The Pomodoro Technique is one of my favorite techniques to fight procrastination and maintain focus and productivity throughout the day. Keep visiting to know how to incorporate this into your study routine.
The History – First, we will discuss a little bit about the history of the Pomodoro Technique. So, it was invented back in the early 1990s by Francesco Cirillo. He named it the Pomodoro Technique after the tomato shaped timer that he used to actually track his work as a university student. Since then, this technique has gained much popularity in various productivity and self-improvement circles. So the theory behind it is that any large task or any series of tasks can be broken down into short timed intervals called Pomodoro’s. Each is separated by a short break. This takes advantage of the fact that our brains have limited attention spans. So, as to how to use it, the only item you really need is a timer. You can go old-fashioned or use your phone or computer with an app. One of the favorite app is called 30/30 on the iPhone. It’s favorite because of its clean interface and customizability thus making it easy to do the traditional Pomodoro or customize it to your liking.
So first, choose a task or series of tasks that you need to accomplish. Next, set the timer to 25 minutes. Continue to work on the task until the timer goes off. Avoid constantly checking the timer. Once the timer goes off, take a short break for five minutes. Get up during this time, do not take the break at the same spot that you were working. I personally like getting up, holding a third-world squat, stretching, moving around. And that was also the time to use the bathroom and grab a refill for your water. After four Pomodoro cycles, take a longer break of 20 minutes. Rinse and repeat.
Distractions: during your Pomodoro cycles, do your best to limit distractions. The whole point is 25 minutes of intense focus. Don’t be checking Facebook or YouTube or the other website on and off. Focus on the task at hand. So I personally put my phone on either airplane mode or do not disturb mode. But be careful because ‘do not disturb’ mode can actually affect the notifications on your timer app if you are using your smart phone app. If someone else comes knocking for help, use the inform, negotiate, callback strategy which was suggested by Francesco Cirillo himself.
So, informed the distracting party that you’re in the middle of something, negotiate a time when you can get back to them and call back when you’re Pomodoro is complete and you’re ready to address their need.
When to use it: I utilise the technique in the MCA level but it can be useful in school level also, it is one of the key strategies that I wish I started using in my MCA study. So, I often use this when I can’t get myself motivated to study for a subject that is either particularly dull or boring.
So anyways, I get my Pomodoro app started and I tell myself I just need to do one cycle of 25 minutes. By making this commitment small, to just do a small amount of work, it’s easier to get started. And once I finish that cycle, it always feels less daunting as I’ve built momentum. At this time, it’s usually not a problem to keep moving forward with my work. I’ve also found it useful for reading textbook chapters, going through my on key deck and getting started on background reading for coding projects. Remember though that, Pomodoro is ultimately productivity system to serve you, therefore don’t feel obligated to always take a break if you’re in the groove. For longer days where you’ll be studying foremost of the day such as the day before a final exam, I recommend you do take breaks as this sustains your stamina and prevents burnout. Sometimes though it’s best to just keep chugging along once you’ve built momentum.
While Pomodoro has been conducive to background research reading for myself, I find that the writing and the analysis part of coding & research requires prolonged periods of concentration and therefore I prefer to not take the break after 25 minutes. At this time, I either modify my Pomodoro or I just go for long stretches without taking a break. So then, going on to modifications again, because Pomodoro is a template to help you increase your productivity, you may want to actually alter the timing scheme. So, for some tasks, it may be best to alter the timing intervals from a 25/ 50 minute allocation, which is the default, to something like a 50/10. I’ve used the 50/10 minute intervals with good results. Figure out what works best for you. You can change it up however. Again, the 30/30 app allows for flexibility in this regard and has a great interface.