The Pomodoro Technique: Why You Need Breaks

The Pomodoro Technique: Why You Need Breaks

Go ahead, relax.

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Do you spend the majority of your day at your desk? And do find it difficult to concentrate throughout the day? There's a simple solution to improve your productivity and focus."How can I get more stuff done without being distracted?" It's human nature: We always want to improve output.

For machines, it's straightforward: You improve speed. Machines get faster and better every day. But what about your personal productivity? I've read dozens of articles and books on productivity. I've read countless articles on time-management. And I've tested different methods to boost my productivity.

The idea is simple: I want to get more done in the same amount of time. I'm not looking for shortcuts or hacks, so I have to do less work. I don't mind working. What I don't like is the feeling of wasting time on stuff that is meaningless. Sometimes I start by watching one YouTube video, and BOOM, 2 hours have gone by. BUT, I've found a way to eliminate that frustration with the distractions of work (not boozing), which makes it a lot more fun to work and less stressful.

It's called the Pomodoro technique. Take a 5-minute break every 30 minutes of work. The reason this method works is also simple: Evolutionary biology. The human brain can't focus on a single task for long periods. Our brains are meant to ensure our survival. To protect us from looming threats the brain is in a constant state of alertness. So focusing on one thing for a long time is hard for your brain.

Research by Alejandro Lleras, from the University of Illinois, showed that deactivating and reactivating work allows us to stay focused. When you are completing long tasks, such as studying for exams, making presentations or writing reports, it's best to take short, and planned breaks.

Taking breaks will also increase the quality of your work. When you take a break, you force yourself to take a few seconds to reevaluate. Sometimes you find that you have to adjust your work to increase the quality.

In contrast, when you work on a task, without a break, it's easy to lose focus and get lost in the work. That's why the 5-minute breaks are equally important as the 30 minutes of work. Take your breaks seriously — see them as a reward.

Use your break to walk a bit, do some stretches, grab a cup of coffee or do something that relaxes you. Feel pleased with the work you have done. I've been working in 30-minute intervals for over a year. I've never got so much work done. I also find it more fun and less stressful to work. I've experimented with different time intervals (25, 30, and 40 minutes), breaks, and 45 minutes is pretty much the maximum. Some research shows that it's counterproductive to focus for longer periods of time. So you can experiment with how long you prefer to work before you take a break.

If you want to try this method, here are a few other things that can help:

  • Use an app to set the 30-minute interval. I use Tomighty.
  • Assign just one task to every 30-minute interval.
  • Don't skip your breaks.
  • Don't check your email during your break.
  • Take a 15-minute break after 4 intervals.
  • Don't accept interruptions or false emergencies when you're in a 30-minute stretch.
  • Set a daily goal. For example; doing 10 x 30-minute intervals results in 300 minutes of productive work.

With all the noise, it's easy to forget the importance of taking breaks. You don't need to read another article about productivity. Instead, take a break.

Sometimes we get lost in the lists and productivity hacks. The truth is that no matter what you do to improve your productivity—you still have to do the work. So you might as well get those 5-minute breaks to recharge.

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Yes, I Want To Be A Teacher

"You know you don't make that much money, right?"
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Yes, I want to be a teacher. Yes, I know what the salary of a teacher is like. Yes, I know that people will view my future career as “easy.” No, I would not want any other job in the world.

I am sure that I am not the only future educator who has had enough with hearing all the critiques about becoming a teacher; we are tired of hearing all the negative aspects because it’s obvious that the positives will ALWAYS outweigh those judgemental negative comments.

So, why do I want to be a teacher? I am sure that I speak for many other future teachers when I say that I am not doing it for the salary, benefits, or even the summer vacation (although that is a great plus!).

I want to be a teacher because I will be able to wake up on Mondays and actually be excited. Saturday and Sunday will be a nice break to relax, but I know that I will be ready to fill up my apple-shaped mug with coffee on Monday morning and be ready for a day full of laughs and new lessons for my students for the upcoming week.

I want to be a teacher because I get to have an impact on tomorrow's leaders. No, I don’t mean that I’m predicting my future student to be the president of the United States (but, hey, that would be a pretty cool accomplishment). I mean that I have the job to help students recognize that they have the power to be a leader in and out of the classroom.

I want to be a teacher because I don’t want an easy day. Challenges are what push me to greatness and success. Although many people think teaching is an easy profession, I know that it isn’t easy. It’s very hard, every day at every moment. But it is worth it when a student finally understands that math problem that stumped them for awhile and they have a huge smile from ear to ear.

I want to be a teacher because I want to work with kids. I mean, come on, what else is greater than a kid having fun and you’re the reason why? A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a child being excited and having fun while learning is worth a million.

I want to be a teacher because I don’t want a high salary. If I really cared about making a six-figure income, I would have chosen a different profession. Teaching is not about the check that I bring home every week or two, it’s about what I learn and the memories that I make; the memories that I get to share with my family at dinner that night.

SEE ALSO: To The Teacher Who Helped Shape Me

I want to be a teacher because there is nothing else in this world that I’d rather do for the rest of my life. Sure, there may be other jobs that are rewarding in more ways. But to me, nothing can compare to the view of a classroom with little feet swinging back and forth under a desk from a student learning how to write their ABCs.

Teaching may not be seen as the perfect profession for everyone, but it is the perfect profession for me.

Cover Image Credit: TeacherPop

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