Using the Pomodoro Technique

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By Kelly Beischel

I’m a Circus Ringmaster, trying to keep the 3 rings of teaching, scholarship and service going at the same time.

We all know too well how this goes.

Classes begin in a week.

I’m scheduled to teach three courses and coordinate a practicum course. So, I have four courses to create – one of which is a total redo.

That’s merely the teaching ring. 

For the remaining rings – I’m scheduling my writing time over spring semester, reviewing manuscripts, and entering data into SPSS (ouch) while trying to catch up on various tasks that fall under service.

I have too much to do with the little time left of Winter Break.

You live this story, no?

It’s okay, I’m not stressed about it. (Okay, maybe a little.)

Using timers to get it all done!

Using timers to get it all done!

I’ve learned to get it all done using the Pomodoro Technique

Have you ever used this technique?

This is the gist of the Pomodoro Technique:
1. Write out all the activities you must accomplish on a sheet of paper.

2. Prioritize your activities on a different sheet of paper – called Priority To Do’s.

3. Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes.

4. Work only on the task at the top of your priority list.

5. When the timer rings take a 3-5 minute break.

6. At the end of the 3-5 minute break, you have finished one Pomodoro.

7. Sit back down and set the timer for another 25 minutes.

8. Repeat

9. After 4 Pomodoro’s, take a 30 minute break.

10. Keep going until the task is complete.

Sounds easy??

It is!

I’ve even taught my students the benefits of using this technique.

In fact about a month ago, a student was lamenting to me that she had a paper to write, exams to study for, and clinical papers to finish. She was having difficulty sitting down and completing any of them.

My response to her?

“You know what I’m going to say” to which she said, “I know; you love your timers. I’ll try it.”


She reported success!

Ahhh … now that feels good.

Now check out the Top 10 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Pomodoro Filled Day.

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