How Did You Become Super Productive? – Ask Tom


Hey, what is going on guys? It is Labor Day
as I record this. I just knocked out
a 25 mile bike ride, and I thought it
would be a cool idea to answer some of
your questions. A few days ago, I asked for
questions over on Twitter. A lot of you guys responded, and I’m going to crank through a bunch of them in this video. Now, if you want to get
your questions answered in future Q&A videos,
because I think this may be a fun thing to do in the future, you can follow me on
Twitter over at TomFrankly. With that being said, let’s
get into the first question. “Do you have any tips
on creating a creative, “yet productive work area?” I thought this might be a good
question to start out with, because you might have
noticed that the work station in the background has
changed a bit since maybe two videos ago, and I’m going to do an updated work station video pretty soon. I promise you guys, but I did want to give
you a few pointers that I have discovered
through my own multiple, multiple work
station iterations. What I found works
really well for me is to create a balance
of having access to all the things I
need to be creative and to get work done, but to also have everything
that isn’t related to my current task at
least out of sight, and preferably out of
hand or out of access. What I mean by that, is
I have a lot of tools in this little spinning
drawer thing over here. I’ve got books behind me. I’ve got all my camera
gear within easy reach, and I usually have my
overhead shooting set-up over in the other room if my friends don’t
need to use the table, but when I’m working,
I also try to shut down all my other tabs,
all my other apps, and I put everything away, and I try to keep the
desk as clear as possible, and I also use a Pomodoro
App called Tomighty, which basically keeps me
focused on the task at hand. Remember, a balance
between access to your creative and
productive tools, but also focus and
lack of distraction. “How did you decide to
start a YouTube channel?” That’s a bit of an
interesting story actually, because my channel has
been on YouTube sine 2006, and back when my brother
and I created it, we shared it, and
it was just a place for us to dump all of
our dumb home videos and ninja fights and all
sorts of really dumb stuff that I’ve since pulled
off for good reason, but the reason I started
making educational videos is because I was an
educational blogger in college, and then I moved onto
being a podcaster, and I realized in about
2014, the middle 2014 I think that I was watching a
lot of YouTube videos, and I was having more
fun watching videos than I was reading blogs. Naturally I thought to myself, “Why don’t I start
making videos as well,” and the rest is a
two year history. Now, if that’s not
enough detail for you, I did make an entire
YouTube story video which explained my entire
journey to becoming a YouTuber, and you can find that by
clicking the box right there, or finding the link down
below the Like button, and that’s about ten minutes
and my full high school story and everything that
led up to this point. “When and why did you decide
to become super-productive?” I like to tell myself that I’m a naturally
productive person, and in truth, I do get antsy if I haven’t done
much for awhile, and if I haven’t
accomplished anything for a span of a few days. In fact, when I travel
to places like San Diego, recently, for example, I could
only make it about four days before I started working again. Maybe it’s a little
bit in my DNA. That being said, there is
one catalyst from my past that made me work even harder than I probably would
have worked by default, and that was the
2008 stock market and housing collapse crisis. Alien invasion basically. This was really traumatic
for me, basically, because I was scheduled
to graduate in 2009, and when this happened in 2008, there were all these
articles and news reports and people, like talking
heads on the TV, saying, “College graduates of this
year are completely screwed. “They’re not going to
be able to find a job,” and I was scared by that, and I was even more scared, because there were adults that
I knew personally in my life who got laid off
from their jobs, or whose entire
companies went under, and I was thinking to myself, “Am I going to go into college
and have to deal with that four years from now?” I don’t want to
make it sound like fear was the only motivator, because I do really have a
lot of passion for what I do, but when that happened, there was this switch
flipped in my brain. I never want to have
that happen to me. I never want to be
in a situation where an economic downturn, or a
company going over or under, or basically,
anybody just saying, “Hey, we don’t
want you anymore.” I never wanted external
events like that to be able to totally
throw me out on the street. When I went into college,
I had this mindset of, “I’m going to get ahead, “and I’m going to collect
as many skills as I can. “I’m going to have a
really versatile skill set, “so that way if one
