Before I start this blog entry the way I’d planned it, I want to fill you guys in on a couple of ground rules I have made for myself, that I think can apply to anyone.
If this is going to work, I need to commit to these techniques wholeheartedly. That means;
- Putting my phone on airplane mode.
This is probably the number one tip I give my friends, but never follow myself. If you’re being honest with yourself, nothing important is going to happen the 1 or 2 hours you’ve set aside for studying. No phone call or text is so important that you need to answer it right away. If you are expecting a truly important phone call, like from an employer, set up a filter, so that they can reach you, but no one else can. When you decide to take a break, then you can answer whatever text you might have gotten.
- Work for at least an hour before giving up.
I think this applies to many people as well. A lot of times I will sit down, and just stare at the paper or my computer screen, not knowing where to start. Usually I will get up, start cooking or goofing off on my phone (i.e. what I mentioned in my previous bullet point. My phone is my Achilles heel…), and when it finally gets dark outside, or I have other plans, I will say “oh well, I tried!” when I in fact did not try at all! I just sat down on a chair and stared at a piece of paper for a few minutes! Some people say to try for somewhere between 25-30 mins, but I want to push myself with this project. It’s not the end of the world to be bored for a little while.
Other than this, I want to mention that the blog’s posting schedule will be an update on Monday, telling you what kind of study technique or method I will try out this week, and a follow up on Sunday, evaluating whether or not the technique worked, and if I’m going to continue using it the following week.
This week I’m trying out the Pomodoro technique. If I’m going to be completely honest, I have tried this method before, and I’ve really enjoyed it. In short, the technique uses a stopwatch or a timer to portion out 25 minutes where all you do is work, followed by a 5-minute break. Repeat this cycle 4 times, and give yourself a proper break of 45 minutes or more. This technique will not only help you focus for the allotted 25 minutes, it will also help you structure out your work into “pomodoro’s”, meaning, “how many intervals of 25 minutes do I need to finish this task”. The sense of urgency and stress you get from listening to the timer ticking really keeps me from checking my phone or wasting any time doing something other than my task, because I know I only have 25 minutes before my break. This also makes starting tasks easier, because you are only committing to 25 minutes of work, which isn’t a lot.
This time around, I really want to focus on learning how many pomodoro’s I need to finish a task. Having a better grasp of how much time I will need to finish a task will really help me in structuring my workload leading up to this year’s final exams. I recommend you check out the video embedded below, and visit the official Pomodoro technique website, at http://pomodorotechnique.com/.
Until next time.