In the early 1990s, Italian Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro technique as a motivational timing system. Maybe you’ve seen “Pomodoro” on the menu at an Italian restaurant. This is because “pomodoro” in Italian is “tomato.” Cirillo got the idea for his technique from his tomato-shaped kitchen timer.
His theory goes like this: you can complete any large task or series of tasks more easily by breaking them down into intervals with short breaks in between. How does this work for practicing Spanish? Maybe you say, “OK I need to study Spanish for one hour today,” so instead of going for one hour straight, you do three sets of 20 minutes with breaks in between.
Does this really matter? YES! This technique is already proven to be very powerful!
Once you decide on a task, set the timer. Work on it until you’ve finished or the timer rings, whichever comes first. If you have your Language Journal ready, you make a green check mark for your first scheduled interval. Then take a short break.
Get up from your desk or wherever you were practicing Spanish. Leave the room. Sit outside. Do something non-work-related—stretch, make a phone call, check your social media.
Then, when your break timer is up, ask yourself: “Have I completed the work assigned for today?” If your answer is yes, you’re finished with that task and can move on to the next one. If your answer is no, take a little bit more time for your break. Trust me, this will help you rest fully and regroup your thoughts.
<< The Pomodoro Technique is probably one of the simplest productivity methods to implement. All you’ll need is a timer. >>
There’s no real standards set for the most efficient work and break intervals, so go with what feels best. How you set up your Pomodoro Sessions is all up to you, but if you’ve only taken short breaks for two or three intervals, try to make sure your next is longer. Your brain will be more receptive to keep working if it’s well rested in between.
I could give you a list of options to help you measure your Pomodoro Sessions, but there are TOO MANY! There are apps, websites…. Just check the back of this book for my HUGE list of resources or visit PolyglotPanda.com for the most up-to-date recommendations.
Or, just search “Pomodoro Sessions” in Google and pick one. What you’ll get is a timer to set with designated intervals for work and break. The sessions can be different depending on how you want to separate them, but “two short breaks then a long one” in mind.
That’s it! It’s just using a timer. As silly as it seems, it works! It helps you to focus. With the timer set for a designated work session, you’re more likely to reject distractions. For a set amount of time, you’re 100% committed to your practice. You make a promise to yourself and if you can’t keep it, you’re going to want to make up for that.
It’s such a basic, easy thing to do, so WHY NOT TRY IT? Take this dose every time you practice Spanish and you’ll see how much easier it makes achieving your goals!