It’s homework time, and your child needs their laptop or phone to get their work done. But then you glance and notice the truth: He is stuck in a YouTube binge. She has to reply to the group text “or my friends will think I’m mad at them.” An online game has taken over.
Often, students start homework at 7 or 8 o’clock at night and while they are working on it little by little, by 10pm, they have barely scratched the surface, and are extra cranky, stressed, and in need of sleep.
How can we help our technology-addicted students focus in order to get their schoolwork done?
Enter the Pomodoro method. It focuses on the concept of increasing productivity by taking short breaks. “Pomodoro” was invented by Franceso Cirillo in the 1980s, and means “tomato” in Italian because he used a tomato-shaped timer to keep him on track.
It’s pretty simple: Set a timer for 25 minutes and work. Continue to use your computer, but stay off of distraction sites! Once your timer dings, take a 5-minute break. Watch a YouTube video, reply to the texts, get a snack, take a walk. Remember to set a 5-minute timer for break time, too!
I love this Pomodoro method because it allows our technology-addicted students time to reconnect with their technology. Addicts struggle to go cold-turkey, so this allows them their “hit” before hitting the books again.
P.S. If the location of homework time for your child is alone in their bedroom, you may want to consider moving them out to a more visible location (like the kitchen table) because, let’s be honest: they aren’t getting much done alone with no monitoring.
Ready to test it? Set a loud timer on a phone – and then move that phone away from the working space. Getting your body up to turn off the timer will communicate “break time” to your brain – and remove the temptation to touch it during the 25-minute study time. Or, if you want to remove the phone completely, run this two hour Pomodoro video in the background of your computer.
Another favorite way to stay off the phone and focus? The Forest app locks you out of your phone to grow a real tree. It’s so cool. It helps you stay off your phone – and do environmental good.
Best of luck as you try out these new methods with your student (or even with yourself).