Mastering concentration: Pomodoro Reflection

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3 min read
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    Kien Dang

Concentration is a skill that takes time to develop; we live in an era where everything competes for our attention. The internet is a space where distractions are endless and to make matters worse, our personal phones keep us connected by alerting us for emails, social media and other miscellaneous apps. The Pomodoro technique can be used to increase your concentration skills and help stay productive.

The simple and effective concept of 25 minutes of focus and 5 minute break. I remember struggling with 25 minutes of focus when I was in school. Studying was boring, I couldn’t sit still for 10 minutes because I was easily distracted with Facebook, games and other mundane things on the internet. Eventually, I became better at concentrating by working my way up, I would increase the focus time by 5 minutes starting at 10 until I was able to do one pomodoro.

Pomodoros help mimic a due date

If you’ve ever procrastinated before, you definitely know the feeling of urgency to complete something before it's due. Getting started is probably the hardest thing to do and pomodoros help create a sense of urgency to complete a task within 25 minutes. Most of the time, once you start working, you get into a state of flow (in the zone).

Flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.

You are most productive in a state of flow and pomodoros are meant to capitalize this state. There will be times where you work past the 25 minutes, which is completely normal and when you are stuck then that would be the ideal time to take your 5 minute break.

Pomodoro as a unit of measure for productivity

Tracking productivity can be tricky, however, with pomodoros, you know they are only 25 minute time blocks which are allocated for a particular task. If you do not finish the task within 25 minutes, then you can always try another pomodoro. Do not get caught up in the idea that if it is not completed in 25 minutes, then you have been unproductive. The most important thing is that you have spent 25 minutes putting in the effort to a particular task or problem.

Sometimes you might hear others putting “endless” hours trying to do a task or solve a problem, but then they don’t realize how many interruptions they’ve had and maybe it only took them 30 minutes of real work to complete something. Pomodoros allow you to quantify your efforts because you are blocking all interruptions during this time and you know those efforts were meaningful.

I’ve been using pomodoros to keep track of my studying and how many hours I’m using to actively learn a new topic. During May, I wanted to see my progress and track them as I go along and I found some valuable information about myself.