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The Pomodoro Technique: Tips & complete step-by-step plan

Are you scrolling through your TikTok or Instagram feed again when you were about to start your tasks? Or do you feel like you're losing track when you see all your upcoming deadlines? Then the Pomodoro Technique might be for you! The Pomodoro method is a way to work with more focus. But what exactly is the Pomodoro Technique, where does it come from and what steps can you take to make it your own? Stuvia explains and helps you take your first steps towards a more focused study or work day.

The Pomodoro Technique for more focus

The Pomodoro Technique originates from an Italian man, Francesco Cirillo. In the 1980s, Cirillo noticed he had a hard time concentrating and keeping focus at work. He was not satisfied with the number of tasks he could finish daily, mainly because his colleagues were constantly distracting him. One day, Cirillo had enough. Things had to change. He grabbed a tomato-shaped timer (‘Pomodoro’ in Italian) from the company kitchen and set it to 25 minutes. In these short sessions of 25 minutes, Cirillo could complete much more tasks, especially because his colleagues were asked not to disturb Cirillo during the 25-minute sessions. The Pomodoro Method has since become one of the most popular focus theories in the world.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

De Pomodoro techniek is een techniek om gefocust te werken en efficiënter met je tijd om te gaan. Het idee achter de techniek is dan ook simpel: je zet een timer op 25 minuten en gaat deze minuten zelfstandig aan een taak werken. Maar waarom zou je dat eigenlijk doen? Het toepassen van de Pomodoro methode bij de uitvoering van je taken heeft diverse voordelen:

The Pomodoro Technique is a technique for studying and working more focused and more time-efficient. The idea behind the technique is simple: you set a timer to 25 minutes and start working on a task. After 25 minutes, you take a 5-minute break, followed by another 25-minute session, and another 5-minute break, etcetera. After four 25-minute sessions, you take a longer break.

Applying the Pomodoro Method for study and work has several advantages:

  • You stay focused on your tasks;
  • It helps you prioritize;
  • You cope better with distractions;
  • Completing tasks gives you more satisfaction;
  • You are more motivated to study and work;
  • It reduces stress.

The Pomodoro Technique: step-by-step plan

Now that you know more about the Pomodoro Technique, it's time to get started yourself. Using this step-by-step plan will get you started right away. But before you start, you need two things:

  • Timer;
  • Blank document in Word or Google Docs.

Did you collect both? Then you're ready to start.

Step 1: Make a to-do list

Before you start, it is important to see what you actually have to do. So always grab your schedule to know exactly what is expected of you. Write down the tasks that need to be completed this week on your to-do list.

Step 2: Create a new document listing your tasks

Create a new document in Word or Google Docs. Take a look at your schedule and start writing down your tasks. You can divide bigger projects, which might take you weeks to fully complete, into several smaller tasks. Written down all your tasks? The next step is to prioritize them. Which tasks have the highest priority and how much time do you expect to spend on each task? If you expect a task to take you about 1 hour, you can divide it into two 25-minute Pomodoros, with a 5-minute break in between.

Dividing projects or study materials into smaller tasks spread over several days is also known as the ‘Salami Technique’. This is an effective way to reduce stress for bigger assignments.

Step 3: Set your timer to 25 minutes

Sluit al je afleiding af en zet de timer op 25 minuten. Het is aan te raden om een losse timer te gebruiken in plaats van de timer op je smartphone. In deze 25 minuten ga je aan een stuk doorwerken aan een taak.

Block out all your distractions and set the timer to 25 minutes. It is recommended not to use the timer on your smartphone, but a separate timer. During the 25 minutes, you work on a task without interruption.

Step 4: Check off finished tasks and take a 5-minute break

Yes! Your timer has just gone off. Check off the task(s) you just completed and take a 5-minute break. It might be useful to set a timer for the break as well.

Step 5: Take a longer break

After doing four sessions of 25 minutes, it is time to take a longer break. It is recommended to take a 30-minute break, not much longer.

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