomodoro Technique.
As a senior in high school, when studying for finals, I came across the term Pomodoro. Being the curious creature I am, I did some digging and decided to try it out myself.
What is the Pomodoro technique?
The Pomodoro Technique, also known as the tomato timer, was developed in the late 1980s by a university student Francesco Cirillo, struggling to focus on his studies and to complete assignments.
The tomato technique is a popular time management hack that breaks your work time into chunks of 25 minutes for utmost productivity and focus, allowing 5 minutes breaks in between sessions. This technique is effective to whoever continuously works for eight to ten hours per day, is easily distracted, a procrastinator, or when studying for an exam — convenient for a high schooler or college student.
How does Pomodoro work?
Step 1: Set a timer for 25 minutes.
This can be done using the clock app on your phone however I recommend using the Pomodoro Tracker website or the PomoDone App. The PomoDone App allows you to register with an email address and at the end of the day, gives you a daily detailed report, to review everything you have accomplished.
Step 2: Choose a task you want to work on.
Step 3: 25 minutes later when the timer rings, take a 5 minutes break.
Step 4: Start the timer again and repeat.
Step 5: After 4 Pomodoros, take a 10-15 minutes break.
Step 6: Repeat until you complete your task.
Why you should try the Pomodoro technique?
Because the secret to effective time management lies in thinking in tomatoes. As witless as it sounds, here are 3 reasons why this method seems to be practical and a game-changer:
1. Combating Distractions
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” ~ David Allen
Getting stuff done is hard since our lives revolves around technology. There's always this urgent message that needs to be replied to immediately or the urge to check Instagram quickly. Sometimes these small actions add up and make you lose interest in your work, leading to procrastination.
However, you can train your brain into minimizing these distractions. The Pomodoro Technique helps your mind to resist such interruptions as once the timer is set, you'll yearn to complete your designated task during the session. Besides, removing distractions when you're working, allows you to be more attentive. Furthermore, it's been scientifically proven that 25 minutes is the perfect time span to help you avoid procrastination, be productive, and help stay focused on any task you are tackling.
2. Keep Track Of How You're Spending Your Time
It is crucial to understand how much time it takes to complete a task. The Pomodoro technique will help in holding you accountable for the work that needs to get done, as well as illuminate how your time is spent. At the end of each session, you have a clear measurement of your time, allowing you to reflect and plan for the future more efficiently and accurately. Therefore, time management becomes easier.
You can also take a minute from your break and write down everything you have finished in a daily productivity journal.
3. Increases productivity and reduces mental fatigue
It is undeniable that over the course of a day, the probability of mental fatigue follows. Approaching exam or assignment deadlines can trigger our stress level; specially when we haven't yet completed everything off our to-do list. Although, not all stressful situations can be eluded, Pomodoro can assist in diminishing our stress level. Moreover, this 25-minutes technique is a great example of 'achieve more by doing less'. During the 25 minutes study session, you will be focusing deeply on a single task, meaning with each session, you can accomplish a lot more without feeling burned out. After the timer rings for the break, you can do some stretches and hydrate yourself. Adopting the Pomodoro technique eventually helps you study effectively and increases productivity.
Remember, each Pomodoro is dedicated to one task and each break is a chance to reset and bring your attention back to what you should be working on. This helps to keep the focus on that one task that needs to be done.
“The most productive people in the world get one thing done at a time.”
Why taking a break after each session is a must?
Have you ever wondered why the most successful people don't complain about burn-out? Well, the secret elixir is taking a break.
It is unlikely to reach a maximal productivity by working continuously for long hours. Thus, taking short breaks in between sessions can help you to refresh as well as power you up, allowing your brain to focus better for the next Pomodoro session.
During your break, it is suggested to do anything but work and to avoid screen-time, otherwise you're defeating the purpose of the technique.
Not gonna lie, The Pomodoro Technique has elevated my study habits. Before using Pomodoro, as a matter of fact, I used to plan unrealistic to-do lists, and failing to accomplish all the tasks made me feel unproductive and left me thinking that I wasn't studying enough. However, since I started using Pomodoro, I feel much more consistent with my studies and revisions. The first sessions were a bit tough to follow but with few more sessions, things started to fall in place and I could actually stick to the 5 minutes break. What really got me going is the ticking sound of the clock and the mindset that I'll “reward” myself during the break time.
Also, I could indeed plan my schedule better since I had a better notion of how much time it takes to get a particular task done. For example, when working on a Mathematics practice paper, I would interpret the time taken as 3-4 Pomodoros (1 Pomodoro = 25 minutes). To wind up, this tomato technique has improved my time management skill and boosted my productivity. Over and above, I could finally achieve a steady schedule.