AEE 179: Thomas Frank on Momentum, Missions and Motivation

Assembly LineWhat is the most productive way to learn English?

Are there strategies you can use to improve productivity in language learning?

Today we talk with productivity expert Thomas Frank about three ways to learn English faster!

Thomas believes a big part of success in learning a language has to do with how you manage your time.

By using certain strategic behaviors, he says that you can get more and better learning, faster.


The top 3 three tips for improving English learning productivity:

  • Induce Momentum: Start with small and easy things. Successfully accomplishing minor tasks will warm you up for larger, more difficult tasks.
  • Use Mini-Missions: Give intense focus to improving on specific areas by treating them as “missions” that must be accomplished by a certain time.
  • Increase Motivation with the Procrastination Equation: The Procrastination Equation is Motivation = (Expectancy x Value) / (Impulsiveness x Delay). In other words, the expectations and value you place on a goal are always going to be divided by all potential distractions and delays between you and your goal, so you need to make a habit of choosing the right goals and avoiding things that will slow you down.


face2Thomas Frank is the writer, podcaster, and productivity nerd behind College Info Geek, a web resource that helps students be awesome at college.

When he’s not working, reading, or trying to convert his life into a video game, you can probably find him climbing a tree or enjoying good whisky (not simultaneously).

You can connect with him on Twitter here.


Do you use any of these strategies to increase your English learning productivity?

How does it work?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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  • Mollie Tai

    My three ways of attaining productivity of English learning :
    1/ Induce Momentum : Start with
    small,easy and minor tasks , then larger / bigger and more
    difficult ones.
    2/ Use Mini-Missions : Divide my
    assignments into specific areas
    and focus on them individually
    with time limits .
    3/ Increase Motivation with the
    Procrastination Equation : Expect more with proper goals ,
    avoid potential distractions which slow me down and delay
    my work .
    In addition , my strong motivation , innate talent , extreme patience and constant
    practice make me a very successful English learner !

  • @Mollie Tai- Wow! You have a formula for success!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for providing us such incredible podcast. All of you podcast are motivating, but this one was kind of special to me.
    I’m studying for IELTS exam for a while and these podcast of yours have helped me a lot.
    I plan my day like this:
    1-listening to AllEarsEnglish podcast
    2-taking an IELTS exam (listening-reading-writing-speaking)
    3-watching “Study English Series”
    4-practicing new vocabularies
    and whenever I get bored or feel low, I listen to older podcast of yours.

  • Hi @disqus_xYzlgtSIIw:disqus How are you? Thanks for your message! I am happy that AEE is a big part of your motivation and IELTS prep- that is super cool! I wish you the best of luck on your exam! You can do it!

  • Guest

    Thanks @disqus_Wxz8GksP0J:disqus. I hope so.

  • Sarah

    Thanks Lindsay. I hope so.

  • Sonia Petri

    Good tips!! The “mini-missions” tip is going to be helpful
    to keep me focused. I do need to set goals otherwise I lose focus and get
    distracted with so many things on the internet. I’m going to write down these
    three tips and keep them somewhere on my desk where I can see them every day. I
    learned that when you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit. I usually do
    this when I want that something sticks in my mind. Thanks Lindsay, Gabby and Thomas for
    the awesome episode!!

  • @soniapetri:disqus Thanks for your message! You are very welcome and yes, it is true that it’s pretty easy to set habits in a short amount of time. That can be a great thing! Set a great habit today!