The Studying Technique That Saved My Life
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The Studying Technique That Saved My Life

This article was written in approximately five pomodoros.

The Studying Technique That Saved My Life

A PSA to procrastinators (which I’ll assume is synonymous with ALL students at this point): this study tip saved my life, or at least cut down on my stress-induced breakdowns. It came to me in the form of a tomato.

The Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo. You simply set a timer for 25 minutes, work until the timer goes off, and then take a five-minute break. One cycle is called a pomodoro- the Italian word for tomato, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by Cirillo. The theory is that if you work in short intervals, you’ll stay focused and won’t get burned out.

I had heard of this method before, but I was skeptical. What difference would 25 minutes do when I was 200 pages behind on "Crime and Punishment?" It wasn’t until one Sunday night this semester when I was staring at a week full of deadlines that I was hopelessly unprepared for, that I decided I had nothing to lose and would give it a shot. Don’t knock it 'til you try it, right?

This technique works because you work with time, not against it. In the past, I would set content-based goals like reading one chapter, only to find myself 15 minutes in and maybe two paragraphs read. But when I use the Pomodoro Technique, I’m motivated to get as much work done as I can in the 25 minute cycle so I can enjoy the break. The guarantee of a short break is my favorite part about this studying method. It eliminates distractions, because nearly anything that comes up, whether it be a text from your friend or a sudden inspiration for a hilarious Tweet, can wait until the 25 minutes are completed. The breaks prevent burn-outs, which, as any college student can tell you, are all too real. The Pomodoro Technique’s website has suggestions for your break, such as getting up and walking around or doing a small chore. Personally, I like watching five minutes of Netflix. One episode of "Parks of Recreation" takes about four pomodoros. It’s really a win-win situation.

If your life is forever changed by the Pomodoro Technique and you want the time management master Francesco Cirillo himself to teach you his ways, you’re in luck! He wrote a book that Amazon describes as “a godsend for procrastinators.” You can even experience the Pomodoro Technique in its most authentic form by purchasing a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. However, it’s probably at that point in the semester where you have no time for reading books that don’t come from a syllabus, and I know for a fact that my roommate would kill me if I constantly had a kitchen timer ticking away in the dorm. Luckily, there’s a free Pomodoro app that will ensure you stay on track and can even help you organize all of your tasks.

Now, if only there were a method for staying awake in class…

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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