Studying for the CMP – I Can’t Focus!

There are times when we all struggle to focus.

Maybe there are tons of distractions – email, phone, games, co-workers, family members.

For me the times I struggle with focus most are the times I need to get the most done. I feel pulled in 20 different directions and try juggling too much at once. As a result, I accomplish very little.

When I struggle with focus in the office, I switch gears and get out my Pomodoro Technique.

What is the Pomodoro Technique and how will it help me study for the CMP Exam?

No, it’s not a new technique for pizza making (Pomodoro is tomato in Italian).

With the Pomodoro Technique time management system, I break my work day into 25-minute chunks, separated by 5-minute breaks. After four cycles I take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. 

Francesco Cirillo, developed the process while studying as a college student. It includes five stages: planning the day’s tasks, tracking your efforts, recording your daily activities, processing what you have done, and visualizing areas for improvement. With this method, you can simplify your work day, find out how much time a task really requires, improve your focus and increase productivity.

Yeah, this seems a little complicated to keep track of! But there’s an app for that! So when I am feeling unfocused, I turn to Focus Keeper, which manages the whole process for me.

Why Does It Work?

I find it works on a few levels.

  1. If the task at hand is unpleasant, I don’t feel like I must do it for long – only 25 minutes and then I get a break.
  2. The timer instills a sense of urgency, making me feel I have 25 minutes to complete something (or part of a task).
  3. I’m reminded to get up and move! We don’t even realize it, but we sit still for way too long.
  4. Even if an email pops up or a call comes in, I know I am focused for those 25 minutes and then I can check email, etc. I’m able to give my entire focus to the thing I am working on.

How will this help you stay focused as you study for the CMP Exam?

The Pomodoro Technique relaxes me. I am able to prioritize what I need to work on, focus on it singularly for a reasonable amount of time and then I get rewarded with a break.

Getting everything done makes me feel less frazzled. I am pulled in fewer directions. As a result, I accomplish so much more!

Give it a try!  I’ll time you!

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    About Ellen Maiara, CMP

    I am the Chief Solutions Officer of Event Solutions Management, but I am not only an indie meeting professional. I am passionate about empowering meeting professionals to live their best life, by realizing their career goals through the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Certification.

     For nearly fifteen years, I have led more than 2000 meeting professionals to earn their certification by concentrating on three areas, content, test taking skills and confidence, students focus on activities that lead to exam success.

    I’m is a non-Box-ie thinker and Broadway musical geek who loves electronic gadgets and computer applications. I lives in Tampa, Florida, USA with my lovely husband, Michael, and our two incredible cats, Liberty and Fidget, who have just supervised the writing of this brief biography.

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