Effective Learning Strategies & Productivity Hacks — Tactics in a Tesla with Thomas Frank

Effective Learning Strategies & Productivity Hacks — Tactics in a Tesla with Thomas Frank


– What’s up? We’re back in the Tesla. And you know our good
friend, Thomas Frank, is gonna be joining us today. I don’t know where he is, and you know usually we have
a call, and I pick him up. But I can’t even get him on the phone. If only I could just snap my
fingers and he would be here. (snaps) Whoa.
– The heck? – Dude, okay.
– Dude, warn me before you’re going to do that. – Yeah, my bad. The magic’s kind of off right now, but good to see you. You need some practice, good to see you as well, man.
– Thanks for being here. Let’s go on a drive. – Alright, let’s do it. Thomas Frank in the house.
– Safety first. – Yeah, safety first. I learned that from Dora the Explorer. I did, yeah. I also learned no swiping. – (laughs) Swiper, no swiping. – A very important lesson. (laughs) – Yeah, but man, I’m glad you’re here, ’cause we’ve a lot to talk about. Actually we talked last
week on the podcast. So make sure you check out the podcast if you haven’t seen it
yet, where Thomas comes on. We talk about his story, about how we started with a website called College Info Geek,
which is crushing it right now. He helps a lot of students in
college do better in college. But now you’ve grown to
so much more than that. You still have that, obviously. But the YouTube channel, how many YouTube
subscribers do you have now? – Somewhere over a million. (laughs) – It’s insane man.
– 1,080,000, something like that. – Did you ever think you’d get there? – No, not at all. When I started YouTube, I thought 10,000 would be a really great
pie-in-the-sky goal. – Now you have a million. – (laughs) Yeah, now I have a million. It’s kind of crazy how when
you hit a certain milestone, the next one is the one that
seems crazy and impossible. – So what’s the next one?
– And just keeps going up. I guess because ten
million seems ridiculous, especially for a self-improvement channel. None have done it. And also because subscribers
are so much less important, I think less about subscribers these days and more about other things. So I guess right now, like the milestone in terms of business growth
that I’m thinking about, is more in terms of website traffic and also Instagram presence. – Ah, interesting. – Hitting 100k on Instagram, is like, kind of like, the next social media goal. – So what are you at now? – 24,000 I think. – Okay.
– Or right around there. – Sweet, so follow Thomas on Instagram. Also follow his channel, too,
you can see it right now. And what kind of videos do you have there, just so everybody knows? – So for the most part I help students become better students, but a lot of the topics
end up being applicable to other people, because
they are productivity and self-development topics. So things like how to
learn more efficiently, how to take better notes, how to read books and actually remember what you read in those books, and health topics, like
how to get better sleep. Did a lot of sleep videos, actually. Not a whole lot on like
food and things like that. – Yeah, well, we’re gonna talk about that.
– General productivity. We’re gonna talk about
that right now, so– – Okay. – Everybody watching
this likely has something that they want to work toward, and they’re trying to be productive. They might be busy, just like
a person in college, so– – Yeah. – What’s a tip that you
might have for somebody who’s trying to be more productive? Where do you even start with that, really? – I think the biggest
thing is to start small. So one of the one of my favorite lessons I learned early on in college, came from this book called
The Motivation Hacker by this guy he’s a quantified-self
dude out in California. And he tried to do all these
crazy habits all at once, and kind of documented his journey and talked about what he learned. And he had this concept in
the book he talked about called success spirals, where you have to start very small when you’re wanting to build a habit, and then you kind of spiral up
and you add more difficulty, or you add more habits over time. – Mm-hmm. Because you’re sort of leveling up. And then if you fall off you
need to start small again. You can’t start
immediately where you were. So what I see, and most
people who start following me and asking me, you know, how
do I become more productive? They want to do all
these things all at once. Start getting up at 5:00 in the morning, they want to start journaling, wanna start meditating, start reading, you know, a book a week. All, this kind of stuff. And you can’t do it immediately. So the biggest thing for
me is to find something that speaks to you, and start with that. And make sure you can get it really solid. So start with one? – Yep.
