DVIDS – News – Improving your concentration after a concussion

Aparna Vijayan, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
TBI Clinic
Eisenhower Army Medical Center

A common complaint after sustaining a concussion is difficulty concentrating or concentrating during activities such as listening, reading, or working. The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique to help improve productivity. It can also be adapted to improve concentration skills.
The Pomodoro Technique suggests using a kitchen timer to work on an activity for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break, and repeat this pattern for a total of four sets, or total work time for a given task ( reading, writing, etc.) of two hours. Each set of 25 minutes with a five minute break is called One Pomodoro.
The technique recommends that after every four Pomodoros; ie: two hours, you can take a longer break of 15 minutes, 30 minutes or more, depending on the nature of the task.
4 Pomodore technique
• #1: 25 minutes work/read – five minute stretch break
• #2: 25 minutes work/read – five minute stretch break
• #3: 25 minutes work/read – five minute stretch break
• #4: 25 minutes work/read – five minute stretch break
Total duration: two hours
This method is ideal for anyone who has suffered a concussion and is suffering from pain (headaches, backaches, etc.), mood swings (frustration, anxiety, etc.) and trouble sleeping.
Often these people report that they cannot concentrate on a task for more than a few minutes. Instead of working for 25 minutes, the service member may work for 15-20 minutes depending on their level of pain or fatigue. However, the length of the break cannot exceed five minutes.
The five-minute break should only be used for stretching, bathroom breaks, having a snack or drink, and most importantly, tracking progress. This will help practitioners of this method manage their time more effectively and improve their productivity.
The five-minute break cannot be used for listening to music, watching television, or engaging in social media.
This approach can be used for any task – reading a book for fun, reading a book or article for work or school, writing a report, working on assembling a shelf, working on the car. It can also be used in the workplace.
A sample schedule for the workplace is provided below.
Adapt to the workplace
Get to work.
• Four Pomodoros (two hours)—10 minute break
• Four Pomodoros (two hours) – 30 minute lunch break
• Four Pomodoros (two hours)—10 minute break
• Four Pomodoros (two hours)
Go home.
Personal tasks such as returning a phone call can be handled during the longer 10 minute break. Scheduling regular stretch breaks will help offset the negative effects of pain, mood, sleep, or fatigue on effective task performance. The break will also allow the service member to assess progress and readjust their goals for the task.
The timer application of a smartphone or a computer — online timer — can be used. There are also commercial timers for people who can’t take their smartphone to work. Once the practitioner is comfortable with time management, they can adjust the time depending on the level of difficulty of the task.
Some of the benefits of this technique are relieving anxiety while managing time more effectively and allowing one to focus one’s efforts on the tasks that need to be done.
The Pomodoro Technique was adapted to meet the needs of service members in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Eisenhower Army Medical Center and has shown good results for motivated patients.
Feedback provided ranges from the service member not feeling tired at home after a long day at work, not feeling frustrated while working or reading, and being able to concentrate and remember what they were reading .
More recently, a service member reported that he closed his eyes for one to two minutes every 25 minutes during a six-hour work-related language test. He succeeded with the highest scores he had ever achieved.

Date taken: 03.07.2022
Date posted: 03.08.2022 11:53
Story ID: 415924
Location: FORT GORDON, Georgia, USA

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