As I was wondering through the extra credit assignments of Mythology and Folklore, I stumbled across a learning challenge for the Pomordoro Technique, which I had never heard of. But you know what I have heard of? The Tomato Timer! I have an app for it that I use when I really need to get work done. I’m actually using it right now! (Just took my five minute break!)

The basic idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is that you set a timer (or press go on the app. I use Be Focused from the Apple app store) for 25 minutes and you work without interruption for that time. 25 minutes isn’t that long, so it’s easy to do, and any distractions or thoughts that pop up can easily be set aside for the rest of the interval. Then, when your timer goes off, you take a short 5 minute break to do anything except what you were just working on. Then you just rinse and repeat. After ever four intervals, you take a long break – 25 to 30 minutes.

One the most simple level, this technique is supposed to break down whatever you need to work on into smaller manageable chunks, as well as help eliminate distractions from your workplace. I’ve used it irregularly for over a year now, and I firmly believe that when I do use it, I become much more efficient. But it does have drawbacks. For example, if I’m cramming in a little studying between classes, there’s not really enough time to effectively use my tomato timer. I normally only use it for longer homework sessions in the evenings or on weekends. Also, it’s only as good as your own accountability. If you don’t keep setting it and switing when you’re supposed to, then there’s really not point in using it. I find that I will often work through my breaks when I get on a roll, which is both good and bad. Regardless, I’ll keep on using the Pomodoro Technique as long as it keeps working for me!

Image: Pomodoro Technique by Luca Mascaro. Source: Flickr

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