Ever sat down, prepared to study for the whole day, and end up procrastinating for most of that day? You are not alone! While we often have the best intentions, planning full days for studying and cramming, our brains are not wired to concentrate for such long periods of time. But fear not, we have just the thing to save you.
Let's get to it: the Pomodoro technique. A technique invented by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. Pomodoro actually means tomato, as the technique is modelled after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer. The technique involves breaking down tasks into intervals of 25-minutes, with breaks interspersed to help you focus better. The routine consists of just six steps:
- Assign the task to be completed and write it down.
- Start the Pomodoro timer (for an interval of 25 minutes).
- Work on the task at hand.
- When the timer rings, take a break (for 5 minutes).
- Repeat steps 2-4 three more times, for a total of four working intervals. Once you have completed a task, you should check it off the list and move onto a new task.
- After completing four intervals, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
This technique works because of focusing during Pomodoro intervals (or working intervals) and assimilation of information during the regular breaks that are taken. As your brain is only working hard during each Pomodoro interval, your brain can concentrate better during the assigned time period. Moreover, because of the assigned task for each Pomodoro interval, your brain should be focused on the single task at hand. This technique helps to prevent your brain from scattering or trying to multitask. And there's even more! Because you have broken down your work day into smaller chunks, your brain feels urgency to complete each task, and is less likely to think that there is plenty of time to complete the tasks later on in the day. During the break times, your brain assimilates the information that it has just absorbed. Your brain also gets a break, which prevents it from becoming fatigued and burnt out.
We all procrastinate. Some of you reading this may even be procrastinating right now. But the fact that you are reading this blog post is a good signal that you are aware of the procrastination, which is the first step to stop it. If you can't be bothered to time yourself, there are many apps out there that will help allocate the time slots. Here are some of my favorites:
-Tomato Timer: This one is very simple to use. Just start the timer for a Pomodoro interval, short break or long break and you are good to go. https://tomato-timer.com/
-Online Timers Pomodoro Timer: This one is more versatile with more options. It allows you to vary time intervals to customize your study session even further. http://www.online-timers.com/pomodoro-timers
-Be Focused Focus Timer: This handy app also helps you track task completion, giving you an overview of your progress in a bar chart. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/be-focused-focus-timer/id973134470?mt=12