Shaina is my daughter. She’s been writing since first grade and today, she agreed to do a guest post for afitnerd. Her post is below, with only one minor edit from me.
My name is Shaina, and I’m in 8th grade. My typical homework load takes me about 2 hours to finish. Usually, I would just try to do all of it at once making myself so exhausted that if I also had a test to study for, I couldn’t focus. Sometimes, I would come home and watch TV for half an hour to try to unwind before i did my homework as well. That technique of mine didn’t work because I lost my drive to do my work after sitting on the couch like a couch potato for a few episodes. Since my study and homework habits were not working at all, my dad suggested I use the Pomodoro app on my iPhone. At first, i thought to myself, “What? Tomatoes? I need to do HOMEWORK!”. Then, I actually took a look at the app.
The way Pomodoro works is that you press the big tomato when you first open the app. By doing this, you set a 25 minute timer for yourself to do as much of your work as you can. You are not supposed to be interrupted by anything for this period of time. After 25 minutes, the animated tomato turns green and sets a 5 minute timer. During these 5 minutes, you can do whatever you want. (Answer a text, get a snack, watch TV, play temple run, etc.) When five minutes are up, the 25 minute cycle will start again, and you go back to work.
The point of the Pomodoro technique is that it is good to take breaks from what you are doing and just give your brain a little time to cool down. If you keep filling your mind with topics all at once and trying to solve a lot problems in a lot of subjects, you will exhaust yourself and your energy. This method really, really helped me. In fact, I am using a Pomodoro to write this right now. Point is, taking a break is good for you. Sometimes, it helps solve the problem faster! If you are really, really having trouble with a specific question, (and I’m sure you have heard this from many teachers and thought, “blah, blah, blah,) SKIP IT OR WALK AWAY! Take that well-deserved break. Don’t waste all of your energy on one thing. If you don’t think about it for a little while, your mind clears up and the answer comes to you!
I really do recommend Pomodoro, especially for high-schoolers and middle-schoolers who get a boatload of homework every night in every subject. It helps, as I’ve said before. Take the advice from me! I’m not a teacher, or a parent, I’m a kid who knows exactly how that 2-ton backpack feels at the end of the day. And I’m telling you, Pomodoro is the way to go to get your work done.