– And then start small. What do you mean by start small? – It could be, so say you want to start doing pull-ups every day, start by doing one pull-up a day, or start by just making
yourself go to the gym. And just getting there, that’s you know, that’s the accomplishment for you. – Yeah. – And then start moving forward. Because a lot of people, they see, like a recommended
program from a pro online, and they’ll say, okay, I’m
gonna do that every single day because that’s what I need to do. And I just realized that this
windshield goes all the way up and I have to comment
on it, it’s ridiculous. (both laugh) But when you haven’t spiraled up, like Nick says you can’t stick
with that kind of a program, unless you’re some sort of a
ridiculous discipline robot. (laughs) So you want to start
smaller, and then eventually you can stick to that
kind of a big program. – Do you have an example of
a habit that you’ve done, that you’ve spiraled up on? – Yeah, so I guess my
whole morning routine is a good example of being able to add things to it over time. But with pull-ups, you know, I bought a door frame pull-up bar, to one reduce the friction and make sure I could do it more often, but two, then start doing more
and more every single day. I would start with like five a day, and now I probably do 20 or 30 a day. Not in one set, but… (laughs) – Oh, I was gonna say, like
geez man, that’s great. – No, I think I’m up to
fifteen in one set with chins, and then twelve in one set with pull-ups. – And how long did it
take you to get that? – I don’t know. (laughs) I didn’t really track it. So for that kind of a
habit, I just thought, alright, the bar’s in the door. So it’s kind of like an if-then statement. A program, if I go into the office I do five or six pull-ups, or if I want to take a break from work, I just go over do some pull-ups. – That’s cool.
– So, I would have to go back into my Amazon history to see when I bought that thing. It was probably four months ago, maybe? – It kind of reminds me of a, so Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness. – Yeah. – He wanted to learn how to play, I think was the violin or guitar, or one of the string instruments. – Violin sounds right for Steve. – (laughs) And he set
it like in the hallway, where that he passed every single day, so he could just always be
reminded that it was there. – Mm-hmm. – And I think it’s kind of similar, with what you just said
with the pull-up bar. It’s just like triggering, that you do it right then and there when you see it every time. Then it just becomes like
a natural thing you do. – Yeah, well, there’s this book called The Happiness Advantage
by guy named Shawn Achor, and it contains one of
my favorite principles about habit-building, which is what he calls
the twenty second rule. So, the whole idea is if you
want to build a good habit , make sure it takes less than
20 seconds to start doing it. So Steve’s example is great. Have the violin, right in the living room, every time you pass it,
it’s just right there. You can pick it up and play it. I do the same thing with my guitar. So I went out, and I bought a
really nice guitar, recently. But it’s nice, and I
live in a dry climate, so I have to keep it in the case, all the time, with a humidifier. And that makes it kind of a
pain to take out and play it. So I keep my cheap guitar,
so I can have it out in the living room all the time. – I see.
– I end up playing that guitar, probably 75% of the time. But that guitar ensures
I play every single day. – Just because it’s out. – Yep, and that’s why I’ve
gotten as good as I have. – Yeah, and you are good. – We were just jamming earlier. – (laughs) Yeah, thank you.
– He’s really good. – You’re getting pretty good too. – Thanks.
– Hey, how long have you been playing, like a few weeks? – Just a few weeks.
– Yeah. – But I’m practicing like every other day, or right, a couple hours a day. – I think if you’re playing
a couple hours a day, you’re actually practicing more than I do. – And the one thing that I learned, about guitar specifically, was you know, just for me I wanted to be
encouraged to play all the time. And my instructor from podcasts, from guitarlessonspodcast.com, he said just get a really good guitar that you will always
want to play and pick up. – Yeah. – And I got the one
from Back to the Future, and so I’m really excited
to play it all the time. – Nice, so you actually have a teacher? – Yeah.
– Sweet. – Yeah, his name’s Lee
Anderson, he’s really cool. – That’s cool, I’ve been thinking about getting a teacher at some point. – So yeah, so you’re just
self-taught, which is crazy. Now, you read a lot of books. – Yes.
– And you reference them all the time in your
videos, which is great. And I think a habit that
a lot of us want to create is that reading books habit. – Mm-hmm. – What are the best strategies for, A, selecting we’ll start with that, selecting the right books to read. ‘Cause, I think book reading is great, but you know you can waste
a lot of time reading books that don’t actually matter. – Yeah, well, I think
this video is going out, did you say this video is going out after our podcast episode?
– After our podcast, so like in July, in summer.
– Okay, so, by this time, I’ll have a
video on my channel called something or along the lines of how to choose the books you read, or how to avoid reading mediocre books. So that’s like a whole
answer on this question. But, a couple of the ways that I do it: Number one, have friends who read, so you know people like you.
