Procrastination is the thief of time (proverb)

Are you a procrastinator?

Have you ever had to do homework/revision/tidy your room/something else less-than-exhilarating but kept on putting it off?

Did you feel better in the short term but feel that your stress levels built up as a result of not having done that task?

And did you feel better or a sense of accomplishment once it was completed?

Well if so, it may be worth knowing that procrastination causes anxiety (and vice versa). So, stop putting things off and, just like the slogan of that famous sports brands says, “Just do it!”

However, if that’s easier said than done, and you find it difficult to Eat That Frog (those of you who are serial procrastinators may want to check out Brian Tracy’s very good book by that name), let me tell you about the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ by Francesco Cirillo:’

Ok, so have you heard the saying that “Rome wasn’t built in a day?”

Probably.

And you might have heard, “How do you eat an elephant?”

Answer: “One bite at a time.”

So, small, manageable chunks may be the key to help you to cut down on procrastination and the emotions associated with apprehension about starting a task, and, in turn, help you increase productivity and get more done.

I learned the Pomodoro technique a few years ago and have applied it successfully ever since. It’s simple but effective, and I hope it will help you when you come to revise for your exams (incidentally, ‘pomodoro’ means ‘tomato’ in Italian).

For this you will need:

  • A timer (a tomato-shaped kitchen timer/an egg timer/an alarm clock/the timer on your phone – as long as you make sure not to sneak a peak at your Snapchat/Insta/Twitter/take a selfie when you’re bored or you think you’re slaying that jacket!)
  • Your revision/ homework task

Method:


  1. Set the timer for 25 minutes
    2. Focus and work on only that one task solidly for 25 minutes
    3. When the alarm goes off, take a 5 minute break
    4. After the 5 minute break, repeat steps 1, 2 and 3.

After 4 Pomodoros (ie 100 minutes of work and 15 minutes of break time), take a longer break (such as 10-20 minutes).

See how many Pomodoros it takes to get your task done.

According to pomodorotechnique.com, “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.” (But I found it worked for me straight away and I have more time to do other things).