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  • Writer's pictureJulien Morizio

The Pomodoro Technique: A great way to improve attention and time management

Maintaining focus is possible for every student. While some have difficulty concentrating on their homework for over five minutes, they can spend hours playing a sport or watching TV. Why is that? Well, it's just easier to train your mind to focus on doing something you like. Reading, studying, solving math problems - Not every kid is a fan of that. Therefore, they have not naturally trained themselves to be able to do those challenging tasks for more than a couple of minutes at a time. But it's never too late to start.

A method I use when working with children with attention difficulties is the Pomodoro Technique. This simple yet effective time management method involves splitting tasks into smaller chunks of work and separating them with short breaks.

Its process is as follows:

1. Write down or decide the task you want to get done.

2. Decide the amount of time during which you would like to work. This time should challenge you. If you have difficulty working for 5 minutes straight, then set the timer to 5 minutes.

3. Decide upon the break time that will follow your work time. If you work for 5 minutes, I would suggest having a break of 2 minutes (just enough time for a mental break).

4. Set a timer (cellphone, watch, kitchen timer, etc.) for the amount of work time you decided upon.

5. Without interruption, work on the task for the entirety of the set time.

6. When the time's up, take a break for the amount of time you had decided upon.

7. Repeat steps 4 to 6.

What usually happens is the student soon becomes better at focusing for more than the amount of time that used to challenge them. Not only that, but they increasingly become engaged in the task they are working on and start seeing the breaks as interruptions. They can either decide to continue working without breaks, or increase the amount of work time. For example, when 5 minutes becomes easy, they can move on to 10 minutes, and so on. The point is to consistently improve their ability to stay focused on a task over time. Eventually, they would take the initiative to use the Pomodoro Technique by themselves, or not need to use a timer altogether.



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