If you have a big exam coming up, or you struggle to study effectively without getting distracted or overwhelmed, then you should try using the Pomodoro Technique.
This is a tried and tested method for overcoming a busy workload and schedule.
The Pomodoro Technique is highly effective and recommended for studying, as it can help you focus for longer, retain more information and reduce procrastination.
Is The Pomodoro Technique Effective For Studying?
The Pomodoro Technique is effective for studying, as it breaks up study sessions into manageable chunks of focused work. By setting 25-minute work sessions and taking 5-minute breaks, you can study efficiently. Also, the Pomodoro Technique helps reduce the amount of distractions you may encounter during studying. Frequent small breaks give your brain some rest.
All of these benefits make the Pomodoro Technique an effective study method to improve your productivity.
About The Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo, who was looking for a way to make tasks easier to manage, and wanted to focus more effectively.
The term came about as Cirillo used a kitchen tomato timer – Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato – to have timed ‘concentration’ periods, followed by short breaks.
The Pomodoro Method really works – I’m talking form experience here.
It is a time management method where you use twenty five minute stretches of focused concentration on the set task, followed by a five minute break.
Then, you repeat the process four times.
After you have completed four Pomodoros, you can then have a longer break of about 20-30 minutes.
Many studies have shown that taking frequent breaks allows you to break down tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. This increases productivity, your ability to focus and refreshes the brain.
Other studies show that taking breaks is the key to learning, and improves the synthesis of information.
Tests have long persisted that taking short breaks can improve memory and concentration, so focusing for around half an hour before rewarding with a break.
11-Step Guide To Using Pomodoro For Studying
The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to break down your tasks, especially if you have a lot of studying to do.
(If you’re a university student, I know you know.)
You can easily become overwhelmed and distracted, which will make you more likely to procrastinate.
This can lead to negative functioning and put you at higher risk of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
This is helpful to no one.
If you want to stay on track, remain focused and motivated to study, start using the Pomodoro Method and see if it works for you!
The steps to successful Pomodoro are as follows:
1. Break Down Your Tasks
The first step is to break down your tasks into smaller, less overwhelming ones.
If you have various topics that you need to study for, then it is a good idea to focus on one at a time, or set aside different days and times to take on each chapter you need to study.
Breaking down the tasks makes it less likely that you will become overwhelmed, and will make them more actionable.
You should also group smaller tasks together if you think you can do them within one Pomodoro.
For instance, if you have a quiz you want to take to prepare you for a big exam, then you could group this with a study session within one Pomodoro.
2. Create A To-Do List
Once you have gathered all of your tasks, create a to-do list for the day, or for however long you plan on studying for using Pomodoro.
Now you have your tasks planned out, create a bulleted or numbered list of which ones you need to prioritize first.
3. Set A Timer
Either grab a old-school timer, or use your phone to set a timer for 25 minutes. You can even go for the traditional kitchen timer (the one shaped like a tomato)!
Alternatively, you could also use a Pomodoro playlist, or use a Pomodoro timer YouTube video (like I do).
This way you can stay on track, and know exactly when to have a break, as a relaxing voice will tell you to take a break.
4. Begin Your Pomodoro Session
If using a timer, be sure to set it to one side. Turn off or mute your phone, and try not to check it during the Pomodoro.
Studies have shown that using a phone during studying can impair concentration and subsequently your learning – I’m looking at you, social media notifications!
Reduce all distractions, or use calming, relaxing music for the session.
5. Work On One Single Task
Begin and work on the task for 25 minutes. This is the time to only focus on the task at hand and work until the timer rings.
Studies have shown that focusing on one task at a time can improve productivity, and lower stress levels.
So if you have a chapter, or even a paragraph, you need to study, focus on that. Don’t go back to the able of contents of your course.
Or worse, switch to a different class.
6. Avoid Distractions At All Cost
I know it’s hard, but you want to avoid stopping your focused study in the middle of a Pomodoro. If you do get distracted, make sure to jot it down and come back to it later.
Trust me, your future self will thank you for not constantly switching gears and losing momentum.
This could ruin your current Pomodoro, or even all your Pomodoros for the day.
Keep your eye on the prize, stay in that flow state, and power through!
7. Stop When The Timer Rings
When the timer does go off, it is important that you stop right away, as you have heavily focused for nearly half an hour.
Your brain needs a break, as this can help you have a more positive outlook and remain motivated.
You were able to complete a Pomodoro, and that’s already in achievement.
8. Take A Short Break
Once the timer goes off, reset it for your five minute break.
During this time, do something that you enjoy as a sort of reward, such as listening to your favorite song, practicing mindfulness, or making a cup of tea.
Remember to stay hydrated and get ready for your next Pomodoro.
If you’re looking for some Pomodoro break ideas, here is what I do – and don’t do!
9. Repeat The Process 3 Times
For the best results, you will want to repeat the process three times.
So, once your first Pomodoro is up, and you’ve had a five minute break, do this another three times in total.
After the fourth study time, it’s time for what you’ve been waiting for…
10. Have A Longer Break
After the fourth Pomodoro is complete, it’s time for a longer break.
Reward yourself, it’s important!
Typically speaking, Cirillo recommends a 20 minute to 30 minute break, but do what works for you.
If you think you need more time to have lunch, recoup your strength, and have a mental break, then do that!
11. Tweak Your Study Technique and Get Back at It
While the Pomodoro Technique improves your efficiency, the goal here is to perfect study routine.
- If you struggle to focus for 25 minutes at a time, go for shorter Pomodoros (the reverse is also true).
- The number of Pomodoros is also a guideline. You can go for 3 to 6 Pomodoros in a row (with short breaks) before going for a longer break.
- Make sure to completely let go of what you’re doing during your break.
With time and practice, I’m sure you’ll find that using this technique based on an innocent tomato-shaped kitchen timer is a great way to study (and a super effective time management tool).
It sure made my studying back in the early 2000s a lot easier!
And I still use it to this day.
According to the official Pomodoro website, the Pomodoro Technique has been used by over 2 million people to transform their lives, making it easier to study, learn, be productive, and focus.
(I’m sure that’s a lot more now.)
If you tend to procrastinate, get distracted, or get overwhelmed by work, then this method could work for you.
All it takes is using a timer to focus for 25 minutes, before having a 5-10 minute break.
During this time, have no distractions, don’t respond to texts or emails, or go make a coffee, as this can be done on your break.
With this guide, you can take the simple steps above to study more efficiently, and improve how well you retain information.
Studying can be difficult, and your mind may wander.
Or you may put it off until a later date because it’s stressful and boring.
However, with the Pomodoro Technique, you can maximize your chances to ace your next test!
You got this!