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Time Management

6 Incredible TED Talks About Time Management

October 20, 2015

That’s the thing about watching TED Talks — you always find yourself feeling a whole lot more energized, motivated and beaming with a kind of positivity that wasn’t with you 15 minutes ago.

As for being a TED Talk enthusiast, we are right there with most of you who actively seek out inspiration from these prolific speakers that span the length of the world academia. For the longest time we’ve been following the talks to pin down some time management recommendations and we’ve found some amazing suggestions and approaches to time management that we will definitely be carrying into our lives — professional and personal.

Shared below are our top picks of the best Ted Talks on effectively managing your time and work day like a pro.

1. David Grady: How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings

This is one Ted Talk that speaks to every professional out there. And that’s because everybody who’s ever held a job has been affected by the “too many meetings” syndrome. It’s an epidemic, one that lurks in broad day light and while everybody realizes that there is something fundamentally wrong about attending meetings all the time, we feel powerless to the pull of that calendar invite latched proudly at the top of our inbox. David Grady calls this ‘MAS’ — the Mindless Accept Syndrome — and how everybody leaves such a meeting feeling angry and having wasted their time and energy.

Through this talk, David highlights the downside of mindless meeting invitations and how a well-planned, agenda-based meeting can yield positive, actionable results. If more and more people actively pursue agenda-based meetings where you know the purpose and the kind of contribution that’s expected of you, people become more thoughtful and explicitly talk of clarity when they set up meetings.

2. Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off

In this Ted Talk, renowned New York-based designer Stefan Sagameister talks about how taking a sabbatical may just be the best decision you’ve made in the last few years. Stefan talks about this particular work ritual of his where every seven years he shuts down shop for a whole year to go pursue something new.

The reason, he cites, is that over the course of a few years things start to look alike. The projects you work on, the people you work with and even the regular work day seems too predictable and monotonous, and that’s never good for creative work.

But for those of us who do not quite have the luxury of taking out a whole year to chase after an adventure, introspection may be a good way to put things in perspective. For starter, Stefan highlights a three-step breakdown for describing your current profession — The Job, The Career and The Calling. The closer you are to your calling, the more invested you will be in your job. If at any point, your growth prospects or job seem to be heading in no particular direction, Stephan advises you to take some time-off to get a fresh frame of mind and maybe a creative epiphany or two.

A crucial take away from his talk is how one ought to have an objective behind taking time-off. Sabbatical in vacuum bears no good results and you come back feeling more clueless. Much like going back to school, treat your time-off as an off-site activity for pursuing something specific. Divide your time mindfully and continually check for progress.

3. Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Stress is the number one cause of why your work day goes for a toss. In this Ted Talk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal talks about how you can, in fact, embrace stress and gain courage from it, instead of it becoming your enemy.

What’s insightful in this particular Ted Talk is that Kelly brings forth the elusive idea of “looking for the silver lining” through the lens of positive psychology and suggests how we can see stress as a positive thing — a moment of courage — she suggests. Her narrative makes a strong case for how stress resilience is actually an in-built biological function, and all we have to do is make that conscious effort to activate that part of us. This talk is sure to leave you feeling a lot less stressed and definitely beaming with positivity when dealing with managing your work load.

4. Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try mono-tasking

Almost every modern psychologist today talks about how we need to shun the mentality of getting ourselves in the middle of too many things. The problem with multi-tasking, as highlighted by well-known product designer Paolo Cardini in this talk, is one of information overload which leaves us feeling overwhelmed and nothing else. Paolo presents an unconventional narrative about the concerns surrounding multi-tasking and talks of simple product designs that can fulfill essentials life tasks without burdening you with the need to tap an endless slew of apps, websites and all the social traffic.

5. David Pogue: 10 top time-saving tech tips

David Pogue is the personal technology columnist for the New York Times and a technology correspondent of CBS. In this short Ted Talk, David tells you really simple tricks to save time when using modern technology — phone, laptop, and cameras — all of them. What’s interesting is that while these may seem like things we all should have already known, we don’t. For instance, did you know that if you hit space bar twice on your smartphone the device automatically puts a full stop at the end of a sentence? No more switching back forth layouts. His tricks are handy and all about saving time like you’ve never been told before.

6. Ted-ed: How to Write a To-Do List & Know Where Your Time Goes

This particular video is part of the Ted Talk educational series. This short video speedily tells you how you can write very achievable to-do lists and the secret behind sustaining it. One of things highlighted in this video is the need to recognize, consciously, the difference between a task, a goal and a project. Example: To learn how to speak Spanish is the grand project, but getting a Spanish grammar book for beginners can be called a task. When you finish the book, that’s one goal successfully accomplished in favor of the project you’ve undertaken.

The video, offers easy-to-do insights on what should ideally go in your to-do list so that every day you move a little closer to your grand project successfully, one goal at a time.

Managing marketing projects shouldn’t be chaotic —Try Brightpod for free and start focusing on what matters.


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