Most CPA test takers hate studying for the exam. It is hard to look at a mountain of material including your 1000 pg CPA textbooks and hours of video. For most students, it is difficult to be passionately interested in “factor’s holdback” or other terms.
One of the age old methods for studying mundane topics is called the Pomodoro Method. This method advocates splitting up tasks into 25 minute chunks of time. This time management method is especially popular with software designers who are generally mad crammers that load up on Red Bull and Espresso and work insane hours before a deadline.
However, even software designers are noticing that long periods of work, without rest leads to a lot of mistakes. It’s more efficient to try and keep the brain fresh with frequent breaks.
How would you implement the Pomodoro method for learning your CPA material?
Firstly, you would decide on a task that needs to be completed. For example you might want to learn how to calculate the present value of pensions which is part of the FAR section.
Secondly, you would set a timer for 25 minutes. You can get a free desktop timer like Focus Booster. You work on the task for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. You would mark down in your journal that you completed the task.
After 4 “pomodoros” you would take a longer break of 20 minutes. This is when you can raid the fridge for a snack or get some exercise in the backyard.
Why does the Pomodoro method work? It’s largely because it’s easy to convince people to do only 25 minutes of something that they hate. Procrastination usually stems from big jobs that would take hours and hours to finish. This is why we all avoid spring cleaning of the attic or basement. A 25 minute task is small enough that anybody could do it with out too much pain.
Secondly, our attention spans appear to be getting shorter. With the Internet and social media, there is constant distraction. It has become harder to focus and stay seated for an hour or longer. The Pomodoro expects you to get distracted after 25 minutes where you can return to surfing Youtube for funny pet tricks.