– Uh-huh. – And then, just ask them, what are the best books you’ve read? I like to follow authors
that I like on Goodreads. A lot of authors are active on Goodreads, so they’ll review books that they liked. Some people who I know have book summary or book notes pages on their sites. Derek Sivers and Matt
Eliason are two people who come to mind.
– Mm-hmm. – They have really good, not only notes, but ratings and their thoughts on books. So, that’s helpful. I also think,it’s not healthy
to be overly concerned, though, with the best books. Because, number one, you’re basically relying on other people’s opinions. But, number two, a book may not be amazing for some people, but it might, because of your particular circumstances or your particular goals, it
might send you along a path that ends up being very rewarding for you, and that might not have
happened for somebody else. And like we were talking about earlier, don’t finish bad books. If you find out that the book you chose is really not worth it, then put it down. Your time is worth more than the books. – It’s hard to put down book though. Because once you start
it, you kind of feel like you have to finish it. – Yeah, I think we believe that because we see all these
people on the internet who say they read a book a week, or they got this Goodreads profile with a thousand finished books, or, you know, we’ve been
taught to finish what we start. But, the end goal of a book
isn’t to turn the last page. I mean, that really doesn’t
do anything for you. The end goal of the book is
to get something out of it or to enjoy the process of reading it. So if a book is doing neither
of those things for you, you know barring the whole
advice to stick things out because they may be
worth it in the long run, if something is just not worth your time then it’s not worth your time. – Why do it, right?
– Yeah. – So, let’s say you grab a
book that is useful for you. How do you make sure you apply what you actually read in that book? Instead of just, what most
people do, is they close it and then they move on to the next book. – Yeah, number one, it’s good
to take notes or summarize. So, my favorite way of taking notes is to sort of read the chapter and then either jot down
notes in a bullet list or just a summary into Evernote. – So you don’t write
notes as you’re reading? – Nope.
– How come? – Because, I find that it just slows down
my reading process. So, with some books I’ll
use, like, those book flags or highlighter and maybe
highlight certain sections or make a mark in the margin. But I don’t like to pause and take notes. I like like to, kind of, immerse myself. – Makes sense. – The other thing is, I also
listen to a lot of audiobooks. A huge commitment of mine is to have a lot of physical activity, so when some days I
can’t sit down to read, but I always listen to an audiobook. So, I’ll either summarize or with Audibly, you could pause and you can put a note in the
app, which is kind of nice. – And then– – I think it’s again, it
comes down to starting small, selecting something from the book that speaks to you more
than everything else and trying to implement that. And then maybe not starting
another book immediately. One thing I realized a few years ago, is, I was listening to your podcast, listening to Fizzle, listening to all these business podcasts, and it was like the shiny
object syndrome, you know. You listen to Todd Tressler talking about doing a website audit, and then you listen to Benny Lewis talking about writing books. – Right.
– And you listen to somebody talking about
making a YouTube channel, and you’ll find yourself pulled in all these different directions. You’ll put a day’s worth of
work into launching a podcast because that’s what you
heard on the latest episode just to listen to the next SPI and be like, oh, I have to do this now. So, sometimes I think it’s useful to put yourself on a low-information diet just so you give yourself
time to implement and practice the thing
you’ve selected for now. – I think a lot of people fear missing out on the new piece of
content that comes out. – Yeah.
– You know, I remember with the YouTube
channel, for example, I was coming out five
days a week for a while. – Mm-hmm.
– Kinda like, get it going again, and
I had a couple people emailing me, saying, Pat, I can’t keep up. I just feel very overwhelmed now. And I’m like, you don’t have
to watch all the videos. – Yeah, not at all. – People feel like that with
podcasts, videos, blogs. – Mm-hmm.
– How do we break away from that fear of missing out on the next thing that could be the big
game-changing article or podcast episode that we listen to? – I guess you, just have to realize, that if you are always doing
that, then you always miss out. Because nothing takes zero investment. Nothing is easy, you just
have to commit to something. And yeah, you are gonna
miss out on certain things. But, every single choice
we make is, by definition, a choice to miss out on
many, many other things. – Mm-hmm.
– You know? And, I tell people, like
I’m running a business here. So, I don’t think you need
to use every single thing I put out there, but a publication schedule
is very useful for me, and we’re putting out
ideas into the world. – Yeah.
– You know? Only 1% of your audience
is probably going to actually go and use the thing
that a given video gives them. – Mm-hmm. – So, you can’t just
put one video out there and call it a day. – I heard about this thing recently. So, you know there’s FOMO, right? Fear of missing out?
