Do you find yourself getting distracted and scrolling through social media when in reality you should be working? Are you someone who consistently works past the point of optimal productivity? Do you engage in a lot of open-ended work that takes up a lot of your time? And by the end of it all, do you feel burned out? If your answer to all of the above questions is yes, then the Pomodoro Study Technique is the right option to get your productivity soaring!
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What is Pomodoro Study Technique?
Pomodoro study technique is a popular time management technique that aims at improving one’s focus and productivity. This technique was in the 1990s by an Italian developer and entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo who was then a university student. Cirillo found himself to be struggling to focus on his studies, complete his assignments and manage his time effectively. He decided to devote at least 10 minutes to do his task with utmost attention and focus. For this purpose, he used a tomato-shaped timer and that’s how this study technique came into being. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato.
In this technique, long working hours are broken down into smaller chunks of 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. The 25-minute work and the 5-minute break together is referred to as one Pomodoro. After about 4 Pomodoro cycles, you are allowed to take longer breaks. Pomodoro is a cyclical system where a 25-minute session is long enough to get a good amount of work done but not so long that it’ll leave you fatigued and overwhelmed.
The rationale behind this technique is that setting a 25-minute timer instils a sense of urgency. Rather than squandering away our time, we tend to use our work hours more judiciously. 4 Pomodoro sessions can get you to complete a significant amount of work and leave you with a sense of productivity and accomplishment.
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The Science of Productivity
How to Use Pomodoro Study Technique?
Pomodoro technique is deceivably simple to implement, anywhere and anytime. Here’s a guide on how to use the Pomodoro technique for a task:
- Pick one task to work on: This one is a hard and fast rule. While using the Pomodoro method it is advised that you work on just one task at hand and avoid multi-tasking. The idea behind this is that choosing just one task improves focus and increases productivity.
- Set the timer and don’t rest until done: Even though most people find the 24-minute window helpful, it is not mandatory to set a 25-minute timer. You can choose anywhere between 25 – 40 minutes but make sure you don’t extend beyond 40 minutes.
- Make note of your distractions: In the middle of one work slot, if you are reminded of a particular then, then jot it down on a piece of paper. Make a note of your intrusive thoughts and why your mind wavers. This might help maintain focus on the task at hand.
- Break within sets: After completing one Pomodoro, take a 5-10 minute break and make sure it does not extend beyond that. During your break avoid scrolling through social media or staring at any screen. You could use this break for a short walk, or to make coffee etc.
- Break within sets: A set usually consists of 3-4 pomodoros. After finishing one set you can take a longer break of 30 to 45 minutes. This helps you destress and your brain to recharge.
- Make sure you stop working as soon as the timer ends even if you could complete the task by using an extra couple of minutes. Even if you finish early, you’re not supposed to move to the next task on the to-do list. The idea is to respect the timer and work as per the diktats of the timer.
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Scientific Reason Behind Pomodoro Study Technique
- Short breaks help concentrate better and fight boredom – one of the best features of Pomodoro technique is its ability to arrest your attention for 25 minutes straight. As per research published in the journal Cognition, short breaks help keep your attention span on track as the mind tunes out after working consistently on one project. Brief mental breaks will actually help with better attention and focus on the tasks.
- Many pieces of research have proven that when the work session is interspersed with breaks, we tend to be motivated to get things done. Long stretches of work can cause mental fatigue and cognitive overload. Pomodoro technique helps the brain resist boredom and fuel motivation.
- Mental fatigue can take a toll on our reasoning ability and will power. As per research conducted on Israeli judges, it was found that fatigue can impact decision making. Therefore the built-in breaks of Pomodoro study technique can re-energise the brain so that we don’t resort to simplistic decision making.
- Pomodoro technique beats time-related stress by viewing time as a sequenced series of events such as having a shower, eating breakfast, heading to work, and so on. A work schedule is set up with breaks that punctuate our routine. This helps reduce stress associated with meeting deadlines.
Even though Pomodoro is a highly simplistic technique that requires merely a timer and pen and paper, there are several excellent apps that can aid you with the Pomodoro sessions, given below are some of them:
- Tomato timer – this is a basic, easy – to – use timer and has the sequencing already broken out into pomodoros, five-minute breaks and a longer break.
- Focus keeper – this is an ios based application that allows you to customize. It allows you to pick from different themes to sounds and alarms levels that vary by session, short break and long break. It also allows you to monitor your productivity over time from 3 days.
- Focus – to – do: In this app, the user can create projects to better categorize sessions and set task priorities. This provides a clear picture of what one needs to work on.
- Focus timer – this is also an ios based application that allows you to customize, review work history to see how your focus is improving, easily see how much time is left in your work session. There is also a star-based rating system that helps stay motivated.
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This was all about the brilliant Pomodoro technique. This technique is claimed to have helped 2 million people across the world. Let us know in the comments if it helped you. For more interesting blogs, tune into Leverage Edu.