How do you manage time while studying? Do you study in one go, or do you take some breaks in between? Does your brain feel refreshed even after longer duration of studying? Or are you looking for better ways to study for longer duration?
Well, one pretty awesome way to manage time and study for longer duration was given by developer, entrepreneur and author Francesco Cirillo. He named his technique the Pomodoro technique.
What is Pomodoro Technique?
What is the Pomodoro technique, you ask? Well, when Francesco was a university student, he faced the challenge of studying a lot of syllabus (sounds familiar?). So he started using a timer to take short breaks in between. He would study for 25 minutes and then take a short break for 5 minutes. After three or four such breaks, he would take a longer break of around 30 minutes.
This technique of time management proved to be really effective, and he found that he could study for longer duration. So, this technique became popular, and he called it the Pomodoro technique. The term Pomodoro was an ode to the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student.
How to use the Pomodoro technique for studying longer?
- Get a Timer: Take a timer. Use your smartphone Clock app to set a timer for yourself
- Set the timer: Decide upon a time span in which you can focus entirely on your studying. The Pomodoro technique usually takes 25 minutes, but yours can be longer or shorter depending on your concentration span.
- Start Studying: Set the timer and start studying. Do not let anything disturb you right now. Keep the phone on silent or in flight mode. Ask your roommates, friends and family members to not disturb you.
- Take a Short Break: When the timer rings, take a short break to refresh your mind. Don’t worry, you won’t forget what you just studied. In fact, studies say that taking short breaks while studying help you assimilate the information and help it get coded into your long term memory. Here are some few things you can do in this short break:
- Take a walk inside your house
- Play a short game
- Listen to a song
- Talk to a friend
- Have a drink of water
- Have a small snack
Do whatever relaxes your mind. But the trick is to not exceed your five minute break!
- Study, Relax, Repeat: Next, set the timer again and start studying again. When the timer rings, retake the short break. Repeat this cycle three or four times.
- Take a Long Break: After three or four such breaks, take a longer break. In this longer break, you could:
- Break for lunch, dinner, breakfast
- Have tea or coffee
- Take a power nap
- Watch an episode of your favourite series
Or anything you want. Just, as above, do not exceed the time limit you set for yourself.
- And Repeat: Repeat the entire cycle again, till you are done studying for the day.
Benefits of Pomodoro Technique
Does the pomodoro technique have any benefits? How are you going to explain your breaks to parents who catch you taking breaks? How will you justify breaks to yourself? Well, here are a few benefits of this technique that we could research out:
- Boosting Concentration: This technique trains your brain to focus for short periods and gradually increases your focusing power for studying for longer duration
- Increasing Productivity: It makes you more productive and helps you study more and for longer duration
- Extra Motivation: The small breaks in between are like small rewards and help you stay motivated for a longer period
- More retention: As mentioned above, it helps you study better and retain the knowledge you just gained. Short breaks in between studying helps in assimilating the new information gathered while studying into the brain’s long term memory.
How to personalize the Pomodoro Technique for yourself
Studying and how to do it is something very personal for every student. So take your time with this new technique and get the feel of it. Change and tweak around the steps of the technique to best suit you. Here are a few things you could do:
- Check how long or short the studying period for you should be
Say, you set your studying duration to be 40 minutes, but realise you cannot focus for more than 30 minutes. What do you do then? Don’t pressure yourself! Shorten your study duration to 30 minutes. In due time, you can increase it once your focussing power increases. Similarly, if you feel your set time of 25 minutes is too short and is disturbing your studies, increase it!
- Choose the best relaxation techniques
Not everyone relaxes in a similar manner. Choose which five minute and thirty minute activity helps you relax the most. There may be some which give you an extra boost of motivation. Some may motivate you too much and you just end up spending an hour on them (hello, Netflix!). Some may make you drowsy and you end up not studying for longer. End statement, choose what suits you best.
So that’s it! Try out this new technique this week and let us know if and how it helped you. Do you feel better after taking breaks? Did it help you study more? Did you feel your head was clearer and more prepared to study? Looking forward to hearing your experiences!