– Mm-hmm. – F-O-M-O? I heard of JOMO, J-O-M-O,
the joy of missing. – Ah, okay. – And being very happy about the fact that you are making a decision to not dive into that
new thing that comes out. – Yeah.
– And I like that kind of framework, being proud of the fact that you are saying no to things. – Yeah, it’s like the
essentialist mindset. – Yeah, JOMO.
– Yep, mm-hmm. I like the essentialism book, as well. I’m guessing you’ve read that one, or maybe you’ve read The One Thing, which is a similar book?
– Yeah, they both kind of go together. – One of the insights, I
like most from that book, is when he talks about the fact that the essentialist
actually explores more than the average person, because they want to take
time to try lots of things, sample lots of things,
so they can figure out what actually does resonate with them. – Right.
– But once they do, then they go hard on that one thing. So maybe that’s useful for some people. There’s kind of like an exploration phase, and then once you selected something that seems to resonate with you, then it’s the focus phase.
– Mm-hmm. In that book, also, they have you rank the things you do in your life. – Oh, yeah.
– You have from one to 10, one being like, why am I even doing this? It’s easy to get rid of. 10 being I have to do this, this is something that’s
essential in my life. – Mm-hmm.
– But it’s the sevens, eights, and
nines in your life that, or the six, sevens, and eights, really, that are the ones that you
should be saying no to, or putting aside.
– Mm-hmm. – But it’s the ones that we hang on to. Do you, is it kind of the
same advice related to books, related to how to say no to
the six, sevens and eights so you can dive into the nines and tens? – Yeah, have you heard of the, I think this is apocryphal,
but there’s this story about Warren Buffett
and his private pilot. So his private pilot is
basically asking Warren Buffett for life advice and he’s saying, I have so many things I want to do, how do I focus on one or a few, so I can be truly great at them? – Mm-hmm. So in the story. Warren says, I want you to go home and write down your top 25 goals in life. So he goes home and he does
that, comes back the next day. He says, alright, got the list. And Warren says, alright,
next thing I want you to do is go and circle the top five. So he circles the top
five and he comes back and he says, I think I’m getting it now, these top five are the ones
that I need to focus on the most and then the 20 others are things I can do every once in a while but they’re not as important. – Mm-hmm. – And Warren says, no those 20 are the avoid-at-all-costs goals now. Because they are the ones that are going to pull your focus away from the ones that really matter the most. Anything else, you don’t have
a whole lot of interest in, so it’s not a threat. – Mm-hmm. And that’s something
that I try to live by. I’m not very good at it, but… – What are your what
are your five circles? – (laughing) That’s a very good question. Become a musician is one. Let’s see here, this is the
tough one for me, actually. And I think this has been
my biggest area of struggle in the recent past, because
there’s so many things I want to do.
– Mm-hmm. – You , I’ve been skateboarding again, and getting back into figure skating, getting back into guitar. – Figure skating, for real? – Yeah.
– No way. – I started that in 2016. – How tall are you? 6’2″, so 6’5″ on skates. (laughs) – That’s crazy. – Yeah, it’s fun, and my girlfriend’s doing it with me now, too. – That’s awesome. – I want to have her take lessons, so we can do, like, ice dancing together, which would be pretty fun.
– Mm-hmm. – Business-wise, I’ve
got a another book idea that I’m working on, and
then a website redesign, and hiring an editor, so I think those are my top business goals at the moment. But then there’s always
the content machine that you must feed. (laughs) – Right, and then maybe
one or two examples of the other 20, that
you would love to do, but you know you need to
say no to them, right now. – So it’s tough, ’cause
there’s there’s a lot of other things, like
improving the podcast. I would love to do that, you know? And there are things
that I’m currently doing, or I’m planning to do, that
will improve the podcast. So, I guess by this philosophy, I should probably cut those
and I’m not sure if I will. – Hmm. – Though, there are other things that I probably will end up cutting, like buying better cameras for the podcast to make it like 2% better, or buying new set props or wanting to build a new
set entirely for my videos. – Yeah. – Actually, it’s
something I do want to do, but I’m not gonna do it. (both laughing) Yeah, there’s a lot of things like that. – I really like that
advice from Warren Buffett. And you often source a lot of inspiration from a lot of other big
leaders and names out there, like Elon Musk, Ben Franklin. You’ve done some really
popular videos about that. And since we’re in a
Tesla, I think it’s right that we talk about Elon Musk a little bit. (Thomas laughs) What are some– – Yeah.
