Procrastination is not a character flaw. It’s a habit. The more you practice it, the better you get at it, and the harder it is to stop.
Thankfully, good habits — such as getting stuff done — are developed the same way. Every time you resist procrastinating, you make it easier to do it again the next time.
Here’s a great procrastination-breaking activity to try with students who are just beginning to establish what may be life-long habits. It’s called the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is all about breaking a daunting task down into small, manageable pieces — defined by time spent. The technique’s inventor, developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo, used a manual kitchen timer shaped like a Pomodoro (Italian for “tomato”), but you can use any type of timer. Most cell phones and computers come equipped with timer apps; here’s a convenient online Pomodoro.
Get started with the Pomodoro Technique, in five easy steps:
1. Choose a task to be accomplished.
2. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
4. Take a 5-minute break.
Then, every 4 Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break, perhaps 15-30 minutes.
This technique can help your students power through distractions, hyper-focus, and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air, get a drink of water, or relax.
Try this out with your students in person, and make it a component of their homework. Ask them to measure how many “Pomodoros” it takes to complete an assignment, and challenge them to reduce that number on subsequent, similar assignments, by being more and more efficient with their time.
Let us know how it goes, in the comments below!
And if you’re interested in more of the ways EduGuide helps students develop better habits and noncognitive skills, please schedule an appointment for a walk-through of our program: