Pomodoro Technique | Secrets to Improve your Productivity

Pomodoro Technique
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Santiago Mallea

Chief of Content At Gradehacker

Updated on June, 2023

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Do you struggle with productivity? Are you always running behind schedule? Do you have trouble whenever you try to study and work on your assignments?

There’s a simple technique that will help you become more productive, increase your focus, and stop procrastinating. We introduce the Pomodoro Technique.

It’s one of the most popular time management methods people use to boost their productivity and avoid mental fatigue. It lets you take regular breaks while keeping you focused during long time blocks.

Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student’s most trusted resource. We know how hard achieving maximum productivity can be and that implementing an effective time management technique is key.

That’s why in this article, you’ll find a clear and concise explanation of what the Pomodoro Technique is, how you can use it, and what tips you can incorporate to boost your productivity even more.

What Is The Pomodoro Technique?

In a few words, it’s a time management technique.

It was created by author Francesco Cirillo, and it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to incorporate a simple and easy productivity habit into their lives.

But it’s also perfect for students, as the basic idea behind this technique is to give you a chunk of time to complete your tasks, giving you a sense of urgency but also rewarding your effort with frequent breaks.

It works like this:

One “Pomodoro” lasts 30 minutes and consists of two blocks of time: one is a 25-minute interval where you focus on your current task, and the other is a 5-minute break that you use to clear out your mind. 

Then you just keep repeating the cycle! But once you reach your fourth Pomodoro, expand your break time to 15, 20, or even 30 minutes.

Setting only 25 minutes to work makes it much easier to focus on single tasks within a chunk of time.

Plus, if you have lots of work to do, you can break them down into a series of tasks and distribute them within the extended periods where you work. This way, you’ll have more precise goals to achieve and get into that optimal productivity state much faster!

And because you also have your five-minute breaks, you can relax and chill out for a few minutes and avoid that feeling of burnout that you get when you work nonstop.

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How Can The Pomodoro Technique Help You?

How Can You Apply The Pomodoro Technique?

What better way to explain how you can incorporate the Pomodoro Technique than with an example?

Let’s say you have an important exam to study for and a research paper you have to write for the same class. And because you are a non-traditional student, you only have four hours and 30 minutes available in your otherwise busy schedule.

First, break your available time into Pomodoro intervals. In that time frame, you can complete eight Pomodoros, which consist of:

Then, you plan which tasks you’ll be working on.

During the first four Pomodoro intervals, you’ll focus on writing your research paper.

After your first 20 minutes of break, you’ll be ready to return to work and use the remaining four Pomodoro intervals to study for your exam.

And after more than four hours of hard work and concentration, you now have 20 minutes to relax.

How To Achieve Maximum Productivity With The Pomodoro Technique

Here are a few productivity hacks you can use to maximize how you practice the Pomodoro sessions.

1) Use a Pomodoro App Or Timer

While you’ll most likely have your computer or phone while you work, we recommend not tracking your time with the clock but with a simple timer.

And it’s even better if you find a kitchen timer. This way, you can leave your phone aside to avoid any type of distractions or temptation to use it. Just you and your task.

But if you don’t have one, we recommend downloading a Pomodoro app. There are plenty of options available that you can find both on Android and iOS, but if you want to go for the safer choice, stick to Pomodoro Timer.

In case you also want an app that helps you block your phone, so you don’t fall under the temptation of opening Instagram in the middle of a Pomodoro session, there are many apps that will help you with that.

One of our favorites is Forest because if you successfully spend your fixed time without looking at the phone, you’ll grow a tree, which will be added to your own personal (and digital) forest.

And if you instead want to track your time with your computer, we recommend Promofocus.

2) Don't Use Your 5-Minute Breaks To Use Your Phone

One common mistake the community of Pomodoro users makes is grabbing their phones the second they have met their productive 25-minute Pomodoro session. They open Instagram or Tik Tok, and in a blink of an eye, they realize they’ve just spent the last half hour checking the latest memes.

Five minutes go by really fast!

So unless you have an iron willpower to avoid the strong calling of social media, don’t run to your phone and open it.

We are not saying “don’t use your phone” either. If you have family or work obligations, it’s fine to check that nothing came up and everything is ok. Just use your five minutes wisely.

Which leads us to our last tip.

3) Stay Active During Your 20-Minute Break

So, you have successfully completed four Pomodoro sessions, and earned a well-deserved 20-minute break. If you are still planning on working, the last thing you want to do is relax too much.

Yes, now it’s time to check social media or chill out in your bed, but if you want to go back to your tasks later, you’ll need to remain active throughout your break to keep all that productive energy alive.

You can go for a walk to clear your mind, take a shower and wash away all of your concerns, or get yourself a coffee to enjoy. And don’t forget to play your favorite music to keep you company!

Reaching the level of focus you get when you finish four Pomodoros is hard to achieve, so be mindful and don’t lose your energy. Use your break to relax, so when you start your fifth session, you have even more energy to keep nailing that task.

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Use The Pomodoro Technique To Be More Efficient!

So, if you’re looking to improve your productivity, the Pomodoro technique may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Work 25 minutes, rest 5, and repeat until you have earned that 20-minute break.

It can be as simple as that. Incorporate Pomodoro into your daily routine, and you’ll see how naturally you’ll start to use your time better and improve your efficiency. Nothing feels better than the sense of accomplishment you get when you know you’ve used your time in the most productive way.

So give it a go and see how Pomodoro can help you!

We hope this blog post helped you. If you want more college tips to improve your experience, check out our related articles:

Picture of Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea is a curious and creative journalist who first helped many college students as a Gradehacker consultant in subjects like literature, communications, ethics, and business. Now, as a Content Creator in our blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok, he assists non-traditional students improve their college experience by sharing the best tips. You can find him on LinkedIn.