In January 2011 I bought an iPhone 4. A device which I am really happy with. Only one problem. It is a big (BIG) distraction. Since I have the phone, I am constant checking my email/twitter/facebook. And this is causing problems, especially with studying for a test. Luckily I’ve come accross a solution, a technique which made my concentration go SKYHIGH!

I am sure some of you already heard from this, it isn’t something new, but after explaining it to a couple of friends, groups of students in workshops and discussions about the topic I have some insights to share, some thoughts behind the technique and only when you understand the underlying mechanisms you can start to use a technique like you should – you should have a burning desire to use it.

The technique is called ‘The Pomodore Technique’. It is fairly easy:

Take the Pomodore Technique into action:

  1. Shut everything down and set a timer for 25 minutes. Work until the timer goes off.
  2. Have a 5 minute break. Do something fun, enjoy your break.
  3. Repeat this 4 times. Which makes around 2 hours of studying/working.
  4. Take a big break. Go for a cup of coffee/lunch or whatever. I don’t care: have a bigger break.

Pretty easy right? Why I am sharing this on this blog? Let me explain a couple of points.

Thoughts behind the Pomodore technique.

First of all, what means shutting down? After I booted up my iPhone for the first time I knew this was going to cause me problems with studying. Without an eggtimer or anything running in the background I am constantly checking the thing. Using the technique, I force myself into not-looking for 25 minutes. This doesn’t seem like a long time, but you only need 5-10 minutes to get in some sort of flow, which enables you to go on, it gets you in a state of mind where you are highly concentrated so you can absorb the knowledge like you should.

I don’t shut my iPhone down, but I do shut off the messages and everything. When I am studying at home, I just put my iPhone in an iPhone Dock for instance, so it is at a distance. I can still look up terms on the internet, but I won’t be noticed when somebody is texting me or something. I am shut down for the outside world – contact me in my breaks. I am setting my own office hours.

Second. Tiny Wings is a great game for the break. I don’t know who of you ever played Tiny Wings, but it is a game about a little bird whom’s wings aren’t that big, so he has to slide over the land. You have to help him to get as far as possible during one day. Here is the thing: one game takes around 5 minutes. So this makes the perfect pomodore-break game, because you only play one game and you can go on with your studying again!

Third. You don’t want to have these breaks. When friends are testing out this technique they don’t want to stop after 25 minutes. Because they are finally in the flow, so they want to continu to work on their study materials. I tell them to still take the break, because your brain needs some rest. You need a couple of minutes to get out of the material to get into with a fresh mind again later. This enables you to go on for 2 hours.

Last, you need to have your own office hours to complete work. I am studying in a library, more often with others than without. But you need to set your own ‘office-hours’ to complete your own work. When you listen to friends and drink coffee with them whenever they want, you can’t stick to your own schedule. Since I adopted the Pomodore Technique I am not a nice guy to study with anymore, because I am studying for 2 hours until I have a break and I need to take a break in my hours. Sounds selfish? Maybe, but hey, I am the person who wants to pass the test as well!

Interested? Test it out yourself and let me know what happened!

There is enough bullshit around the internet about the Pomodore Technique, I hope I gave you a couple of insights which made you curious about the Pomodore Technique. It definitly is something I am starting to believe in more and more. So test it out yourself!

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your thoughts, especially when it is not working for you or anything, I love to learn something new every once in a while =)

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