– Elon Musk related productivity hacks that we could
learn and pick up from him? – I want to talk about the one that people were giving
me crap about on Twitter. – Okay. – (laughing) So there
were all these articles out there awhile ago that said Elon Musk schedules his day
in five minute increments, like basically time boxes, and
Bill Gates does this as well. So I made a video on it,
and it was basically like I wanted to make a video on time-boxing. – Yeah.
– The whole idea of pre-planning what you’re
gonna do in time increments, so you can be more efficient.
– Mm-hmm. – And then, I think a week ago, somebody tweeted out another article someone else had written about this and Elon replied, saying, I
don’t do the five minute thing. – Oh yeah.
– You know, that you have to have
time for creative work. So then a bunch of people
were sending that tweet to me and everything, saying, you were wrong. If I had five minutes with Elon, I would love for him to elaborate on how he schedules his day, because I would imagine, that it is scheduled out, to some degree, but that he is creating
long blocks of time for engineering and design work. – Mm-hmm. – You know, I hope people didn’t think that he actually has five
minute tasks, one after another, like a hundred in a day, on his schedule. I’m imagining, there’s just, like, a meeting that’s scheduled now, and then there’s a four-hour block– – Yeah.
– Of design work scheduled. But it is scheduled, because I feel like, when you schedule your time, even when it’s for creative work, you tend to work better. – Mm-hmm. – There’s that whole idea of
you can’t schedule creativity. You actually can, because
when you schedule creativity, you get into a habit, and
you become disciplined, and that’s when good work happens. It won’t happen every single day, but– – So time blocking–
– Yeah. – Is an essential
strategy for productivity. – I think it’s very useful. For some people it’s not. And one thing I’ve learned
about productivity, is it’s a very individual thing. So there are the universal things, like get enough sleep and eat good food. – And we’ll talk about that while we eat, sleep and stuff. – There we go. – We’ll talk about that in a minute. – But for some people,
time-boxing works very well. For some people, it doesn’t. I think part of my channel
and part of the work I do is just giving people ideas to try out and see if
that resonates with them. – Mm-hmm.
– Some people work really well with a messy area and some people really need to have a super clean area to work. So, I’m very aware that
not everything I say is going to apply to every
single person out there. – Yeah, I think the key is to just be open to what the options are and try things until you find something
that works for you. – Yeah, my kind of motto is there’s always a better way to do it, and what is the best way to do this? And, if you can just
become the kind of person who is constantly asking
that, constantly figuring out, what is the solution to this problem? Or, what’s a way I can
improve this process? – Right.
– Then you’re gonna succeed, regardless of whether or
not you work the same way that I do or the Elon Musk
does or that Ben Franklin did. Doing the breakdowns of those people is just a cool way of showing off, like, here’s how this successful person worked in their life. – Awesome, wanna grab some food? – Yeah, let’s do it. – Cool. Cool, having some coffee. – Cheers.
– Cheers. Now, let’s talk about sleep a little bit. You mentioned it earlier, and how important that is.
– Mm-hmm. – You know, for years, I’ve only been getting five to six hours
of sleep, ever since college. – Really? – And I’ve been okay. – Okay.
– I thought I was one of those lucky
people who could survive, and I was surviving, off of
five to six hours of sleep. – Yeah. – I worked really hard
to maximize my sleep. Reading books, like Sleep
Smarter by Shawn Stephenson, studying it, and I feel
like it’s been good. But now that I’m 35, I feel like it’s starting to catch up to me. – Is it catching up with you? – It is a little bit,
and I gotta be honest, like I enjoy my seven
to eight hours of sleep. – Okay, it caught up with me earlier. – Yeah?
– Yep. I used to be able to do
six, five hours a night. I remember my internship,
when I was 19 years old. That was when I started to
go real hard on the blog. – Yeah.
– So I would work 10-hour days, come home, stay up till 1:00 a.m. working, and get like four or five hours. – I feel it now.
– I did that for a whole summer. – Oh my gosh.
– Yeah, I can’t do it. – And I used to ball, basketball,
4 a.m. in the morning. If I do that now, the
rest of my day is screwed. – When you go to bed? – 10:00 or 11:00. – Okay, so yeah, that’ll
be five, six hours. – Yeah.
– If you went to bed at 9:00, do you think you’d get up at 4:00 and– – I could do that, but then, I feel like there’s like,
I would miss out on a lot of what happens at night.
