As July rolls around, campus empties and the weather significantly improves. All you want to do is lie is the sun, enjoy an ice cream, have a BBQ with friends… but you’re stuck inside chipping away at your Master’s dissertation. Ugh! If staying focused feels impossible and you’re spending far more time scrolling through Facebook or catching up with Love Island than you’d like, then the Pomodoro technique might be for you… by Jessica Tatchell
Ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? This surprisingly easy time management method is an excellent way to push through big chunks of writing, such as a dissertation, by having short bursts of allotted work time followed by short breaks. Each of these intervals is called a ‘Pomodoro’.
Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique has become one of the most popular productivity methods used today (interestingly, it was named after the tomato shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used, ‘pomodoro’ meaning ‘tomato’ in Italian). The technique is designed to keep your mind fresh, creative and focused. Timing yourself forces you to remain accountable, avoid procrastination and complete your tasks quicker than usual as you find yourself racing against the clock. You don’t need any apps or special tools to use the Pomodoro technique, all you need is a timer. Simply follow these steps to get started:
- Choose a task
- Set your timer for 25 minutes (a Pomodoro)
- Work on the task until the timer goes off
- Take a short 2-5 minute break
- Reset your timer for another Pomodoro
- Every 4-5 Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-45 minutes
Pomodoros typically last 25 minutes, however once you’ve experimented with the method you might find that 35 minute Pomodoros works better for you, or you need a slightly longer break to keep yourself mentally alert. Feel free to be flexible with your Pomodoros, but remember, the technique is a productivity method and regular breaks are fundamental to this — the goal is to remain fresh and focused throughout your workday. An excellent Pomodoro timer that allows your customise your times is MarinaraTimer, just adjust your times and let it run in a tab in the background!
The Write Here, Write Now writing sessions run by the PostGradute Hub are based on the Pomodoro technique: show up, work for 30 minutes, break for 10 minutes (tea and snacks provided!) and then repeat. All you need to bring is your laptop and writing materials. These sessions are great if you’re suffering from severe procrastination as having a set time and place to show up and work ensures that you get at least something done that day!
The next session will be in Tuesday 24th July 9.30-12.30 in seminar rooms 1 & 2 in the Wolfson Research Exchange (Library Floor 3 Extension). All taught and research postgraduates are welcome! Head to Moodle to sign up and see all of the upcoming summer dates.
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