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The Pomodoro Technique To Improve Study Session

3 Min Read
January 18, 2023

by: Claresta Audrey Tjandra

Chances are you're bombarded with school assignments, group projects, and lengthy to-do lists. So, how can you get it all done efficiently? Meet the Pomodoro Technique, a popular time-management method invented by Italian Francesco Cirillo in his university days. 

Cirillo, like any other student, was struggling to complete his assignments and focus on his studies. He then discovered a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (pomodoro in Italian) to track his 25-minute work intervals, and the Pomodoro technique was born.

The process is quite simple. When facing a large task, such as studying for your final exam, break your work down into short, timed chunks spaced by periods of rest. Why? Because taking regular breaks trains your brain to focus for short amounts of time, helps you combat distractions, and complete tasks in short bursts, while giving the break you need to relax and de-stress. 

In five steps, here's how you can get started with Pomodoro:

  • Pick a task you want to work on
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes
  • Work until the timer 'dings' and record or take note of where you left off
  • Enjoy your 5-minute break - stretch, grab a drink, and stay away from your work
  • After four sessions of pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes

The key to the technique is the timer. Watching the timer wind down instills a sense of urgency. Instead of thinking you have endless time to get things done, you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress as possible on a task before taking a break. 

Consistently timing your activities makes you more aware of where your time goes and combats the time you got distracted. You'll learn to "respect the tomato," which will not only help you manage your workload better, but will also help you cure that burnt-out feeling. 

If you want to start using the Pomodoro technique to maximise your productivity, here are some pointers:

1. Set aside one Pomodoro for small tasks

You can combine simple tasks with others if those tasks will take less than one Pomodoro. For example, 'set schedule for the weekend', 'read math class syllabus', and 'write to-do lists' could go together in one Pomodoro session.

2. Experiment with the length of your pomodoros

Different people work different ways to suit their needs. Writers, for example, go into a flow for an hour, whereas athletes practice in 15-minute bursts before catching their breath.

If you feel that 25 minutes might be too long and can't get yourself to stay focused, you can try a 15-, 10-, or even 5-minute pomodoro. Try experimenting your intervals based on your available energy, the type of work or even the number of distractions.


3. Practice, practice and practice!

On your initial attempts at Pomodoro-ing, you might be having trouble avoiding distractions and maintaining attention. But bear in mind not to give up as it's normal to find it difficult in adapting to the technique. After a few sessions, you'll eventually get used to the pattern.


Is the Pomodoro Technique for you? Try the Pomodoro Technique if you:

  • Get easily distracted or love day-dreaming
  • Have lots of lengthy tasks that could take unlimited amounts of time to complete
  • Spend your time moving around from one thing to another
  • Constantly get exhausted or stressed out at the end of the day

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