Hi, I’m Thomas Frank, and I think trying to smile for pictures always feels really awkward.
People will think it looks forced, won’t they? Aren’t they going to laugh at how it gives me a double chin? But then I remember that quote that always gets attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (it was actually written by Olin Miller):
If you’re analyzing my smile-double-chin right now, it’s probably only because I pointed it out first. And, if you meet me and hang out with me in real life, you’ll find that I smile and laugh very easily. Especially if you tell a fart joke.
So now I try to smile for pictures more often.
Here are some other things about me…
Who Am I?
I’m a YouTuber, author, and podcaster with a focus on productivity and a passion for learning new things.
In 2010, I started a little blog in my dorm room called College Info Geek in order to share my experiments in studying more effectively and getting the most out of college.
Since then, I’ve applied my interests in productivity and self-development to YouTube, several podcasts, a book, and more.
Here are a few of the things I’ve worked on…
I make videos that explore topics like productivity, habits, health, and finance. This channel originally started as a video companion for my study skills articles on College Info Geek, but as I've grown older, it has become a place for me to explore methods of living a productive and fulfilling life. It's also how I justify my obsession with buying camera gear. Currently, the channel has over 2 million subscribers and 120 million views.
A site that helps students of all ages study more efficiently, prepare for their future careers, and learn essential life skills. College Info Geek started in my dorm room as a side project, but eventually grew to be my full-time job before I graduated. Today, the site is visited by over 400,000 students a month.
I've always been interested in productivity tools, and none has captured my interest more than Notion. While many people view it as a note-taking app, I see Notion as a graphical programming language that lets you build your own productivity tools. I run my entire business in Notion - tasks, project management, company wiki, and more. On this site (and on my channel Thomas Frank Explains), I create Notion tutorials and share my templates.
My podcast The Inforium is a space for long-form, nuanced conversations about productivity, personal finance, self-development, and other topics related to living a more fulfilling life. This show started life as The College Info Geek Podcast, and currently has over 300 episodes. Since 2015 I've been joined by my co-host and good friend Martin Boehme.
Published in January 2015, my first book helps guide students through the process of studying more productively and boosting their grades. Though the digital version is free at College Info Geek, more than 20,000 copies of the self-published edition have been sold, and the audiobook edition was published by Brilliance Audio in 2018.
One of my favorite hobbies is making music; I've been playing guitar since I was 12, and I've also dabbled in piano, singing, live-looping, and music production. Most of my work tends to be improvisational, with my most popular track being a live-looping performance inspired by Tash Sultana.
Ideas I Live By
- The 1% Rule. To get really good at any skill or discipline, put yourself on a schedule and aim to get 1% better at some aspect of that skill with each new project. Over time, you’ll see your skills grow rapidly.
- Show up and have something to show. If you want to build great professional relationships and position yourself for more “lucky” opportunities, both of these actions are needed. You must spend a significant amount of time creating, honing your skills, and building something of value you can offer others. You also have to get out there and “show up” – attend events, interact with people online, and become a part of the community for whatever you’re pursuing.
- I am NOT the product of the five people I spend the most time with. This is a common piece of self-development advice, and I detest it. I’ve gotten more emails than I can count from people who have heard this and feel they have to leave their friends behind because they’re “not ambitious enough”. I always remind myself that just as the people I spend time with can build me up, so too can I build them up.
- Be a Solution Finder. One of the most valuable skills in today’s economy is the ability to independently find solutions for tough problems. Our easy access to search engines and digital assistants makes it so easy to get in the habit of giving up when a solution isn’t immediately present, and I try my best to avoid developing this habit.
- Ego hinders growth. I try to view being wrong as a good thing. Though having my views challenged will always cause my emotional side to go on the defensive at first, the best possible response afterward is to let that guard down and ask myself, “Could I be wrong here?” Often, I am.
These images are free to use in interviews, podcast show notes, articles, etc, and are released under a CC BY-NC license.
- How to Become a Productivity Master with Matt D’Avella
- “Better work and less stress”: How to form, and most importantly keep, creative habits at It’s Nice That
- Thomas Frank’s Ultimate Advice for Working From Home at Motivation2Study
- 6 Practical Ways to Build Rock-Solid Discipline at Front
- 5 Ways to Be a Note-Taking Master at Staples Worklife
- Our Top 10 Thomas Frank Productivity Videos at Keep Productive
- Adopt the daily routines of these 15 successful people, and you’ll #CrushIt at Quartz
- Quiet! I’m Cramming for Finals—By Watching Someone Else Study at The Wall Street Journal
- Choose Entrepreneurship or Business Degree? Choose Both, Experts Say at Iowa State University
- How One Recent College Grad Intends to Retire at 40 at U.S. News
- Recent college grad plans to retire by 40 at FOX Business
- Stumping EDU Creators at Vlogbrothers
- VidCon Special! Featuring RLL, Wendover, Real Engineering, TierZoo and More! at Second Thought
- Money Advice Experts Don’t Agree On: Going to College at Lifehacker
- Applying for Scholarships? Think Small at The Wall Street Journal (paragraph 11)
- DIY Hanging Desk Increases Floor Space, Is Perfect For College Dorms at LifeHacker
- Productivity with Thomas Frank at The Ground Up Show
- Work from Home Without Losing Your Mind (or Productivity) with Thomas Frank at Barbell Logic
- How Productivity Star Thomas Frank Reaches Millions on YouTube at Superorganizers
- Create Your Ultimate WFH Productivity System at AppSumo Remote Academy
- Life as a Full-Time YouTuber with Caleb Wojcik
- How Thomas Frank grew his YouTube channel to 1.6 million subscribers and 91 million views at The Fizzle Show
- Building a YouTube Engine with Thomas Frank at Money Lab
- 6 Practical Ways to Build Rock-Solid Discipline at Front
- How to Get More Views on YouTube in 2019 at Video Influencers
- Using YouTube to Grow Your Speaking Business with Thomas Frank at The Speaker Lab
- From College Nerd to Wildly Successful Personal Brand with Thomas Frank at Smart Passive Income
- How to Use Video and YouTube to Grow Your Business on The Side Hustle Show
- User Spotlight: Thomas Frank of College Info Geek at Habitica
- Finding Work You’re Passionate About with Thomas Frank, the College Info Geek on Nat Chat
- Change Maker: Thomas Frank of College Info Geek at Teachable
- Money Mindfulness with Thomas Frank at Listen Money Matters
- One-on-one with Thomas Frank at Iowa State Daily