Learning Eye

The Pomodoro Technique

Francesco Cirillo devised and named the Pomodoro Technique as a way to help people take a big task and break it down into more manageable chunks. This technique involves training your brain to focus completely on what you need to do for short periods of time, taking short breaks in between. Students can apply the Pomodoro Technique to help them study and meet assignment deadlines.

What Is the Pomodoro Technique?

The word "pomodoro" is Italian for "tomato." Cirillo named his technique after the kitchen timer that inspired it because the timer looked like a tomato. The technique involves breaking your work into 25-minute sessions, with each session called a Pomodoro. After completing a Pomodoro, you take a five-minute break. After finishing four consecutive Pomodoros (with five-minute breaks between each), you take a longer break to recharge your brain.

Planning Out the Process

To use this technique, you will first need to look at what you need to get done to figure out how many Pomodoros you will need for it. For example, if you have a reading assignment that's 20 pages long, this work will probably take you about three hours to complete if you include note-taking and time to review what you've read. This would translate into roughly six Pomodoros, plus a longer break between the fourth and fifth Pomodoros. You will also need to prepare yourself by gathering everything you will need to complete the work before you begin. Have a timer, notepad, and pen handy, too.

Putting it Into Practice

To begin the first Pomodoro, gather your materials and find a quiet place where you can concentrate without interruptions. Set the timer for 25 minutes and work on the assignment without any distractions until the timer buzzes. If any other thoughts distract you during the Pomodoro, write them down on your notepad and go back to your assignment. If someone interrupts you, tell them you're busy and ask them to wait until the Pomodoro is over. When the timer goes off, stop working and get up from your desk. Walk around a little, get a drink, and focus your mind on other things to give yourself a break. After the break, reset the timer and go back to work. After you finish four Pomodoros, take a 30-minute break. You might eat a meal or a snack or get some exercise during this longer break.

Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

Many people have found that using this technique helps them increase their productivity. Not only can you get more done during your work time, but because you're more focused, the quality of your work often improves as well. With this time management tactic, you might also find that you end up with more uninterrupted free time that you can enjoy without worrying about the assignments that are still hanging over your head.