Does the Pomodoro Technique really work for essay writing?
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Does the Pomodoro Technique really work for essay writing?

Eve Edwards January 19, 2022

So, you have an essay deadline looming and need to get focussed. Can the Pomodoro Technique help?

We all know that students can often have a hard time concentrating. Who hasn’t drifted off in a lecture every now and then? But when you’re working to a deadline, drifting off is the last thing you want to be doing.

To help you focus on that deadline, be it for an essay or exam revision, many students benefit from using the Pomodoro Technique (or Method). We put the technique to the Freshered test to see if it really helps you write under a deadline.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages you to break up your time into intensive bursts of work followed by a break. It’s basically the HIIT class of academia!

Using this method, you break your workday (or revision period) into 25-minute chunks followed by a five-minute break. Each of these work cycles is called a ‘Pomodoro’.

After four Pomodoros (which is 2 hours of work), you can take a longer break of between 15 and 20 minutes. The cycle then repeats for however long you need.

But does the technique really work for essays?

We put the Pomodoro Technique to the test to see if it actually made writing essays under a deadline easier.

With just five days to write a 3,000 word essay, I started planning the essay using the Pomodoro cycle. After eight full Pomodoro cycles of researching and structuring, I was ready to write.

Everyone has their own individual method of writing essays. Whether you prefer a free-flow of words which require multiple drafts and edits, or you meticulously craft your essay from start to finish, the technique is still beneficial. For me, the Freshered guinea pig, the essay went through multiple drafts. By engaging in intensive bursts of work, I could quickly write without becoming too distracted or getting lost in other thoughts. To write effectively, I focussed each Pomodoro cycle on a different section of my essay: introduction, literature review, main paragraphs, conclusion. I then used the technique when doing referencing and formatting.

By using the Pomodoro Technique at every stage during the writing process, it became clear where it was most useful.

Freshered’s take on the Pomodoro Technique

When writing an essay under time pressure, the Pomodoro Technique proved extremely useful to gain focus and structure my time efficiently. However, it didn’t exactly fit my working style. There were times during the essay writing process that I had to break the flow to take the five-minute pause. Although I wanted to continue working, the enforced break was necessary to ensure I was sticking to the Pomodoro Technique.

For the practical side of the essay writing process (the researching, planning and formatting), it was most useful. So, I would imagine that this method of learning would be helpful when prepping for an exam as well.

If you find yourself easily distracted, this could be an extremely helpful way of managing your work and writing process. If, however, you find that you can focus more easily, then you could adapt the technique to your own working style. Towards the end of my writing process, I found that I was writing with pure focus for between 30-35 minutes and then taking a slightly longer break. This is what worked for me, however you can adapt the method to your own needs.

Whether you’re prepping for an exam or writing an essay on a deadline, this way of working is worth testing out. But you can always make it work for you! Try shorter or longer bursts of work to see what helps you maintain focus for longest.

See also: How to get cheap university textbooks

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Eve Edwards is a Senior Entertainment and News Writer who has been with GRV Media for over five years. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC with a passion for music, TV and cultural news. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Master's in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work.