We all have trouble concentrating in our lives. Many of us have to sit and study/work for hours on end, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic which locked everyone inside their homes. However, most of us find it very hard to concentrate very long on our work or studies, and we lose focus or start procrastinating after a short while. The result of this is that we complete minimal work, and end up being unproductive for most of the day because of our loss of concentration. However, there is one simple method, called the Pomodoro Technique, which helps improve productivity and focus.
What is it?
The Pomodoro method is very simple. It requires you to work/study for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. The reason this method works is also simple: evolutionary biology. The human brain is not designed to focus for extended periods of time on singular task, and is made to consider many different things in our lives. This is a result of survival instincts that have developed within us. To protect us from looming threats, the brain is in a constant state of alertness. This makes focusing on one thing for a long time very hard for your brain. So, adhering to this basic instinct, the Pomodoro method makes it possible for us to work in short bursts of time with full concentration, and then take a few minutes to relax or focus on something else so as to not tire ourselves out. This can be repeated for hours on end and helps retain focus, especially if studying for an exam or completing some work.
Also, this technique has been known to increase the quality of your work. When you take a break, you force yourself to take a few seconds to revaluate and rethink certain things. Sometimes, you find that you have to adjust your work to increase the quality of it. In contrast, when you work on a task without a break, it is easy to lose focus and get lost in the work. That is why the 5-minute breaks are equally important as the 25 minutes of work. You must take your breaks seriously and see them as a reward.
What makes it effective?
- It makes it easy to get your work started: We may often find it uncomfortable to start a big task or project, and try to avoid doing it as much as possible until the last minute. The most effective way to break out of this avoidance cycle is to just simply start the work, even if it is with a small step. This procrastination-busting strategy is exactly what the Pomodoro technique asks you to do: break down your big tasks or projects into something you only have to do for the next 25 minutes.
- Helps combat distractions: As mentioned earlier, it very easy to get distracted while doing your work and most of us can’t focus on the task at hand for long periods of time continuously. The Pomodoro Technique helps you resist all of those self-interruptions and re-train your brains to focus.
- Makes us more aware of time: When most of us are planning out our work, we usually underestimate the time needed to complete the tasks, even when we know similar tasks have taken longer in the past. The Pomodoro technique can be a valuable weapon against this problem, as working in short, timed sessions is not an abstract concept but a concrete event that helps keep track of the time.
- It is easy to do: The Pomodoro technique is an accessible technique for everyone as it is more about consistency than perfection. Each session is a fresh start to revaluate your goals, challenge yourself to focus, and limit distractions. You can make the system work for you.
Hence, in case you are having trouble with staying focused and productive, give the Pomodoro technique a try to see if it helps you, just as it as helps so many people.