…Or at least I think it’s “tomato.” I don’t speak Italian
This one, however, is a tomato you don’t want to eat.
Well, then, what do you do with it?
Glad you asked. The “Pomodoro Technique,” named after the cutesy little kitchen timer, was developed in the 1980s by productivity expert Francesco Cirillo.
The technique is so simple as to seem like it won’t work. Basically, you figure out what you most need to do—immediately—and then set a timer to 25 minutes (although some find 20 easier to stomach).
The execution is as simple as the idea. You can do just about anything for 25 minutes.
Clean the house. Wash the car. Do the laundry.
Study Permutations and Combinations. Learn a new Reading Comprehension technique.
Do you see where I’m going?
All of us have one section or topic that we simply don’t agree with.
One of the most important parts about GMAT preparation is not to get stuck doing only the things you’re comfortable with.
Yes, I agree that 25 minutes a day is not enough GMAT study, but 25 minutes of your study time spent one something you would never have studied is not just 25 minutes—it is 25 FOCUSED minutes, which could be worth three hours of farting around getting nothing done.
Or, worse, simply ignoring the things that you don’t want to see.
One of the things that I learned long ago in studying, running a business, and, well, life in general is that the thing that is draining your energy the most is generally the thing that you most need to do.
For me, sometimes writing blog posts can be a real struggle—after all, it is an “important but not urgent” activity.
Something that makes a difference right now, today, tends to trump: after all, it is “important and urgent.” Or maybe just “urgent.” Hard to tell.
However, life, and GMAT study, are made and broken by “important but not urgent” activities.
So pick one of those and get started. Data Sufficiency is calling your name, but only 25 minutes!
However, here comes the real struggle.
Whatever you’re doing, you must stop at 25 minutes.
When the timer goes off, bloody well just stop! Go to a different topic. Take a break. Set the timer again. Figure out what you need to do and confine it!
What happens if you keep going?
Well, the momentum simply disappears. Say you get really into Data Sufficiency and you begin to see a certain appeal the masochism of studying it.
If you spend three hours doing Data Sufficiency problems, you’ll never want to look at one again. The study for the next day is wasted.
The Moral of the Tomato (the same as the Rule of Vegas): quit while you’re ahead.
There will always be another 25 minutes some time later that you can use.
Go on. The Tomato is waiting.
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p.s. Stay tuned for my next post on HOW TO FIND TIME TO STUDY.
p.p.s. What will your first 25 minutes be spent on? Send an e-mail: I read every one!