thing doesn’t work, “I can move right
into something else “and I’ll always be employable.” Today, I don’t even want to
be employed by anybody else, at least not for the
foreseeable future, but that was at least
part of the motivation for working really, really
hard when I started college. “How do you study efficiently
when you’re sleep deprived?” Stop trying to work
and get some sleep. “Who do you main in Super
Smash Brothers 4 and Overwatch? Some of you guys might
hate me for this, but my main character
in Super Smash Brother 4 has always been Diddy Kong, and yes, I know he is
the top tier character, and you could just
say I’m picking him so I can win as many
matches as possible, but I really, truly
did enjoy playing him. That being said, ever since
Bayonetta got released as a DLC character,
she is my new favorite, because her movement,
like the speed, and the agility, and her
skill set, it’s just sick. I love it. I’m going to be
practicing with her. With Overwatch, I do
actually make an attempt to play every single
character, other than a few that I just don’t like, and I also spend a lot of time in each of the four classes, so I can be a very
versatile player. That being said,
my mains right now are Reaper, Mei,
Junkrat, Zenyatta, and sometimes Winston if I’m
feeling like I want to go tank. “When do you think
is the right time “to start applying
for scholarships?” Believe it or not, you can
start applying for scholarships as early as your freshman
year in high school, and in fact, there are probably private organizations out there that cater to even
younger people. If you are a
future-minded person who is even in sixth
grade or something, you could start, but I would say that
you want to start getting serious about it when
you are in eleventh grade. That gives you two full years to start making sure your
resume is how you want it to be, and let’s you start
thinking about clubs, and it let’s you apply for a
decent number of scholarships. Also, don’t stop
applying for scholarships after you graduate
from high school, because the majority of
the scholarships I won came after I had
started college. I probably won five or six
scholarships in college, and I won one scholarship
in high school, so keep applying
throughout the entirety of your educational career. “When you’re feeling lazy,
how do you personally “muster that last bit of energy “and focus on what is at hand?” Okay, I’m going to share
a few different tips here that really help me, but please, please listen to me
on this first one, because I have learned
through personal experience that no matter how tired I am, no matter how much I
think the day is wasted, no matter how much I
think this particular tip is not going to help me, it always helps, at
least to some degree. That tip is to take a
walk and to do it outside, because the sunlight exposure
and the little bit of exercise is really going
to rejuvenate you and sunlight
actually does help us to suppress the sleep urge, which contributes to
that afternoon slump and a lot of those
tired feelings you get when you’re studying. Go for a walk. Do it for just 15
minutes, 10 minutes even, make it outside, and
then when you come back choose one task, clear
off your work space, and do a Pomodoro Session. This is basically a
25 minute work session where you focus
only on one task. You have an external
timer, either an egg timer, or your phone, of the
app that I like to use, which is for both Mac
and Windows and is free. It’s called Tomighty, and basically,
this external timer is going to help you to one,
put the task in perspective. It’s just 25 minutes of work. You don’t have to worry
about finishing it, and number two, put everything
else out of your mind. “Tell us everything. “All of the knowledge.” Dude, it’s like
you don’t even know that all of the
knowledge in the universe becomes unlocked once you
purchase 42 Lamborghinis. I thought everyone knew that. “What is your favorite
YouTube channel? “Besides yours of course.” All right, number one, my channel is not
my favorite channel, though I am quite
proud of animations like the one you’re
about to see in a second, and number two, I don’t
have a favorite channel, because my interests
really do change on a pretty quick basis, so instead of giving
you a favorite one, which will change
two seconds from now, I’m going to give
you a bunch of them, and definitely go check
these channels out. CrashCourse, Vsauce3,
LinusTechTips, Satchell Drakes Caddicarus, Jon Tron,
I Like to Make Stuff, Gary Vaynerchuk, the
NerdWriter, Anna Akana, h3h3, MowtenDoo, Tom
Scott, CGP Grey, Geography Now, Casey
Neistat, Comics Explained, Regular Car Reviews,
BrainCraft, Caleb Wojcik, Alpha M., The School
of Life, Colin Furze (whoops mispronounced it), Yungtown, SeaNanners,
Smarter Every Day, Did You Know Gaming,
and Smooth McGroove. “How can you develop discipline
instead of motivation?” I think the main
contributing factor for going from
fleeting motivation over to regular and
reliable discipline is the habitualization
of your work. Basically, showing
