It’s been a long, tiring Tuesday. Finally the bell rings and you’re set “free,” only to return home to that ever-growing pile of homework that’s waiting for you on your bedroom floor. You know – that pile of assignments that are all due tomorrow, just before the big cumulative math exam. Your mind is exhausted and you don’t want to drink any more disgusting coffee that will surely give your hands the uncontrollable shakes. You wonder how you’ll ever be able to focus into the wee hours of the night.
Perhaps you could try a study method called the Pomodoro Technique – so named for the tomato timer that helps you balance the amount of time that you spend studying with the amount of time you stop for a break.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to allow yourself extra breaks in such a “last-minute” crunch, some people who use the technique claim that regular breaks are exactly what you need to improve productivity and concentration.
Here’s how it works:
1. Decide on the task to be done. Take one assignment out of your pile of homework and prepare to attack it mentally!
2. Work on the task for 25 minutes. This is where the timer could come in handy. Proponents of the Pomodoro Technique say the ticking of the timer actually helps you to focus because it makes your desire to complete the task physically present. Similarly, the act of winding the timer up confirms your determination to complete the task.
3. Break for 3 to 5 minutes. After 25 minutes, the timer will ring to announce a break. Stand up, stretch, do some jumping jacks, breathe deeply, take a bathroom break, have a glass of water, etc.
4. Then rewind that timer and get back to work for another 25 minutes.
5. Every four 25-minute phases, (which, including the breaks, will add up to about two hours) you should take a slightly longer break (15-30 minutes) before you start studying again.
Try to practice the study technique, or your own alternative variation, before you’re buried alive in assignments!