No one works harder than teachers. And, I’m willing to bet, you have a lot more work to do than actual hours available to do it. While I can’t lessen your workload, I can share an idea to help you accomplish more in less time.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, helps you take advantage of the time you DO have by working intently in small blocks of time–and rewarding yourself along the way. Pomodoro refers to a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (or in Italian, a pomodoro). (I think they’re pretty cute, but I also found a more modern version, the perfect coffee break combo, and this one for any bakers out there.) Of course, a special timer is not necessary–any online timer will work!
How it works
Rather than working throughout the time you have available, (including getting distracted, taking breaks, and multi-tasking) instead, set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one specific task. Try to complete as much as possible in the allotted time.
When the timer goes off, take a 5-10 minute break. Then, begin your next “Pomodoro”: 25 minutes of focused work.
In addition to helping you accomplish more in less time, this process can improve your focus and quality of work. And if you are getting more done, you might feel less stress: fewer last-minute grinds and more time to breathe!
Tips for success
1. How much effort is needed?
Think about how much time is needed to accomplish a task and how much time you have available. For example, if you have one hour after school and three priorities, which is most important? How much time do you need to complete it? You could spend one hour after school checking email, tidying up, and multi-tasking, but still not accomplish any of your important tasks. Instead, choose one goal and work on it for 25 minutes without distraction. You might find that you accomplish more in those 25 minutes than you normally would in an hour! Give yourself a 5-10 minute break and you still have time for another 25 minute Pomodoro!
2. Eliminate distractions
Close your door, put your phone on “do not disturb”, turn off email notifications, etc. You want to work with complete focus during your Pomodoro.
3. Work with the time you have available
Only have 20 minutes? Perfect: that’s one 15-minute focused Pomodoro, and you’ll still have 5 minutes for a snack!
If you have a longer period of time, give yourself a 20-30 minute break after four Pomodoros.
The point here is to be intentional with your time and energy. If you are focusing intently on one specific task in an allotted period of time, you will accomplish more and better work without feeling overwhelmed.
Take time to reflect on the process. What did you accomplish? How do you feel mentally? Physically?
Hopefully, this process will help you take advantage of even small pockets of time so that you can spend less time working and more time doing things you love.
Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique here.