Does the Pomodoro technique for studying work?
What do you do for 25 minutes while studying?
Do you happen to catch yourself staring outside the window while studying? Or end up watching cat videos when you were trying to focus?
You’re not alone.
While studying can be a lot of fun, there are also some dull moments. And how you deal with those moments will make a big difference in your studying success.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make studying easier even when you don’t feel like it. A great method to boost your study motivation is the Pomodoro technique.
And when you set the right goals in combination with this method, you’ll reach its full potential. So if you already set process goals, you’ll find it much easier to achieve those goals with the Pomodoro method.
In this article, you’ll learn how the Pomodoro technique for studying works. We also included some useful tools so you can get started straight away, feel better, and achieve more study success.
Let’s dive in!
What is Pomodoro?
Pomodoro is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo. Francesco developed this technique because he was struggling to stay focused on his studies in his college years. He needed a solution to improve his focus. That’s why he created the Pomodoro technique for studying.
When you’re in college, you often have to deal with big projects and assignments. These may leave you feeling anxious about the task. Will you be able to deliver on this assignment on time? When those thoughts get inside your head, we find it challenging to begin studying. And somehow, our mind tries to find ways to avoid the task.
The Pomodoro technique for studying splits your time into bite-size chunks of 25-minutes. During those 25-minute chunks, you work on the task at hand until the time’s up. You then follow it up with a short 5- to 10-minute break so that you can process the information and regain your energy.
This method is a great way to help you get started and also to stay productive. Use the Pomodoro technique for studying to get more done in less time.
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Why is a Pomodoro session 25 minutes?
The big problem with study assignments is that the task often overwhelms us. We don’t know where to start, are scared to do it wrong, or not reach the deadline in time. And what do you do when you feel that way?
You begin to procrastinate, right? Procrastination happens because it’s your mind’s job to avoid danger and failure. After all, back when we were hunters and gatherers, mistakes were detrimental. Eating the wrong fruit could mean the end of your life.
But though these treats are no longer present in the modern world, your brain is still wired to think that way. And though there are many ways to stop procrastination, the 25-minute mark is a very effective one. You only have to focus on the 25-minutes that’s in front of you right now.
Not only helps the 25-minute timer to stay concentrated, but it also creates a sense of urgency. After all, you want to get your studying done and 25 minutes isn’t a lot of time. This sense of urgency is a psychological trigger to stay focused on the task and helps you to get it done faster.
And finally, the forced breaks prevent you from turning into a zombie. This study about attention shows that we are at our peak concentration state around 10- to 20-minutes into an activity. And after the 20-minute mark, a decline would set in with an absolute low at around 50-minutes. So the timing of the 5-minute breaks is perfect when you use the Pomodoro technique for studying.
Why is it called Pomodoro?
Do you know these old school kitchen timers that you can twist and then it starts ticking down? It’s perfect so you don’t overcook your veggies. Those timers come in different shapes and sizes. And Francesco used a tomato-looking timer to clock his 25-minutes of studying.
So where does the word Pomodoro come from then? Well, Francesco is Italian and the Italian word for tomato is, you guessed it, Pomodoro. The 25-minute intervals of studying are what Francesco called a Pomodoro.
How to Use the Pomodoro Technique?
Do you feel like Francesco and can’t focus for hours on studying straight? The Pomodoro method is a great way to chunk your assignments and do them in less time. But how does the Pomodoro technique for studying work exactly?
If you want to use this method, there are only a few simple steps that you should follow. It’s this simplicity that makes the method so effective. Here are the 5 steps that you can follow to use the Pomodoro technique for studying more effectively:
- Decide what task you want to get done. Narrow your focus to one specific task. If you’ve got a big to-do list, pick your biggest and most meaningful task.
- Set a 25-minute timer. Within these 25 minutes, you have to focus 100% on the task at hand. Turn your phone on airplane mode if you tend to get distracted by it. After the time’s up, you’re free to turn your phone back on.
- Stop when the timer hits. Stop even if you’re in the middle of your reading material or project. Stopping in the middle also helps you to get a running start when you jump back on the task. It’s great for getting back into the flow fast.
- Take a short 5- to 10-minute break. Use this time to disconnect from your study. Do something to relax a little. If you decided to put away the phone, you can use this time to check for messages, but if you can go longer without it, leave it turned off.
