You may have heard of the infamous Pomodoro Technique before – it’s quite popular amongst many students all over the world, and over 2 million people have already used it.
In this post, I’m going to be sharing what the Pomodoro Technique actually is, the benefits of it, and my honest opinions about it, including my experience with using the technique in my study sessions.
As a student, I wasn’t always the best at managing my time – I never really took the time out to think about how I could spend my time on studying more wisely, and I never really saw the value in productivity.
You can only imagine ineffective my study sessions were! They were completely irregular, with no set structure and no set strategy. I literally had a simple post-it note to jot down a list of things I wanted to get done in that session and that was that!
While there isn’t really anything wrong with going with the flow and using post-it notes to write down your tasks for each study session (in fact, I’m a huge fan of using post-it notes in this way), my biggest regret was not using time.
I would work as I pleased, often with no breaks, and pushed myself to get something done until I eventually felt burnt out and frustrated.
This is NOT the way to go and I highly recommend you don’t try this method. Not only was it not very healthy, but I often found myself forgetting almost everything I revised soon after! Yeah, that’s not fun.
You’re often going to be time-constricted to getting something done, such as an assignment or a deadline, so using time as a utensil will seriously improve the way you study, as well as your productivity.
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It was only until I installed TikTok (it’s a great app haha!) and browsed through a few study accounts that I discovered the Pomodoro Technique. I wasn’t intrigued by it or anything – I scrolled straight past and to the dance challenge videos instead – but the technique did spark a little curiosity in me, so I stored it at the back of my mind to search up in the near future.
I later searched up the Pomodoro Technique, found out how it worked and read a few reviews. Honestly, I was surprised at how many people claimed it was super effective in improving the way they studied, and that it had helped them with focus and productivity immensely.
I was a bit sceptical at first, but I figured hey, why not give it a go? It was the least I could do and trying this technique out, even once, couldn’t hurt.
The next time I headed over to my desk to revise (for my GCSE mock exams by the way), I took my phone timer with me and tried out the Pomodoro Technique. Needless to say, I got so much done in that one session that I just HAD to try it again.
For the rest of the week, I used that technique. Then for another two weeks. Then for a month. And then for another six months.
Not a single study session has gone by since when it hasn’t been productive without the Pomodoro Technique.
I’m so glad I installed TikTok when I did!
Many students swear by the Pomodoro Technique, and I can see why – we’re constantly in a race against the clock, trying to complete assignments on time and revise for exams before they come around, that it’s often hard to manage our time effectively.
Fortunately, the Pomodoro Technique is amazing for teaching us how to work with time and use it to our advantage!
Time is an ally, not an enemy.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The word ‘pomodoro’ is an Italian word for ‘tomato’, and the technique is ironically named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Franceso himself used as a university student.
The concept of the Pomodoro Technique is fairly simple, and consists of five core steps:
1. Choose a task you’d like to get done.
2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
3. Work on the task until the 25 minutes is up.
4. Take a short break for 5 minutes.
5. Every four 25 minute intervals, take a longer break for 15-30 minutes.
Each 25-minute interval is known as a ‘pomodoro’. Of course, the duration of these intervals can be altered; if you can retain your focus for longer than just 25 minutes, then you could have 30 to 45-minute intervals instead – the technique is free to be customised to your preference!
What’s the big idea behind the Pomodoro Technique?
The main focus of the Pomodoro Technique is to eliminate procrastination and interruptions, and in turn, help you to focus and be more productive!
It also helps you to retain the knowledge that you’ve learnt by giving your brain time to rest and process the new information after each interval.
The use of regular breaks in each study session is also super helpful towards keeping you focused for long periods of time, without experiencing burnouts, tiredness or frustration. Setting the timer to go off after each interval is a good reminder for you to get up and take a break, especially as it’s so EASY to get carried away and immersed in your work.
Plus, if you’re like me, the idea of frequent breaks is a great incentive to work harder and be rewarded at the end of each study session!
Lastly, having a time limit always infuses a sense of urgency into your work. You’re aware that you’re being timed and you’re aware that the Pomodoro intervals are small – there’s only so much work you can get done in 25 minutes. Therefore, you give yourself a good kick up the backside and get more work done.
The Pomodoro Technique may not have been created with the intention of this kind of motivation, but it certainly is a good motivational tool to eliminate distractions and get as much work done as possible in the time.
