Trouble focussing? Try the Pomodoro Technique

Current Flinders’ PhD student Charley shares her tips for staying focused while studying by using the Pomodoro technique. In addition to studying, Charley also works in the Learning Lounge at Bedford Park campus. The Learning Lounge is a study space staffed by Learning Advisors who can help you with academic writing, understanding assignment requirements, referencing, numeracy, and other general study skills and tips juts like the Pomodoro technique! To view Learning Lounge location and opening hours visit the student website.

Charley’s tips…

The Pomodoro Technique is something I have just started using in my 6th year of study that I’ve found incredibly useful. Staying focussed while studying for big chunks of time has always been something I struggle with, and often I can feel guilty when taking breaks and getting distracted by other interests or tasks. This can sometimes mean that I end up trying to study for really long periods of time without breaks but end up less productive because I’m less focussed. The Pomodoro Technique works with the assumption that humans aren’t built to be focussed for long periods and allowing yourself to take breaks is important. Taking short breaks in between studying is a concept that I’m sure a lot of us are familiar with but can sometimes struggle to make work for us. The Pomodoro Technique takes this concept and gives it a bit more structure, so that you can spend less effort on deciding when and for how long you should study, and can dedicate that effort to what’s important, whether that be your study or self-care.

To use the technique, you set a timer for a length of time you feel you can maintain focus for (e.g., 25 minutes) and then set a timer for your break period (e.g., 5 minutes). Playing around with different study times and break times may also help you find your groove and improve your productivity when studying. I’ve found that online timers for this technique can be particularly helpful, like as it takes away the extra responsibility of setting a new timer each time you finish a study period or break period. This technique can also be helpful when doing other tasks that you might have trouble focussing on, like housework. So next time you find your concentration fizzling out, try breaking down your study and break periods with a timer and see if the Pomodoro Technique works for you.

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