- Repeat this process 3 to 4 times and then take a longer break. The recommended break by Francesco is 20- to 30-minutes.
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The Pomodoro technique for studying is a fantastic way to get more done in your time. And though the above structure is the official way of doing it, feel free to adjust the method a little and mold it to your specific needs.
For example, I like to take a bigger break of about 45- to 60-minutes after 4 intervals of Pomodoro. And I use that time to do some exercise, have a great lunch, or go for a rejuvenating walk in nature.
What to do in the 5-minute Pomodoro break?
Wondering what you should do in your 5-minute Pomodoro break? There are several ways to have a short but refreshing disconnect from studying. Here are a couple of options.
- Make yourself a cup of coffee or thee
- Make yourself a smoothie or juice
- Read a couple of pages from a book you like
- Go for a brisk walk around the block
- Do a couple of yoga poses to combat tightness
- Do a very short workout session with some pushups and squats
- Listen to a couple of your favorite songs and sing along
- Engage in a short meditation session
- Visualize what your dream life looks like
- Make a little progress in a Sudoku or crossword puzzle
- Take a few minutes for an amazing self-massage
It’s best to stay off your phone throughout this time. You know how we all are. Once we grab our phones to check some quick messages, we find ourselves an hour watching funny cat videos.
If you feel the need to check for your messages because it helps you to focus on the next Pomodoro section, then do it. But only if you can’t focus on your studies if you don’t check your phone. You’ll stay more productive and focused on the Pomodoro technique for studying if you don’t use your phone during these smaller breaks.
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There are many Pomodoro timers to use and these come in all shapes and sizes.
Of course, you could use the timer on your phone. The problem with that is that you may feel tempted to look at your messages or social media while you should focus on studying. Also, if a message pops up at the same time you want to start the timer, you may feel like procrastinating.
There are also many simple timers on the internet that you use. But you may not always have to do your studying on the computer. And even if you do, there are much better Pomodoro timers than the built-in desktop timer.
Let’s dive into the best tools to effectively use the Pomodoro technique for studying.
Best Pomodoro App
The best Pomodoro app is Focus To-Do Pomodoro Timer & To-Do List by SuperElement Soft. And it’s more than only a Pomodoro app. It’s an app that’s also a task management tool.
The great part about this app is that you can personalize the Pomodoro section of this app. For example, you can customize the timeframe and break lengths. You can also use this app in combination with white noise. White noise reduces the background noise, which helps you to concentrate better.
The task management section of this tool provides a way to organize and schedule your tasks. By doing so, you don’t have to spend your 5-minute break to think about what task to do next. You can plan out everything in advance with ease.
Finally, this app syncs between your phone and computer. And it also comes with a chrome extension. And the best part is that this app is free to use. Of course, if you like it, you can get the premium version too.
This app works both on Android, iOS devices, and Windows.
First Time Studying with Pomodoro?
If you want to try the Pomodoro technique for studying for the first time, then a Pomodoro web-app is a great addition. Preferably a tool that’s easy to use and without distractions.
A simple web-based Pomodoro timer is the TomatoTimer. It’s minimalistic, easy to use, and without any of the distractions features, you find on most productivity websites that offer free tools. The only downside to using this timer is that you cannot personalize the timer. But if you’re trying the technique for the first time, the pre-set times should do the job.
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Are you Ready to Take Studying to a New Level?
The Pomodoro technique is an effective way to become more productive. It helps you to finish big study assignments faster. By only focusing on small 25-minute chunks of work, you lower the anxiety and fear of failing the task at hand.
Not only will you feel more productive, but you might find joy in this time-restricting technique. With only 25 minutes on the clock, you may become addicted to getting more done in that time. And you reward yourself with a short break afterward too.
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Although we can talk for hours about different apps and customizations of the Pomodoro technique, it’s up to you to try it first. Get some experience and test some different time chunks to see what works best for your unique learning style.
And let us know what you think about the Pomodoro technique for studying in the comments below!
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Does the Pomodoro Technique for studying work for you?
More About Guest Contributor
Mick is a life enthusiast who used to feel lost and struggled with depression. Through personal development, he was able to find meaning and change the course of his life. Mick now helps others transform their lives through self-mastery. Learn more about the lessons he learned on Insideout Mastery.
Last Updated on January 8, 2021