Learning to manage your time efficiently is a huge part of the post-secondary experience. We can be tempted to try and work in big marathon sessions, but the Pomodoro Technique teaches us to sprint.
The brilliance of the Pomodoro Technique is in how simple it is to follow. Start by making a to-do list of everything you want to get done during your workday. For example, say I had to read two chapters of my textbook, outline an essay, and study for a quiz.
Next, pick a single task to focus on.
Set a timer for 25 minutes. Start working on the task you chose. Don’t flip back and forth between the textbook and the essay outline, and don’t take any time to check incoming texts or social media. This is one pomodoro (the Italian word for tomato, named after the tomato shaped timer the creator of the method had on hand).
After the timer goes off, take a five-minute break.
Continue this for four pomodoros, then take a 15 to 30-minute break.
Rinse and repeat until the end of your workday.
That’s all there is to the Pomodoro Technique. Now let’s get into why it works.
Why it Works
The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is in its simplicity. It breaks down long tasks into short intervals that are easier for your mind to digest and easier for you to stay focused on. It’s unrealistic for many to ignore their phone and outside distractions for two hours on end, but 25 minutes give you enough time to hunker down without losing your mind.
The Pomodoro Technique is also completely customizable. Don’t feel constrained to follow the 25/5/15-30 breakdown. While this is what’s recommended, when I began, I started with 15-minute pomodoros and worked my way up. You can also go in the opposite direction and extend the length of your pomodoros if 25 minutes is less than you feel you need to really get into a task. Just ensure you’re always working on the task you set out to in the beginning. If you finish your task before the pomodoro is over, use this time to build on your skills instead of adding it to your break.
Using the Pomodoro Technique takes some getting used to, but don’t give up! Try it for a couple hours each day and see how it changes your study habits. Before you know it, you’ll be counting your whole day in tomatoes!