Getting burnt-out quickly when studying or learning a new skill? Your time-management might be the problem…
Ever sit down to study to learn a new skill, only to burn out after half an hour. Despite your best intentions, your brain can’t handle concentrating for long? Don’t worry; there’s nothing wrong with you! As a matter of fact, the brain actually works better in short bursts of learning with breaks in-between. The problem is stopping and starting can be incredibly distracting. That’s where the Pomodoro technique comes in!
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique is a time-management technique developed by productivity pioneer Francesco Cirillo. It is a method of organizing short sessions of work and breaks using a timer. The name came from the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used when timing his work sessions. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. 🍅
The Technique involves setting a 25-minute timer, a.k.a “one Pomodoro,” and working for the full duration. Once the timer goes off, take a short break, 5 minutes, or so. It’s essential to relax during this break fully. Grab a coffee, have a quick walk around your office or home. After this short break, reset the timer and work for another 25 minutes. Repeat this process until you have completed 4 Pomodoros. After your 4th Pomodoro, you take an extended break for around 20-30 minutes. You can then repeat this whole process for as long as you want or until you complete your work.
If you’ve read our guide to the ping-pong learning technique, you’ll know this process works so well because it enables to brain’s focus and diffuse mode effectively. Essentially, your mind has time to background-process the newly acquired information.
The Pomodoro technique is also useful in helping you organizing your breaks. Many times we’ll get distracted, start other tasks, and sometimes not even return to work! By pre-planning and timing breaks, you can stay on track!
Pomodoro Technique Step-By-Step
Let’s have a quick recap of the technique step-by-step before we move on. Don’t feel like your sessions have to be 25 minutes; control the time of your Pomodoros as you think is right for you.
- Start a 25-minute timer
- Work until the timer rings
- Take a 5-minute break
- Reset the timer and work for another 25 minutes
- Repeat until you have completed 4 x 25 work sessions
- Take an extended break [25-30 minutes]
- Repeat until work in completed
Different Types of Pomodoro Timers
Firstly, we have the option of a physical timer. With all the digital devices available nowadays, there’s no need to go out and buy a physical timer. However, many Pomodoro practitioners choose to use one to remove the digital device from their working environment.
The second option is a Pomodoro browser extension. You can add this to your web browser and control the timer from your taskbar. The limitation of this type of timer is that it only works for computer-based work.
The third option, which is to use a smartphone application. There are many Pomodoro and work timing apps to choose from. Of course, you can simply use the timer/countdown application that comes with your phone. There’s no need to get fancy with it!
Lastly, we have an option popular with students, and that is the YouTube Pomodoro video timer. There are loads of videos to choose from; you can opt for a simple bleep timer video, or even a study-with-me video timer, which has become very popular in the past couple of years.
It really doesn’t matter which one you choose. Whatever works for you!
If you’re looking for more brain optimization tips, why not check out our article on multitasking and how it affects cognitive performance!