up every single day, sitting down and
getting it done, without needing inspiration,
and doing it on a schedule. That is actually the main idea of a book I’ve been
reading recently called, “The War of Art.” Now, this book mainly for
writers, and creative people, and people who feel like they
have a calling in their lives, but I think this is
actually an essential read for anyone who struggles
with procrastination. One of the big
concepts in this book is this idea of going from
amateur over to professional, and I want to share with you a couple of sentences
from the book about this idea of
what a professional is. I think this
particular paragraph in the Professional section
sums it up pretty clearly. “Someone once asked
Somerset Maugham “if he wrote on a schedule “or only when struck
by inspiration. “‘I write only when inspiration
strikes,” he replied. “‘Fortunately, it strikes
every morning at 9:00 sharp,'” and that’s a pro. “Which is your favorite
One Piece Arc?” I guess this is another
confession time, because I only watched
about the first 200 episodes of One Piece before
I gave the show up. Now, I love the show. I love the characters. I have bought stuff, like
One Piece stuff in Japan, like a ship and a t-shirt, but there’s just too much. There’s 700 episodes
at this point, and I had to move
on with my life, and I think they pad out
the anime way too much, so the manga and the wiki
is good enough for me, and the films are
pretty cool too. That being said, within
the first 200 episodes, my favorite arc is Alabasta,
which I have on DVD, and I think I like this one
more than the Skypiea arc, just because the
setting is cooler, and I think the villains are
a bit more compelling as well. “Is there any video
making equipment “that you would recommend?” Oh yes there is. It’s right here. Okay, just kidding. I’m not Casey Neistat, though I do think there
is something to be said for caring way more
about the story and the content than the gear if you’re a beginning YouTuber, or you’re somebody who
has any aspirations and dreams for making
video of any sort, because those are
way more important. Take for example, Jenny
Nicholson’s channel. Now, I think she literally
is filming these things on a potato, but one of them
has over 2,000,000 views, and she’s funny. Her stuff is compelling, but I know you guys don’t
want to hear just that, so here are some
quick recommendations if you are a beginner. Number one, I would start
by filming on a smart phone. This is an iPhone 6S. This can film in 4K. The quality is just bananas. It’s nuts, so you don’t need to worry
too much about a camera, but audio is much more
important than video for the pleasure of a viewer. This thing has on okay mic. It’s not that great. I’m filming on a shotgun
mic which is right above me, but if you’re just starting out, I would recommend
a cheap lav mic, like this one from Royal Voice. I got this on Amazon
for I think 16 bucks. It’s just a wired mic. You can put it into your phone, and I use an app called Rode Rec to record my audio recordings, and I actually tape it
to the inside of my shirt just using masking tape, and that really helps to
cut down on any wind noise. Now, if you guys want gear
recommendations beyond that, I’ll probably make
an updated gear video about my own set-up
in the near future, but until then, you
should definitely go over to my friend Caleb
Wojcik’s channel and subscribe to him, because
he makes excellent videos about video gear,
video techniques, and he’s the guy who taught
me a lot of what I know about how to make good videos. “Favorite fictional books?” I did make a video on my top
ten favorite fictional books a little while ago, and you
can check it out right there, because my picks have
not really changed. That being said, I’m currently
reading a book called, “a Darker Shade of Magic,”
and this is highly enjoyable, so I can give it
a recommendation even though I haven’t
finished it yet, but I’m getting there. That about does it
for the questions I’m going to answer
in this video. Hopefully you guys enjoyed
this new Q&A format, and if you did, I would love it if you went down into the
comments and let me know, and if enough people did,
I’ll probably make this an ongoing Q&A format
that will sprinkle in with the regular videos. Also, if you want to ask
me your own question, something that you
just need to know, you can follow me over
on Twitter @TomFrankly and sometimes, periodically
I will put out a tweet asking for questions,
which I will pull from for these videos. Also, if you want
to get my free book on earning better grades, you can click the
link right there and get it delivered right
to your email address, and you can subscribe
to this channel for more tips on being
a more effective student every single week,
right down there. If you missed last week’s video, we talked about a
habit that can keep you motivated and
organized all semester, so check it out right there and if you want to connect
with me, send a raven.

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