09 Jan

Pomodoro Technique for Learning

I have to know about this technique when I was a university student. It worked really well for me and therefor I thought of sharing with the readers. This technique talks about taking small breaks in between work sprints.

A "pomodoro" kitchen timer, after which the method is named

A “pomodoro” kitchen timer, after which the method is named

What do you need?

  • A timer (If you cannot find it get a watch)
  • Notebook
  • Your learning material


Step 1 – Preparation

For this to work, you need have a clear idea on what you need to be do within the next 2 hours. I will take a small example of learning the first section of your favorite subject. If you do not know what’s in there, in the first chapter you cannot have a good estimate. If you feel like you don’t have at least a rough estimate, you need to spend a small time chunk (25 min) going though it very fast. If you have an estimate, divide the work in to 4 same size chunks. Each part should be possible to complete in 25 minutes. If you think work cannot be completed within 4 x 25 min chunks, leave some for next Pomodoro session.

Step 2 – Start the First session

Set your timer to 25 minutes and start working. You should not have any disturbance. Do not answer you phone if it is not really necessary. If you get any side-ideas (you found a past paper with a nice question related to what you are learning) write that down in the notebook. We will look at that past paper question later, this is not the time for it. Do not try multitasking. Just get done the first work chunk.

Step 3 – Take 5 min break

Now take a break for 5 mins. Regular breaks will restore your energy and improve your productivity to levels that more than make up for any lost time. Use your breaks to get away from your desk. Try you max not to surf web. However, you might need to check mail (replying to them might go to the notebook), Replying to phone calls, get some exercise, etc.

Step 4 – Repeat 4 times

You have to do this for 4 work chunks.

Step 5 – Take a long break

Take a 20-30 min break after 4 chunks. Use this to take a walk, to get the lunch. I used to play a small game call hearthstone (A card game and bit more) as a reward to myself. But try to get away from the desk, its good for your health.


If you think, it is too much just take a break. In addition, no one gets this right in the first attempt. Moreover, this might not suit all of you. Learning methods are having different effects on different people. Just try this; there is a high chance that it will work for you.

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