Productivity Hack #1 – Pomodoro Technique

Time Management Hack

Managing time effectively is important when at university, whether it’s studying, completing coursework or exam revision. It is easy to quickly become overwhelmed and feel that there is just not enough time to fit everything in. It can be useful, therefore, to employ techniques to help.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro time-management technique was developed by Frances Cirillo in the 80’s, so called because the timer he used was a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped device.

In simple terms, the idea behind the now famous method is to focus intensely on a piece of work for a length of time, usually twenty five minutes, followed by a short break of about five minutes. These regular breaks reduce tiredness, help to clear the mind, reduce stress and in turn increase productivity, creativity and improved quality and quantity of work.

Even individuals with short attention spans find this technique useful, timings can be altered according to need. Procrastination is eliminated as people are motivated to focus completely on a task and achieve as much as possible before the timer rings, therefore using time more effectively.

The technique is not suitable for all tasks but try experimenting with it to see if your performance is enhanced!

Pomodoro Stages

1 – Remove all potential distractions
For example, close your email browser, switch off social media, put your phone on silent, let people know you are not to be disturbed.

2 – Plan
Decide which tasks need to be completed and how many sessions are needed to do this. The timings recommended can be personalised to your preferences. Multi-tasking doesn’t really work with this method, it’s really about breaking longer tasks into shorter, achievable sessions. Be realistic!

3 – Work
This should be easier without distractions, start the timer, breathe and focus! Sometimes, even with the best planning, interruptions will happen. If they do, it’s important to note that the session then ends and another session needs to begin when the distraction has been eliminated. If unrelated thoughts pop into your head, jot them down on a piece of paper to be dealt with later and carry on with the main task.

4 – Take a break
Now take that five minute break, have a drink, stretch, have a short walk or get some fresh air. Have a piece of paper to tick off when tasks are completed.

5 – Repeat
Begin a new session deciding what you are going to focus on. After a few sessions, usually four, have a longer break, 20 to 30 minutes, maybe have some food and clear your head. Begin further sessions feeling refreshed and motivated to work.

Further reading – Cirillo’s book – The Pomodoro Technique.


Have fun implementing!  Cheers, A2B Assessments

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