How to keep focused while studying? The Pomodoro technique really simple and will help you to keep focus and improve your language learning. Pomodoro is a technique created by the Italian Francisco Cirillo in 1980 to help people to keep and optimize focus.
Attention span is the amount of time that someone can keep working on a task without being distracted. People can keep their focus for a maximum of 20 minutes, this causes a lot of problems because many tasks that we should do are not thought to respect that limit. To help to reduce this problem this technique splits time into small chunks that will switch between work and rest, so then when you start losing attention your brain will get a break and when you return you can reset this countdown.
Pomodoro has a lot of advantages comparing it to other time management techniques.
- Simplicity - It is a simple technique that you can explain in minutes to any person, from children to adults and can be used in many different use-cases.
- Remove distractions - It helps you to identify what is distracting you and think about how to prevent it. Once you detect what is the main reason to break your working flow you can prepare a plan to stop it.
- Let you rest - Instead of forcing you to just keep working without stop, it understand your necessity to rest and give you some minutes to rest and do what you want without removing your productivity.
- Science-backed - Psychology studies show that you can not keep your focus for more than some minutes. This is human nature there is no point in trying to deny it, so instead, you can use this to overcome it.
- Helps to estimate - Once you start working using this technique you can start to estimate your tasks on how many Pomodoro cycles it will take to finish.
- Routine - Because it works in cycles this will create a routine that after time will let you more comfortable working like this.
- Reduces stress - Because it removes distractions it will help you to achieve your goals easily reducing your stress and also will free you from having to react to any new message, e-mail or people trying to disturb you.
To understand how Pomodoro can help you to keep focused on your tasks first we need to learn how attention works. There are two types of attention:
- Transient attention - This is the short-term attention that is used for sensorial stimuli, such as seeing something moving or listening to a sound. You can see this type of attention happening when you see a notification on your smartphone or when you hear something falling and after a really short amount of time (usually seconds) you stop paying attention.
- Selective Attention - It is the attention type that you use when you decide to focus on a task. It can last a way longer period than the transient, but it still less than you wanted it to be, for 2-year-olds it lasts 7 minutes, for 5-year-olds 14 minutes and for adults it gets a maximum of 20 minutes.
Selective Attention can be renewed using some techniques such as changing the environment or task that you are working on. That is why you can keep seeing a whole movie without being distracted too much, things change there new actors appear, the scenery changes, the music increases all of that help you to refocus. Pomodoro uses this mechanism to renew your attention span by introducing these breaks where you can use your mind to anything different than your work.
How to use the Pomodoro Technique
The infographic below can show you how to use it:
Human focus decreases as time goes by, the Pomodoro technique prevents this to happen by dividing the time into cycles. Each cycle has a step and the differences in these steps are the key to keep focus, these steps are the following:
- Work - You will do an activity for a maximum of 25 minutes if you have any distractions you can write it so you will have ideas on what to do to keep your focus. In this step is important that you try to remove distractions as much as possible.
- Rest - When this time ends you will rest for 5 minutes, that moment you can walk around, drink water, go to the toilet, etc. This step will restore your focus by changing what you are doing and by relaxing your focus. In this step is important that you do not engage in another task that will require focus, otherwise, you will be doing multitasking not Pomodoro and multitask do not work.
- Repeat - These two parts, the working part, and the resting part is what we call a cycle. You will keep these cycles until you do 4 of them, after that you can have a longer break of 30 minutes and then you start to do the cycles again.
The quantities of minutes spend on each part of the cycle can be personalized to each task that you do, but it is important that you don't reduce it too much and do not change its length after starting your Pomodoro session.
When you are learning a foreign language Pomodoro will help you to keep focused and to distinguish things that take your focus, helping you to avoid them. This will let you absorb more content and will keep you more motivated and consistently studying.
Self-Polyglot contains an embedded Pomodoro System that will aid you to keep focused. We use this and many other techniques to improve your learning, because of that you can learn more spending less time.
Pomodoro in language learning
Usually, in schools or courses, people still ignoring the average attention span that a person can have. That is why we still having classes of one or two hours, but as mentioned before this is highly inefficient once your attention starts to decrease you reduce the amount that you can absorb.
Keeping your mind sharp will help you to reduce the amount of time needed to learn something. Learning a new language fast is essential nowdays, you can not wait for several years to start speaking a new language. Self-Polyglot contains an embedded Pomodoro System that will aid you to keep focused. We use this and many other techniques to improve your learning, because of that you can learn more spending less time.
- Pomodoro - https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique
- How We Learn - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19288640-how-we-learn
- Attention Span - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_span