3 Sure-Fire Habits to Increase Productivity and Improve Your Life

Charles Zinn
4 min readAug 13, 2022


Habits that had transformed my life.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Let’s be honest, being productive is hard. A lot of people will say laziness is the cause of unproductivity, but that’s just not the case.

It’s not that people are lazy, it’s that it’s so difficult to want to do work, especially if you have a full-time job and other responsibilities.

But it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Here are three sure-fire ways to increase productivity.

  1. Think smarter, not harder

People think that the best way to work harder is just by telling themselves to work harder. They’ll say things like, “Oh, I’ll just work harder, and I’ll accomplish my goal.” Sometimes I’ve been given that same advice by people.

But is that very fair advice?

It’s like if someone was bleeding out from a stab wound, and the medical staff said, “Just stop bleeding out.”

Sounds ridiculous, right?

Then why do we say this to ourselves? “Just save money. Just workout. Just eat healthily.”

These are goals, but these aren’t solutions. You need to think smarter, not harder. For me, this started when I picked up James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. It gave me a lot of techniques that I could use to improve my life.

It’s not just self-help books that can help. A part of thinking smarter begins by writing a list of what does and doesn’t work.

Have you tried to get up in the morning to go for a run? Does it work? If not, then cross it out and try running after work. Change your schedule to try and find the perfect balance of what best works for you and what doesn’t.

2. Change your environment, and you will notice a difference

The difference between productivity and laziness can sometimes be based solely on our environment.

One study looked at the environment of office space and found that “Temperature, air quality, lightning, and noise conditions…” all played a central part in workers’ productivity. Simply changing small details of an environment completely changed how productive workers were.

I can’t work at home because the environment is too relaxing. My phone and computer are here. I can play video games, or watch TV, or I can go up to my bed and take a nap.

It’s not a place where I can sit down and write.

Instead, I go to the library. Here, I am productive. It’s an environment that lets me do two things: work and read. It’s perfect for what I need as a writer.

3. Remove all distractions, yes including your phone

I went up to my professor one day and told him about a massive problem that I had:

Technology addiction.

I was addicted and glued to my phone every moment of the day. It’s something that I suffered from for years.

It wasn’t just a distraction, but it absorbed every moment of my life. After having a conversation about it, he told me, “Why don’t you just leave it in my office?”

I was stunned by the request. “Leave it? But won’t I need it?”

He shook his head, “You don’t always need your phone everywhere you go. Leave it here, and you’ll see the difference.”

Well, I did what he said, and it turns out, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I noticed immediately after the first week that my productivity went through the roof. I was sleeping better, I felt happier, and my overall quality of life improved.

It was just a temporary solution, and not everyone can get rid of their phones. But, the social experiment I did gave me some good points.

When you change your environment, leave all distractions behind you. You’ll notice a clear difference.

Do you know the term, “Out of sight, out of mind?”

This directly applies to distractions. James Clear says that the more difficult it is to have access to something like your phone, then the less likely you are to use it.

If you put your phone in a very inconvenient place (locked away in your car, locked in a safe that is stored in your basement) then the motivation to grab it will decrease drastically.

In a sense, if you use laziness to your advantage, then you’ll be too lazy to grab your phone. It’ll free you up to do the work that you need to get done.

I leave my phone in the car when I go to the library. If I have to do some writing, I’ll bring my computer with me, but if I’m just going to read, then my computer stays at home.

These three ways are just the beginning of changing your life. As you improve yourself, you’ll see a big difference in your quality of life. But, it always starts by wanting to improve.

So, what are you waiting for? Change your life today.



Charles Zinn

Writer, reader, and habit maker. I write articles on book reviews, lifestyle, and writing.