I have a confession: For every year I get older, my attention span shrinks by five percent. This science is based entirely upon my own research and is most likely skewed, but the experiential evidence is strong. Case in point: If I set out to study for five hours at home, it sometimes turns into one hour of studying and four hours of checking my e-mail, preparing elaborate meals, and scrolling through seasonal sports gear sales on Amazon (I dislike most sports but I love good deals). Oddly enough, the method I’ve found for combating my procrastination problem and completing my work punctually and happily involves a tomato and taking more breaks.
I stumbled upon The Pomodoro Technique in an effort to manage my distractions and avoid both goldfish-attention-span procrastination and all-night-study-burn-out. Developed in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo, this time management technique gets its name from the common tomato shaped kitchen timer. The system operates on the belief that by dividing your work and breaks into regular, short increments you can avoid feeling overwhelmed by a looming task while also avoiding burn out. Here’s the basics:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes, and start your task. It doesn’t have to be a tomato timer—I use my phone or this online version.
- If a distraction pops into your head, write it down on a piece of paper and return to your task.
- When the buzzer rings, put a check mark on your paper. You’ve completed one increment, also known as a pomodoro.
- Take a five minute break. You can check the distractions that popped into your head, stretch, grab a cup of tea etc.
- After four pomodoros, take a thirty-minute break.
Give it a try if you’re interested in breaking your work day down into manageable tomato sized bites, while developing a greater understanding of time management and how long it will take to complete a task.
For more time management tips, check out:
- Take a 2 minute quiz to assess your current time management strategy!
- Our Managing Your Time Toolkit
- Our Time Management Workshop (Offered Seasonally)
- Other Blog Posts about Time Management
And if you want to go beyond time management to consider the most effective approaches to studying, we’ve got you covered.
Myths About Learning
37 responses to “The Pomodoro Technique: Study More Efficiently, Take More Breaks”
Thanks for sharing this insightful article on the Pomodoro Technique! It’s a fantastic method for enhancing productivity and maintaining focus while studying. I highly recommend using the tomato timer, which you can find at https://productive.fish/pomodoro-timer/. It’s a great tool to keep track of your study sessions and breaks. Give it a try and enjoy the benefits of this time management technique! 🍅💪
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You have written so nicely, thank you for sharing
Thank you for sharing with us
You’ve written it so nicely, and you’ve come up with some great ideas. This is a fantastic post!
Hello, thank you for your comment! We’re glad you enjoyed this resource.
Great advice. My attention span was absolutely destroyed since quarantine and this method is helping a lot.
Hi Biswa, thank you for sharing! Glad this method is working out for you.
i appreciate it!
I HAVE A QUESTION, IS THIS APPLICABLE ON A DAILY BASIS OR WEEKLY BASIS, THANK YOU!
Hello, we recommend using the Pomodoro Technique however frequently it works best for you and your schedule. We always recommend trying the Pomodoro Technique at least once and testing whether it works for you and the way you learn.
i love it ….it helped a lot ✅
I got a doubt..
Is this method suitable for all grades?
The Pomodoro technique can be used by all ages and grades! However, whether this technique will be helpful is entirely up to the individual person. Best of luck on your studies!
i love it ….it helped a lot 🙂
I love this technique. i use to a have similar practice in college. i come up having a schedule for the whole day and for the whole week. when i adapted to the routine, everything seems so easy for me after that.
I love it , it’s great technique and it’s really help us to finished out task and homework quickly.
IS IT IMPORTANT THAT 1 POMODORO SHOULD BE EQUAL TO 25 MINS……..CAN I MAKE IT 30-35 MINS FOR MYSELF
It’s totally up to you if you want to adapt the technique to better suit your preferences!
Quite amazing!. But I think the technique needs to be a little upgraded. If you are in a flow state and hear the timer go off, rather than continuing the task we go about taking the break. This causes to lose focus and decreases efficiency. The updated version needs to be a fusion of Pomodoro and flow state.
We’re glad this resource helped you reflect on what process would help you be the most efficient and productive!
It is a new theory for to try it and sove my same problem of distraction when working.
I love this technique and I will definitely try it. Also, I wanted to ask about the four pomodoros but I can see it has been answered.
My only question is, what Pomodoro time duration is considered as most suitable?
Thanks in advance 🙂
The full cycle discussed here will take you 2.5 hours. It will depend on the person whether they can keep going for another 2.5 hours after the first full cycle, or if they want to add more “pomodoro + 5 minute break” time segments afterwards. Hope that helps!
A great technique i faced many changes but what i dont understand is can we take a 5 min break or a 10 min break is fine
The standard break schedule calls for 5 minute breaks (until the longer, 30-minute break comes around), but personalizing the process can be very beneficial. If you prefer 10 minute breaks, go for it!
Why we have to write down our Distracting thoughts on a piece of Paper ?
This is a very good question! In order to identify your distractions, it is beneficial to write them down where you can see them, in order to remind yourself what it is that is distracting you. This way you can take a look at it and clearly avoid it when these distractions come about again.
What do you mean by four pomodoro?
Sorry if it was a bit confusing. By “four Pomodoro”, it means doing the Pomodoro Technique four times, then taking a 30-minute break! Hope this clarifies the confusion.
Does 1 pomodoro = 25mins?
1 pomodoro = (25mins study + 5mins break) + (25mins study + 5mins break) + (25mins study + 5mins break) + (25mins study + 5mins break)??
1 pomodoro = 25 minutes of focusing (and hopefully being productive)!
Would it help with ADHD ?
I would recommend trying the Pomodoro method and then seeing if it works for you! Different methods of time management work for different people, and you never know until you try. I would recommend testing any study method for at least two study sessions to see whether or not you are being productive. If not, try a different method until you find what works best.
i love it ….it helped a lot