Improving students’ lives through…pomodoros?

Pomodoro Timer

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Last year, I spent a colossal amount of time working after school.  This left me completely exhausted, and none too happy.  Not to mention the fact that I did not get to see my family except for half-asleep, zombie-state periods of time that were not fulfilling.

This year, I decided to do things a little differently.  I researched the topic of time management online and I found…

the pomodoro timer.

The pomodoro timer is a simple tool that was created by an Italian man who had a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (tomato=pomodoro in Italian).  He found that he could focus in twenty-five minute increments, take five-minute breaks in between, and therefore remain more focused on the task at hand.  After one’s fourth twenty-five-minute work time, the break time is twenty minutes.  Supposedly, all of these breaks will refresh one’s brain, and one is supposed to work faster than a pomodoro’s flight time during La Tomatina.

Free pomodoro timers are available for iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android phones.  I downloaded the “Pomodroido” on my Android, and tried the pomodoro timer for a few days.

Guess what?  It actually works.  I was astounded at the amount of work that I could get done just by refraining from getting a snack, checking work e-mail, or quickly Googling a random thought.

I let my students know about the pomodoro timer, not sure if they would actually try it.  I explained that they would get work done quickly, and would then have the rest of the afternoon to check Facebook or text their friends GUILT FREE, without the thought that they should be doing something else hanging over their heads.

The next day, I had a group of students tell me that they tried it and it worked!  One student (who had been depressed for a full week) was so excited that he completed all of his homework the night before, that he was in great spirits.  Another student told me that, with the help of the pomodoro timer, she spent an hour and a half on homework–a full hour and a half less than it usually takes her!


“Every day has been so short, every hour so fleeting, every minute so filled with the life I love that time for me has fled on too swift a wing.” —Aga Khan III

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