– Hmm. – So you’re not a devotee
of the Jocko Willink method. – No. – 4:30? Well, he’s always like, nothing good ever happens at night anyway. But, you’re hanging out with
your family at night, you know. – Yeah, that’s the time for me and April, now the kids are down,
to like just finally have some time to chat, and we, you know, watch movie or something, or get stuff done around the house. So, I know sleep is an
interesting thing to me. You’ve studied it a lot. You recommend a lot of things. How can we get better sleep? – Number one, is prioritize it. I think everyone, especially people who think they’re entrepreneurs, or I guess, you know, are entrepreneurs, think that they’re the exception, and they’ll listen to
Bulletproof executive or whatever saying, oh, if you just eat butter in your coffee, you can sleep for five
hours and be just fine. – Yeah.
– But, you know, you feel it. And for a lot of the times
you’re deluding yourself. So, number one, you just
gotta prioritize it. And I think the biggest
pitfall, for people like me, and maybe people like you, is being very hardcore
about the wake-up time, but not disciplined about the go-to-bed. – Yeah. – So, it’s like I wake up at 6. Which means I should go to bed at 10:30. But, I’m going to bed at 11:30 tonight. I’m still waking up at 6. – Yeah, it’s true.
– You know. – You’re absolutely right. I also know that you get into, and you do a lot of
research with your videos, which I appreciate a lot, and you dive into a lot of the science and stuff behind that. Any science-related things
that we can understand related to sleep, and
why it’s so important, or why we should prioritize that? – Yeah, so I guess the the
top science-related thing that I’ve talked about with
sleep is the sleep cycle. When you sleep, you go through
several different stages of brain activity, starting
with a very light sleep, where you could be easily roused. Then you move into a deeper sleep, where if you were to be roused, you would feel like a
truck hit you, basically. – Yeah. – And then, from there,
you move into REM sleep, which is where dreams happen and where a lot of
memories are consolidated, all kinds of stuff like that. So, if you’re gonna wake
up, you want to be woken up at the end of a sleep cycle. When you go back into stage
one, that kind of light sleep, if you were to be woken up there, you would feel light and refreshed
and everything like that. The other thing is, as the night goes on, those REM stages get longer
and longer and longer. So the first cycle you
do REM is very short. – Mm-hmm. – This is why polyphasic
sleep doesn’t work very well. And why all those people on the internet, who say you can do the uberman, where you take six 20-minute naps a day, are kind of full of crap, because your REM cycle
is so tiny on those. – Yeah. So that’s why, there’s
actually a site out there called Sleepy Time. It’s a dot me domain, so
like Sleepy T-I dot me. You could put in your bed time, or you can put in your wake-up time, and it’ll tell you, here’s
when you should go to bed or when you should wake up, based on the average sleep
cycle that people experience. – Okay.
– And from there, you might want to experiment. Because I found that mine is shorter than ninety minutes by a little bit. – So what time do you go to bed
normally and do you wake up? – About 10:30 to 6:00 is mine. – Okay, so it’s at– – And I aim to be in bed a bit before, because it takes about ten
minutes to fall asleep, for me. I think the average, for normal human beings,
is fourteen minutes. But again, you have to figure out what your individual
deviation from that is. – So, you said earlier,
you have a morning routine. Do you have a nighttime routine also? To help you get into
sleep a little easier? – I’m not as good at being super, (laughs) regimented with my nights. – I think that’s okay. – To be honest. – I think I’m encouraged now, because you’re not so regimented, you’re not like blocking
every single minute and what you do, which is encouraging. – Yeah?
– But you’re still putting the practices into place that kind of maximize your day. – Yeah.
– Which is good. – My night routine is usually, hey Anna, we need to go to bed, and then one of us has to be, basically peeled away, from the project they’re working on. (both laughing) And forced to go to bed. (laughing) – Now I also know that,
and this is something I wish I knew in college,
because I would cram for exams, and I would stay up till the
wee hours of the next morning to get that last ounce of
knowledge in before my test. But, I’m hearing that sleep, actually, is better than cramming. – Absolutely.
