KCP students in common room.

KCP Alum Brody Stejskal on the “Pomodoro Technique”

One of the hardest things about studying is staying focused. It seems that every time I sit down at my desk and prepare to start working, something comes up that requires my immediate attention. Whether it’s an unopened email, a quick message to a friend, or even a quick look at my favorite online shopping sites, what was supposed to be only a cursory glance has evolved into hours of mindless scrolling.

iPhone screen.

As a college student, my grades depend on just a few key assignments. Whereas my high school grades were the product of hundreds of little assignments, my college academic record consists primarily of a few essays and the occasional midterm. As a result, I cannot afford to be distracted once midterms and finals seasons come.

So over the past few weeks, I have tried a study hack called the “Pomodoro Technique.” The premise of this hack is simple: 25 minutes of focused, intense studying followed by a quick five-minute break. Given the rapidly approaching pace of my midterms, I decided to give it a shot over the past few weeks. Here is what I found.

If you have an iPhone you can also use the timer function. Be careful your phone doesn’t become a distraction.

At first, the Pomodoro Technique was difficult to maintain. I am so used to studying without time constraints! Previously, I simply sat down and studied until all my work was done. I would take breaks when I felt like I had deserved them, usually at the end of a major assignment (or when my phone notifications lit up). Just getting the timer to twenty-five minutes and focusing on a single task was difficult. I could not believe just how slowly time went by. At the end of the twenty-five minutes, my five-minute break felt so short in comparison. Even keeping up with this study hack was tiring—I could only do 4 Pomodoro rounds my first day.

Pomodoro tracker.Pomodoro-tracker.com automatically tracks the time for you. It also allows for a to-do list.

By the next week, I was slowly getting accustomed to the routine. I had found my pace, and the strict time of the Pomodoro Technique helped my body adjust into a rhythm. Additionally, I began to use the Pomodoro Technique as a way to incentivize myself to actually study more efficiently! By the end of my third week with the Pomodoro Technique, I was able to do up to 8 Pomodoro rounds in a single day!

Scribbles on notebook.

So far, the Pomodoro Technique has been a tremendous success. KCP’s rigorous program can burn a lot of people put after the first month, but using this method has helped me to continuously study. Rotating between different subjects after the interval changed has kept my studying fresh and exciting.

My productivity has shot up ever since I’ve started using this method!

My study schedule has become far more routine, and I feel far less distracted when I do sit down to do work. Knowing that I have a 5 min reward less than half an hour away has provided just the right amount of motivation for me to postpone checking my phone until I finished around. Over the next few weeks, I will begin changing my times, switching up my study/break ratio so I can become an even better student. With the Pomodoro Technique, staying focused is a breeze.

Click here to read more of Brody’s posts!