pomodoro technique
Basically, the Pomodoro Technique is studying in timed intervals where you break up your large tasks into smaller and more manageable timed units. Source: Ali Najafi/AFP

Perfectionism. Fear of failure. Fear of criticism. These are common things students encounter on a daily basis and rather than face up to them and get working, we … procrastinate. After all, if we don’t do the task, we can’t fail, right?

There are, however, proven ways to do well in exams. From mind mapping and writing on sticky notes to exercising, these hacks and shortcuts to studying better have helped many — but what if your problem is is time management? This is where the Pomodoro Technique comes in. 

The Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo, who has worked in the software industry for more than 20 years. Its aim is to help us work with the time we have, rather than against it. 

It goes something like this: you work for 25 minutes, break for five minutes, continue this work-break cycle for three more cycles then take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes.

It’s a structure that tricks us into thinking our tasks are urgent. You can’t spread your work out throughout the day — you only have 25 minutes to do as much as you can. It’s a simple hack that has done wonders for productivity with students and workers everywhere.

Now, if you’re thinking to procrastinate finding a watch and keeping track of those 25 minutes manually, snap out of it and check out these apps to start your Pomodoro Technique stat:

Retro Pomodoro Technique

“Pomodoro” is tomato in Italian and just like those old-school timers, it was for some reason in the shape of this fruit. If you’re planning to go down the classic route, you can opt to buy a physical timer at no more than US$10.


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Nesto Timer

This works for both desktop and mobile devices, this convenient Pomodoro Technique timer is embedded with music, tasks and notifications. You can also save your school projects by signing up for an account.


If you like the idea of planting trees, this one’s for you. This smartphone app starts out like a seed. As your timer counts down, the tree grows on your screen. If you leave the app, your tree withers and dies. It’s essentially a game where you can unlock coins to get new trees or plant a real one — a win as you’re not only doing good for your academic progress, but also to save the environment!


A simple tool that integrates with other task management services such as Trello and Evernote. It’s also super easy to use on both your desktop and mobile devices. 


Similar to the above, this app was designed to specifically integrate with Trello, which uses the project management tool to organise your school tasks. 


This app combines productivity and relaxation which means you have the timer and a natural sound to keep you focused —  btw, playing music while you study is another proven way to study better. Tide also helps track your sleep and guide you through meditation — all of which prep you for optimum revision.


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Bear Focus Timer

This fun app combines the Pomodoro Technique with white noise to improve your concentration. It features a cartoon bear with a simple timer.


A basic web-based timer that stands out because it turns productivity into a competition by tracking the number of Pomodoros per logged user and sharing it across leaderboards. Who doesn’t love a little challenge?