Practical Hacks to Build Good Habits and Enhance Your Overall Productivity

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Listening to Audiobooks is one of my favourite things I do every time I lace up for a run. I love self-development books and I find in them a comfortable refuge from my academic work. In fact, self development books remind me that reading is a highly enjoyable activity, one that is substantially different from reading academic journal articles and research papers.

Yesterday, I finished listening to James Clear's blockbuster 'Atomic Habits' and it was such an incredible learning experience. The kind of habits we develop, that is  those regular tiny activities we do on everyday basis,  are the key to our success in life. According to Clear, there are three types of habits: outcome-based habits, process-based habits, and identity-based habits. The latter, identity habits, is what makes us who we are.  While outcome and process-based  habits tend to diminish as we realize our goals, identity-based habits stick with us long enough to transform our life. Clear gave the example of running and argued that if you train only in order to run a marathon or a race, chances are once the race is over and the goal is attained, you may bounce back to where you were (fitness wise) before the start of your training; but if you take running as part of the 'new' identity you want to construct (e.g., a fit individual) and you identify with it, it (running) becomes an embodiment of who you are and will forever shape your outlook on the world. Clear goes on to provide several other relevant examples of how identity-based habits can tremendously transform our life.

As I finished listening to Clear's book it dawned on me to compile the list below and share with you some other great reads that cover the topic of habit formation. The purpose is to help you, and through you, your students learn about the accumulative power of habits in enhancing your productivity in all spheres of life.

3 Good Reads to Help Teachers and Students Develop Constructive Habits

Please note, the links below are Amazon affiliate links enabling me to earn from your purchases.

  1- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, by James Clear 
"No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results."

2- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise 
"A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its "too small to fail" nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you're always moving forward. The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or "stuck" people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away. And if you think one push-up a day is too small to matter, I've got one heck of a story for you!"

3- Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by S.J. Scott  (Author), Jonathan Green (Foreword) 
"We all know it's not easy to add dozens of new habits to your day. But what you might not realize is it's fairly easy to build a single new routine. The essence of habit stacking is to take a series of small changes (like eating a piece of fruit or sending a loving text message to your significant other) and build a ritual that you follow on a daily basis. Habit stacking works because you eliminate the stress of trying to change too many things at once. Your goal is to simply focus on a single routine that only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Within this routine is a series of actions (or small changes). All you have to do is to create a checklist and follow it every single day. That's the essence of habit stacking."

Update: May 20, 2020
New addition to the list

4- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
"In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes readers inside labs where brain scans record habits as they flourish and die; classrooms in which students learn to boost their willpower; and boardrooms where executives dream up products that tug on our deepest habitual urges. Full of compelling narratives that will appeal to fans of Michael Lewis, Jonah Lehrer, and Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives."