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Using the Pomodoro Technique for Effective Studying


Do you struggle with focusing on a single task for a long period of time? Do you find yourself getting distracted when working on a calculus problem set, crafting a literature essay, or reviewing for a history exam? We all do! Welcome to the club.

Understanding how your mind focuses and works is key to maximizing focus, which is itself key to success in academics and beyond. Perhaps surprisingly, working hard is often a function of how well you take breaks and rest.

In the 1980’s, a time management coach named Francesco Cirillo developed a method for breaking down bouts of studying or working to include time for breaks. Pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato, derives from the timer Cirillo used as a college student, as it apparently resembled a tomato.

Here are the steps in the Pomodoro Technique:

  1. Pick which tasks you need to complete.
  2. Set the timer (ideally tomato-shaped) to 25 minutes.
  3. Work.
  4. End when the timer goes off.
  5. Take a break for 5 minutes.
  6. Repeat steps 2-6.
  7. After 4 rounds, take a 30 minute break.

By setting a specific time limit on your work and then trusting the alarm to let you know when it is complete, you are free to engross yourself completely in the task without checking your phone for time or worrying that you’ll become bored by spending too long working. A break is always on the horizon!


Girl studying


Success (and enjoyment!) when engaging with a complicated subject is all about reaching a flow state in which you forget everything but the matter at hand. While the Pomodoro Technique works for some, it’s important to try out different methods to find one that works best for you.

Our 1-on-1 study skills tutoring is designed to build students’ confidence and competence with academic organization in a highly customized way. Each student is different, and it’s important to find the best studying habits and techniques for each unique learner.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your student reach his or her academic potential, give us a call today!


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