Study Tips: The Pomodoro Technique
  • 5-minute read
  • 7th March 2023

Study Tips: The Pomodoro Technique

Do you struggle to stay focused while studying? The Pomodoro (meaning tomato in Italian) Technique might be the solution for you!

No, we don’t mean you have to eat lots of tomatoes (although you can do that, too). Francesco Cirillo, a university student, developed this technique in the late 1980s when he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to break up his study sessions.

Since then, many have used his technique, and it’s been very effective in helping students stay focused and productive while studying. Read on to learn more about how it works!

How to Implement the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is pretty simple. First, set a timer for 25 minutes (a tomato-shaped one is optional). During that time, focus on one task (reading a chapter, working on an assignment, etc.).

When the timer goes off, mark down that you completed “one pomodoro” and jot down what you accomplished during that time. Then, take a five-minute break before starting another session. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes). And repeat!

Tips for Using the Pomodoro Technique

Choose a Distraction-Free Environment

Because your goal is to stay focused, removing as many potential distractions as possible will help you have the most success with the Pomodoro Technique. Choose a space that’s quiet and uncluttered and close the door so that pets or family members won’t disturb you.

If you like to play music while you study, stick to music without lyrics. Setting your phone to airplane mode so you won’t be distracted by incoming texts or notifications is also a good idea.

Identify Specific Tasks to Complete During Each Session

Before you start, line up the tasks you want to get done so you won’t waste time twiddling your thumbs. Set the tasks in the order that you want to complete them.

Maybe you have a section of reading to complete, a topic you need to research, and some homework assignments. Or perhaps you’re working on one big project (e.g., writing a dissertation) that you can break up into smaller tasks (e.g., researching your topic, writing the different sections of the essay, compiling a reference list).

Set Achievable Goals for Each Study Session

You may not always complete a task during one pomodoro, but it’s a good idea to break up your task into small, achievable goals. This will help you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the session, fueling your motivation to keep going.

For example, if your task is to write the introduction of an essay, a smaller goal within that could be to construct a thesis statement.

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Avoid Multitasking

While jumping into other tasks and getting a few things done at once may be tempting, try to stay focused on one task during each pomodoro. Doing this helps you to put thorough, quality work into each component, and you won’t be distracted in a later session by something you didn’t finish during an earlier session.

Stay Accountable Through the Tracking Progress

After each pomodoro, record what you accomplished. You may not have completed everything you wanted to, but making a record will help you better gauge how much time you need for different things. You can then adjust your tasks for each session to maximize your workflow. This method also keeps you accountable because you’ll have to track instances of being less productive.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

One common mistake is failing to take breaks. For example, you may be on a roll and decide to keep going after a 25-minute session is up. Conversely, taking breaks that are too long is an easy trap to fall into.

When the timer is up, make a habit of setting everything down and walking away. Give yourself something to do that takes five minutes: make a cup of coffee, water your plants, walk your dog down the street, etc. Try to avoid getting on social media or taking a phone call, as those things can cause you to lose track of time easily.

On the other hand, try not to be overly rigid with the schedule. Make room for things that will inevitably come up, but don’t allow them to keep you from jumping back into studying. You should also adapt this technique to your own needs and preferences. Maybe you prefer to work for 20 minutes rather than 25, or maybe you need that longer break after two or three pomodoros.


The Pomodoro Technique has helped many students stay focused and get their work done. It breaks up overwhelming tasks and helps you produce high-quality work. It also gives you a clear measurement of your time and efforts, allowing you to organize your study days and optimize productivity.

If you struggle with staying focused, give the Pomodoro Technique a try. And give yourself the best chance of success by minimizing distractions, setting out your tasks and goals, avoiding multitasking, tracking your progress, and sticking to the timing that works best for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Pomodoro Technique work?

Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one task during that time. Mark down your progress and take a five-minute break before starting another session (or pomodoro). After four pomodoros, take a 15 to 30-minute break.

Can the Pomodoro Technique be used for tasks other than studying?

You can use this method for many types of work. If you’re procrastinating on something or struggling to stay on task, the Pomodoro Technique (or a variation of it) can be helpful.

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