Before I started using the Pomodoro technique I thought that working for hours straight was the most efficient way to get things done; I had never imagined that taking breaks could make me more effective while I work. In fact, studies have shown that breaks increase focus and creativity— two things I think everyone wants more of.
The Pomodoro technique is a way of utilizing your work time more effectively. The basic idea is that you work hard for a period of time, nicknamed “Pomodoro,” then take a short break, and after four Pomodorros, you take a longer break. Traditionally Pomodoros are 25 minutes with 5 minute short breaks and 15 minute long breaks. Personally, I have a very short attention span, so I started with 20 minute Pomodoros but have gradually increased to the full 25; sometimes I go back to 20 minute Pomodoros when I’m feeling especially fatigued.
One of the most important parts is how you use your breaks. I’ve found that I get the most from my breaks when I move around. I make sure to walk away from my workspace and I usually do some light stretching. Make sure to take your break as time mentally away from what you’re working on. During my breaks, I try to drink some water, go to the bathroom, and eat a snack if I need it so that I can fully focus on work.
The Pomodoro technique has become pretty popular so there are tons of apps and websites that automatically time you. I prefer to have my timer on my computer to avoid distractions on my phone. If you want to have more control you can just use the timer or clock on your computer or laptop.
Splitting my work time up has helped me stay focused while I’m working and work more time per day without fatigue. You should definitely give the Pomodoro technique a try this semester.