Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Best Study Method to Boost Your Productivity

If you're anything like me, you're probably finding yourself in that mid-semester, unmotivated, I-don't-want-to-do-anything slump. It's just that time of the semester ~ spring fever is kicking in, we can almost taste the end of the year, and everyone is nearing their "so done" point. Which is particularly bad for me, since, as I've mentioned, I'm working on my junior thesis this semester.

But, unmotivated or not, I need to get stuff done, and I'm sure you do too ~ and we all don't have much time to waste. So how can we help ourselves be more focused and productive? This is a question I've struggled with for a while now. But I recently found an amazing study method that I've begun using this semester, and I've had so much success with it: the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique by which you work in 25-minute increments (called pomodoros), with each increment followed by a 5-minute break. So basically: work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break; work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break; and so on. After four sets like that, you take a longer break for 10 minutes. You can buy timers that are specifically for this method, and there are also online timers that you can use ~ like this one.

Using this method when I study has proven to be super effective for me. Before I started using it, I would sit down to a 2-hour chunk of study time and proceed to be painfully unproductive almost the entire time. Subconsciously, I was hesitant to take the plunge and actually start studying, because 2 hours seemed like such a long time. And indeed, I was expecting myself and my brain to concentrate for much too much time at once.

Breaking up your studying into smaller increments, separated by quick breaks, is so much more doable. By doing this, you trick yourself and your brain into thinking you're working for almost no time at all: "25 minutes? Psshh, I can spare 25 minutes to do this reading or work on my paper." So you sit down and do it, and guess what ~ you actually make a lot of progress in those 25 minutes. Then when the 25 minutes are over, you think, "That wasn't so bad! I could totally do that again or keep going." And you do keep going, working in those short increments and continuing to make lots of progress during each increment ~ and before you know it, you've gotten so much done!

It's much more reasonable to expect your brain to concentrate for 25 minutes at a time than for 2 hours at a time. You focus much better during shorter spurts of time than you do in one long period of time. And therefore, you are much more productive.

So next time you sit down for a study session, I highly recommend giving the Pomodoro Technique a try. I promise it will boost your concentration and help you get stuff done!

Have you ever used the Pomodoro Technique? Do you have any tips for boosting productivity?


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