Study Tips: Pomodoro Timer

As the semester ends I find myself trying desperately not to procrastinate. I have been somewhat successful in this endeavor, with the exception of Fridays when a new episode of Riverdale is released. Despite my best efforts, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. However, the countdown is on, and there is a less than a month left of classes, and a month until exams are finished. If you are looking to maximize your productivity between now and the end of term, the Pomodoro Technique may be what you’re looking for.

This productivity enhancing technique was developed in the 1980s, and is named for the Italian word for ‘tomato’ and the tomato shaped kitchen timer. The Pomodoro Technique is all about time management. All you need is a timer (kitchen, oven, microwave, phone, it is your choice, as long as you will be able to hear it). Find yourself a comfortable work space and settle in. All you have to do is set your timer for 25 minutes, this equals one Pomodoro. For every 25 minutes of productivity you give yourself a 5 minute break. Long enough to grab a drink and stretch your legs, maybe even do the dishes if you’re super speedy. Then repeat. Once you have completed four pomodoros (that equals 100 minutes of productivity and 15 minutes of break time) you reward yourself with 15-20 minutes of break time. If you are super serious about your pomodoros you can make note of each one you complete. Maybe you use an ‘x’ maybe a star or a bowl of noodles. The symbol world is yours for the taking. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you may want to jot down anytime your thoughts wandered and what you were thinking about. This can help you establish patterns and improve your productivity in the long term.

I have found this technique particularly helpful when attempting to finish weekly readings. They are easy to procrastinate, but taking it 25 minutes at a time has been a wonderful motivator. I don’t follow this technique all that closely, aside from the 25-5 ratio. This works for me, but it might not work for you. If you are or become particularly passionate about the Pomodoro Technique there are fancy apps available for purchase. The reality though is that any timer will do. Good Luck with these last few weeks, the countdown is on!

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 26, March 21, 2017.