The benefits of the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique has a huge number of useful benefits, but here are just a few of my favourite advantages that have truly changed my study techniques for the better:
- Handle interruptions – You’ll instantly find a huge reduction in the number of mistakes you make from increased concentration.
- Reduce estimation errors – You learn to simplify and organise your tasks better.
- Improve motivation – Having a timer next to you applies a little bit of pressure (the good kind) to the way you study and motivates you to work fast and stay focused.
- Memory retention – The regular intervals and breaks help you to improve your work process and retain what you learnt better.
- Improve time-management skills – Your time is precious. Using the Pomodoro Technique helps you plan out your tasks better and use time as the best tool to study productively!
My top tips for using the Pomodoro Technique
It may be the case that you’ve finished your task before the 25-minute interval is up, and you’re looking for ways to fill up that time. Whatever you do, just don’t stop that timer – the whole idea is to be more productive, so try finding something else to do in the time left.
You could always read over your textbook chapter again, review what you learnt, or give yourself a mini test. Anything to retain that productivity!
In addition, we don’t all have a timer lying around that we can use. While using a timer is highly recommended because you’re cut off from the potential distractions mobile devices can cause, your phone or tablet can do the job just as well.
The Pomodoro Technique is widely used by many apps, websites and extensions to help students stay productive and focused. Some popular examples are Forest and Focus To-Do (both available on iPhone, Android and Chrome Extensions). If you’re worried that even with a timer on, having a phone by your side will distract you, Forest is a great option due to the very tragic but helpful, “tree-dying effect”.
My thoughts on the Pomodoro Technique
As I mentioned before, I was quite sceptical of this technique – I wasn’t open to new ways of improving my study habits (and they weren’t even good habits in the first place!) and I had mocks to revise for. I didn’t think there was enough time to mess around with my revision techniques so close to my exams.
I was so adamant on disliking the Pomodoro Technique that I tried to break the rules a little bit, and keep working at my task, even when the timer for the 25 minutes went off. However, I remembered that I was meant to be trying something new, so I may as well do it properly, and so, I reluctantly put my pen down.
For someone who loves taking a good break when studying, I didn’t enjoy that 5-minute break very much! The Pomodoro Technique didn’t give me nearly as much time as I wanted to complete my revision task.
However, over the next few weeks, I surprisingly found myself using the Pomodoro Technique more and more. I even installed a few apps to help me out a bit.
I literally sat down told myself that I didn’t like the technique and I shouldn’t use it (for some reason I was too stubborn to want to change my terrible study habits), yet I got up soon after to set up the timer on my phone for another Pomodoro study session.
It’s a seriously helpful tool, whether I wanted to admit it or not.
After a few weeks, my focus levels spiked through the roof (this is from someone who has the attention span of a fly) and I was getting so much more revision done in a short amount of time, even though I initially thought the opposite would be the case.
Best of all, I was revising better than I had ever done before, and those mock exams turned out to be my best yet. This just goes to show that the technique is just as important as the revision itself!
Studying hard is a good thing, but without studying smart too then studying hard is useless.
Now, I’m proud to say that I love using the Pomodoro Technique (took me a while to get there!), and I use it in each and every one of my study sessions to date, through the Forest app.
I don’t usually use the technique in the traditional way with 25-minute intervals anymore – over time I’ve found that my focus levels are gradually improving and I can now usually focus for a lot longer than that.
However, the Pomodoro Technique has been quite encouraging in improving the way I study and it has truly helped me to be more productive. After all, the main aim is to study smart.
I’ve always had this useless idea that I should be keeping myself busy with my studies, but the Pomodoro Technique soon helped me realise that I should be keeping myself productive instead. Being constricted for time really helped me develop other skills too, like managing my time better and working faster.
The Pomodoro Technique is really just an all-round success and the guy who came up with it should get an award.
I couldn’t recommend this technique any better, so make sure you try it out if you haven’t already.
Before your next study session, write out a to-do list and download one of the apps I mentioned on your phone, or just use a regular timer. Try the Pomodoro Technique out and pay close attention to the results!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy some of these posts too!:
- Introduction: Welcome To My Blog
- 5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Study Habits
- “Study Smarter, Not Harder”: 13 Tips On How To Study Effectively
Feel free to comment your thoughts and ideas on the Pomodoro Technique down below. I’m interested to see what you have to say!
Until next time,