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The Pomodoro Technique: A Student’s Point of View

Task List ImageLast month we wrote about the time-boxing method of time management called “The Pomodoro Technique.” The basics of this technique are that you break all of your work sessions into 25-minute chunks, separated by regular short breaks (and, less frequently, a longer break).

Following this post, we decided to test out this time management technique to see how (or if) it worked for us. George has already tried it out from a professor’s perspective, and in this post I’ll be letting you know how it went from a student’s point of view in this post.

Here are some observations that I made when I first started using The Pomodoro Technique:

  • Like George, I discovered that my tasks often don’t fit into 25-minute sections.
  • Many times, a student is faced with getting an assignment completed in one sitting, which makes the Pomodoro Technique useless.
  • And finally, as a student, you don’t have set times, or even 25-minute chunks of time to devote to a task. Most of the time, I work on writing and other assignments when I’m waiting for a class to start, eating lunch, or even checking and replying to emails while walking between buildings on campus. (However, we do not advocate tweeting, texting, or email whilst walking, driving, or talking!).

When I actually had time to sit down and test out the technique, I used a great little Mac OS X widget called Meditation Timer. This free widget allows you to count down from a time that you set in the preferences. When the timer goes off, you hear a nice, unobtrusive gong sound.

While I can’t say that I will use the Pomodoro Technique with school-related work, I can definitely say that it works well for me with programming and writing tasks. Because you tend to lose your sense of time when writing or programming, I used this technique to keep track of tasks that I was doing, and also to remember to take breaks between sessions to rest my eyes.

These things being said, I’ll still keep the Pomodoro Technique in my arsenal of productivity techniques, but for the time being, I’ll stick to my favorite: Merlin Mann’s “(10+2)*5.”

What about you? What time boxing or time management tools, techniques, or software applications do you use? Let us know in the comments below!

[Creative commons licensed Flickr photo by bark]

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