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Studying: Pomodoro + TTS


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Hi team,

Sharing a recent discovery I have found with combining the pomodoro technique with TTS. I have been using pomodoro to force myself to "sit with it", yet still struggling to cope with the sheer amount of reading I need to do, especially when all the words begin to blur into one when my eyes are sore yet still having 7-8 minutes to go for the pomodoro session.

A friend got me onto trying TTS - text to speech. It's where you load a wad of text (or a file) into a TTS engine and it reads it out loud to you. I load a PDF into it and sit back and listen to the words, jotting down quick notes as I go. Then, at the end of the pomodoro session, I expand these notes out for the last 25 minutes, and take my break.

I have found I can get through about 20 pages and the subsequent notes in 2-3 pomodoros. This is a huge improvement over taking 4-6 for the same amount of pages. I am not entirely sure if I have absorbed more information than reading it, but it feels like it is more effective at this stage (this is only day 2 of trialling it out).


The resources I have been using are as follows -

Pomodoro timer - Tomato-Timer.com (until I make my own app!)

Document reader - FBReader. This is a free app but there are other great alternatives people are talking about, like Moon Reader.

TTS Engine - FLite. Comes as an app from the F-Droid app store (and probably Google Play). This is not the greatest engine I think but it is the only one I have managed to get to work so far on my phone, as I run a Google-free version of android. I have found the female US English voice the best one so far.


I am going to trial some online/browser based TTS when I have a bit of free time (read: once I have caught up to my studies) to see if they are a bit more fluent but at least this setup works for now.


Keen to see if this works for anyone else or if there is improvements to be made to the process!

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