This time management tool was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. He suggests we set a timer (he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, hence the name) to 25 minutes and use that to work on a single task without stopping until the timer goes off.
This external monitor of your time can help you to keep focused and also to organise and manage your time. It also prevents you from multi-tasking and shuts out external distractions such as social media.
These days we can easily use a phone (in aeroplane mode) to time ourselves.
The Pomodoro Technique consists of 6 steps:
1. Pick a task to work on (it may be something to complete quickly or a larger task that needs a lot of time).
2. Set the timer for 25 minutes and pledge to spend the entire time on that task without interruption. (Turn off social media etc.)
3. Work on the task for 25 minutes (if another thought or task pops into your head write yourself a quick note to attend to it after the 25 minutes).
4. When the timer goes off make a note of how far you have got and congratulate yourself for staying on task.
5. Take a short break (5 minutes or so) to give your mind a rest. Now set the timer again and repeat.
6. Every 4 Pomodoros, take a more substantial break (20 minutes or so).
1. Set students a task that needs focussing on. Discuss with students the process and talk about the things that distract them especially when they are trying to study outside of class. You may want to ask them where they will work, where is the most productive study space they have and how they will reduce distractions.
2. Set a timer and begin the task (you may want to display this on a TV screen – an internet search for ‘timer’ will bring up lots you can choose from). At the end of the task allow 5 minutes for some downtime.
3. Discuss how students found it. What distracted them? Did they stay focused? Etc.
4. Ask how they can use this technique out of class and what might stop them.
5. Ask students to set a goal for the work they will ‘Pomodoro’ this week. (You may wish to agree on a task that you set for the whole group)
6. Remember to check up with them in the next session and see how it went and what support they might need.
This will work well with all group sizes. You may want to facilitate the discussions in smaller groups.
Students will study effectively outside of class.