– Because you actually are learning while you’re sleeping. Can you explain a little
bit more about what that is? – Yeah, so when you’re sleeping, I don’t know the exact science
behind this exact part, but your brain flushes
toxins out when you sleep. Like these gaps between
brain cells sort of widen and your brain is able
to get these toxins out. It also consolidates memories, so it’ll help to build those
myelin sheaths around neurons. So, if you don’t sleep, whatever
you learn the previous day, you’re not gonna be able
to remember it as well. – Yeah. – Also, if you have a lack of sleep, when you go into an exam,
you’re more stressed, you have more anxiety, and you can’t actually recall certain things. Stress and anxiety and the lack of sleep will block the brain from
making those connections. – Mm-hmm. – So an all-nighter often is worth less than the studying that you did. – And getting in and getting sleep. – Yeah, it ends up hurting. – Do you have a specific regiment for, if a person watching us
right now, for example, has a test that they’re studying for. Whether they’re in college
or they’re studying for the lead exam or
something professional. What’s the best study pattern to lead up to the test to get the best test results. – Get started as early as possible and study as actively as possible. So, if you can get your
hands on practice exams or you can take your notes and turn them into practice exams, or you can challenge yourself to summarize or do short answer questions. Basically, replicate what’s
going to be on the test as hard as possible.
– Mm-hmm. – And do it as early as
possible, so that way, you can, number one, study in the manner that the test is going
to be testing you on, but also take advantage of
what’s called the spacing effect. So, when you space out learning with different intervals of time, you end up learning more efficiently than if you try to, number one, cram it all the night before. But you also learn more efficiently if you actually increase
the intervals of time between study sessions, as time goes on. – Mm-hmm.
– So, a great example is, if you’re learning a language, you might learn a word, day one. And then you may quiz
yourself on it, day two. And then, the next time
you quiz yourself on it is maybe day five or day six. After that, maybe you’d wait a month. And this is because, the
more the brain has to work to recall something, the more
efficient the encoding is that happens because of that recall. So basically, what you want to target is the moment right before
you’re about to forget that fact. – Yeah. – And you can’t get perfect
on it, but you can get close. – So, it’s actually better, to put something away for a while. – Mm-hmm. – And come back to it later, than having it be something
you check every day. – Yeah.
– That’s how I studied, I had flashcards, and I would start with like fifty flashcards
that I’d have to memorize and then it would go
to sixty the next day, and seventy the next day. – But I would remember all but the first. – You’d do all of them? – Yeah, I would do all of them. – Okay, yeah. And so, perhaps I was wasting time. – You might have been wasting time. So, you probably learned those things. But you probably could have also learned just as well skimming. – That’s why I also don’t
remember anything that I learned? (both laughing) – There’s also an element of caring. Like you probably don’t care about a lot of those things now, so– – Yeah. – If you all of the sudden had reason, then you went back, and
you’d start to learn them. – One of the things I’m
always fascinated by, is have you ever stopped doing
something for five years, and then come back,
and at first, you suck. But, in a surprisingly
short period of time, you’re better than you ever were? – Mm-hmm. – Like, I started skateboarding again, after probably an eight year gap. And it was horrible for a while, and then after about a week of practice, I was better than I’d ever been before. (drowned out by Pat)
– I feel the same way with my guitar. – Yeah, did you play guitar
when you were younger? – I dabbled in it a
little bit, I read tabs. But even in the short few weeks I’ve been practicing now, I’ve noticed that when I come back to an exercise that I did to start on those first days, I forget, I’m terrible,
but then, all of a sudden, I’m better, like you said, than I was before.
– Yeah you start to get it. – Yeah, and that’s motivating and then it makes me want
to, kind of, learn more. – It’s awesome isn’t it?
– Yeah. – For guitar, guitar was interesting, because I had to build
up finger calluses again. But the skills started coming
back surprisingly quick. – That’s cool. – Yeah, it was cool, ’cause I think I skipped practicing guitar for, like, another eight years, as well. Someone stole all my
guitar gear in college. – Oh really? – Yep, and I just never
bothered to replace it. – That’s interesting.
– It was always a, aww, I gotta go to the guitar store, and spend how many dollars?
– Somebody stole my DJ gear. – Really? – Yeah, our wedding DJ
stole my DJ equipment. – Wait, your wedding DJ? – Yeah. He sold it for weed.
– (laughs) Okay, man. That’s unfortunate. – Yeah. – Well it looks like you
got to buy some DJ gear. – I’ll stick with guitar for now. – For sure. One thing at a time.
– Yeah, yup. – Right? – That’s the problem with
music, I want to do all of it. I want to learn production,
and learn vocals, and drums, and everything. – Yeah, well, even with guitar itself, there’s many different styles
that you can choose from. – Mm-hmm.
– Right? – And I’m trying really
hard to just stick with one. – Yup.
– I want to learn like blues. – Mm-hmm.
– And blues theory and just blues everything, right? – Yeah. – And then every once ina while, I’m like, man, I want to do like
Nirvana or Green Day. – Yep.
