Welcome to the User Spotlight Series, where we talk with Habitica users who are experts in their fields. First up is Thomas Frank, the studying savant behind College Info Geek!
Hey Tom! Tell us a little about yourself.
“Hi there! My name is Thomas Frank, and I’m a guy from Iowa who spends an inordinate amount of time talking into microphones. I run College Info Geek, which is a YouTube channel, podcast, and blog that helps students learn better and become more productive. I also co-host an uncensored personal finance podcast called Listen Money Matters.”
How did you start using Habitica?
“I found Habitica back in 2014 shortly after I read The Power of Habit and The Motivation Hacker. This was around the same time I had found Beeminder as well, so I started using both in tandem and generally started taking my habits seriously.
This turned out to be one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made; up until that point, my business’ growth had been flatlining and my personal habits weren’t the best. After I started using both apps, my site’s growth took off due to a consistent publishing schedule, and my daily routine got a lot more productive. I also started making YouTube videos around that time, which really accelerated things.”
What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?
“Right now I only use Habitica for Dailies; it works in tandem with Asana for team-based tasks, Fitocracy for fitness tracking, and Beeminder for extra-hardcore publishing accountability. My current Dailies list includes:
- Do the 7-minute workout
- Fill the exercise bar on my Apple Watch (these first two ensure I’m exercising every day, but I also go to the gym regularly)
- Plan next day (before bed)
- Do a nightly exercise/stretching routine
- Clear room to neutral (close all tabs, shut off computer, clean off desk, organize room)
I got knocked off my more ambitious routine this summer due to travel and some crazy work projects, so this small-ish dailies list is helping me build back up.”
You’re always juggling a lot of cool projects. What are you working on right now?
“We just finished working on a brand new edition of our student resources page, which also now includes a college packing guide. Now that we’re done with v1.0 of those pages, we’ll be starting work on our first online course very soon!”
Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?
“Lately I’ve been really working to reduce the amount of time I spend managing my productivity tools, so I’ve pretty much been logging in to check off my Dailies. My friend Martin runs our party, so I let him pick the quests we work on.
However, I did start the College Info Geeks guild, which now has over 7,200 members!”
What advice do you have for people during this Back-to-School season?
“I always find that it’s easier to make habit changes during a ‘turning point’ – a new semester, new job, new home, etc. I always liked to use my new semesters as reset periods; they provided me with motivation to set my schedule and habits to where I’d like them to be. Here are some more new semester tips if you’re curious!”
Any personal tips/tricks for using Habitica for studying?
“Experiment with making your Dailies and Habits either input-based or output-based. When I started using Habitica, I had an input-based daily reading goal: Read for 20 minutes. However, I found myself spending much of that 20 minutes daydreaming, so I wouldn’t make much progress in my book. To fix that, I switched my goal over to reading 25 pages a day – that incentivized me to stay on task while reading, and as a result I was able to read over 3,000 pages during a 3-month reading challenge.”
Want to learn more about studying with Habitica? Check out our School Resources!