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Pomodoro Technique – Fight Procrastination

How to help your child fight procrastination, and increase self-regulation! – Nicole Park

Have you heard of the “Pomodoro Technique” ? If not, we’ve got you covered. With the rise of e-learning and many distractions that come with ‘technology’, it’s difficult to know how to help you child or student become more disciplined, to have better ‘self-regulation’, and keep on task with their school work. On top of that, with many events and activities being remote after COVID-19, we may think we have more time than we actually do. There are different ways to help your students and children to keep on task, monitoring them is one way; however, we all have other responsibilities to cater to, so how do we maximise efficiency with our own time while still making sure that our children are being productive and efficient with theirs?

Pomodoro Technique” is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Usually the breaks are 5 minutes in length making one Pomodoro cycle 30 minutes. Then you repeat this cycle 4 times.

How can this help with procrastination? Many times, we often overestimate the difficulty of a task, avoid it due to not thinking we have enough time to focus for the designated task, feel aversion to the task at hand for whatever reason, the fear of not meeting the expectations that one has for themselves or expectations set by others in the task, or simply being distracted by many things we have to complete, in fact, there are many reasons why we procrastinate and it is more than delaying the work. Research shows that there are complex processes that are dependent on each other in the decision to procrastinate. However, by allocating just 25 minutes to start the task can help children learn not to avoid tasks that seem overwhelming and can teach them self-regulation and discipline. It also allows children to learn delayed gratification where one knows that after 25 minutes, they will receive a 5-minute reward, and after the cycle is repeated 4 times, they can reward themselves with a longer break or even an activity that they enjoy. Moreover, allowing children to tackle the procrastinated task, can allow them to feel the joy of getting things accomplished and may be a great reinforcer to try starting other tasks that they have put off.

Breakdown any complicated task into multiple smaller tasks and then by allocating just 25 minutes to start a smaller task, will help your child in self-regulation.

There are many ways to track the cycles for Pomodoro, you can simply use the timer on your phone. However, we recommend the Forest App. It is available on both the Apple store and Google app store. The app plants a tree in your virtual forest every time you complete your 25-minute cycle. It also prevents you from using your phone and enables you to stay on the application. Straying away from the application will cause the tree to die. No one wants dead trees in their forest! After completing the tasks without breaking the cycle, you not only get a new tree in your forest but also a given coins, which one can collect and then donate to purchase a real tree to be planted though a non-profit organisation. Knowing that there is more to it than virtual trees being planted in your virtual forest is a high motivator for those who want to make a positive impact on the environment while still being productive in their work. It’s a win- win!

So there you have it – a simple but effective way for your students and child to keep on task, not be distracted by technology and gadgets, while you get to be productive as well. We hope you utilise this tool and let us know in the comments if you have any tips on keeping on task and preventing procrastination!

About the Author

Nicole Park is a student at Case Western Reserve University, majoring in psychology. Nicole is passionate about education, human development, marketing, global marketing, and social media marketing. In her tenure at CWRU, Nicole interned at CJ Entertainment and Media (the production company behind the film “Parasite,” tv shows such as “Produce 101”, and many more Korean entertainments, including Kpop music videos) where she worked on the global marketing team.