– But then, I’m like no. I got to go back to blues, ’cause I know that’s gonna help me the most. – Yeah, though I think,
one word of warning to anybody thinking along these lines with something like guitar,
don’t be so dogmatic and sticking to one style,
that you stop having fun. – Yeah.
– You know, if you’re just like, I’m
really tired of playing this, I set a goal, still practice those things, but dabble a little bit. – You know? – I like that. – I think the finger style stuff is where I would really like
to be with most of my goals, you know I listen to a lot
of finger style covers on U2, and I’m like, I want to play like that. But, I’ll get out the pick and play metal and stuff like that, too.
– That’s cool. You know, I think we’re
gonna get our food soon. Number thirteen, here. But, while we wait, let’s
talk about food, really quick. – Okay.
– So we talked about sleep, we talked about reading,
and some other things. Food, obviously, is an important
part of our day, as well. – Yep. – I know you said you hadn’t done very many videos about ’em. – Doing videos on food is hard, because, I don’t think
there’s anything out there that’s more contentious than food, so– – No way.
– There’s just like, anything you, exactly.
– Paleo, vegan, keto. – You say anything about food, there’s gonna be a zillion
people, being like, no, actually. Like, I think I’ve mentioned
offhandedly on certain videos, I eat eggs for breakfast, they’re healthy. And then you get a million
people in the comments, being like, number one, go vegan, or, number two, eggs are gonna
give you bad cholesterol, and then people are slinging
studies like water balloons. (laughing)
– So do you not do those, specifically, because
you’re worried about, like, taking a stance on it. – No.
– And having people kind of, in uproar?
– There are topics, there are topics that I won’t touch, because I feel that my public notoriety could unduly influence somebody to do dangerous things. Like, I don’t do videos on
nootropics, or brain drugs. – Yeah. – And I will not do a video
on, like, micro-dosing. People like, ask me about it
all the time, and I’m like– – What is that? – Micro dosing is where people
will take small doses of LSD to get certain productivity benefits or like mushrooms or whatever. They’re illegal, so, I can’t say anything other than, don’t do it.
– Uh huh. – Because, even if there is
some potential benefit to it, if I say, oh there’s a potential benefit, then somebody may interpret that as, oh, I’m gonna go hard
and do a ton of them. You know?
– That makes sense. – I don’t want to be responsible for influencing somebody
in the wrong direction. – That’s cool of you to do.
– So, it’s like, ask a doctor. – That’s really smart. Because, I’m sure that if you
were to do videos on those, they would be very popular. – I’m sure they’d be popular. – And you’d get views,
you’d get subscribers and all the things that
any YouTuber would want. – Yeah, and I know like,
it would probably be fine. But, I just, there’s something in my gut, that just feels, you
know some kid out there might take it as an invitation to go further than they should. – Yeah.
– Or to do something illegal. And I don’t want to– – That’s great.
– Go that far. – You care about your subscribers. – Exactly. – And that, obviously,
affects your reputation and your livelihood.
– Yeah. – So that’s, I think that’s smart. – So with food, I know myself, and I know if I do that topic, I will go so deep in the research, and all I’ll spend two weeks. So, I got close to this,
I did a hydration video. I thought, oh hydration it’ll be so easy. And then I spent three
full days reading studies, and it was so difficult, to actually come up with a script that I was sure on. And even then, people were like, actually you’re wrong
about this. (laughing) – (laughing) Well,
we’re gonna link to you, if they are already available, the second part of the day here, where we’re gonna be interviewing you related to, specifically, YouTube tactics, and things like that.
– Mm-hmm. – And how you pick your
videos, how you create them, but, you can also listen to a lot of that on the podcast, as well. But, I think for now, do you, like we don’t have to get into food, because we don’t want to start
those arguments right now. – (laughing) Just eat whole foods. (Pat laughing) You know, if it comes in a
box, probably eat less of it. – Yes, I like that. And then, we’ll go back in the studio, and we’ll just jam a little bit. You’ll see that at the end of the video, here, for the end card. But man, I’ve been having
a lot of fun today. Thank you for coming
in, Tactics in a Tesla. – Appreciate you, man.
– Absolutely, man. It’s been great.
– And we’re gonna have a good second half of the day. But, thanks again, for watching, guys. Where can people go find more information? – YouTube.com/ThomasFrank. TomFrankly, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook.com/thomas or collegeinfogeek.com – Sweet, cheers. (bluesy guitar music)

Author:

25 thoughts on “Effective Learning Strategies & Productivity Hacks — Tactics in a Tesla with Thomas Frank”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *