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6 Phenomenal TED Talks To Make You More Productive

July 18, 2013

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” — Isaac Asimov

Over the years, as a marketer in a tech world, I’ve realized that the only way to be truly effective, productive and happy, is to keep learning. With the unthinkable amount of learning resources available today, not learning and educating ourselves is almost akin to a crime.

While there are several websites & resources I swear by, TED has a special place as a venue for self-realization and for understanding the perspectives of some truly remarkable people around the world.

This week, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite TED talks to help you be more productive. Read on to be amazed and inspired!

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried’s ‘Why work doesn’t happen at work’ talk is one of my all time favourite TED talks and has helped me understand how to be more productive at work. In this talk, Jason sheds light on the many distractions we face at work and how the office isn’t suited for creative pursuits that require large periods of uninterrupted time. His main recommendations for companies to combat this are:

  • “No-talk Thursdays” where co-workers refrain from talking to each other thus reducing distractions.
  • Using email, IM and other collaboration tools to communicate instead of one-on-one conversations.
  • Cancelling meetings. Meetings are a major productivity killer and work can still happen without meetings.


Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

This TED talk by Simon Sinek is a definite eye opener. It describes how great leaders inspire action and why some achieve goals and some don’t. He explains concepts like the Golden Circle, a new way of looking at how people approach what they do. His entire talk comes together with some amazing examples from the Wright Brothers and Apple Inc.


Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off

In this talk, Stefan Sagmeister discusses his personal experiences with taking extended periods of time off from work, and why he believes that sabbaticals would do everyone good. According to him, sabbaticals help one find themselves, learn more about people and enjoy the luxury of time. One of the highlights of the talk is when he shows off the innovative projects he worked on during his time off in Bali.


Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

In this fantastic talk, Shawn Achor discusses how happiness actually inspires productivity. His entire talk is centered around positivity and how little habits can help you be happy and in turn more productive. Some of the mantras he mentions in the talk include:

  • Taking two minutes out of the day for 21 days to write down three new things you are grateful for.
  • Writing about a positive experience you’ve had, every single day
  • Exercising
  • Meditating.
  • Carrying out one random or conscious act of kindness each day.


Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

Nigel’s inspiring talk touches on the subject of work-life balance — a touchy subject for many. Work life balance is never easy to achieve and in most cases is just a line waiting to be blurred. In this talk Nigel talks about his experience with achieving work-life balance. He also lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers amazing inspiration to make it happen.


Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

Media mogul and author, Arianna Huffington gave this short, humorous talk about how sleep is linked to success. She touches upon the irrational race to sleep less in the tech world and how changing that can make us happier, more productive and more successful.


So there you have it. I hope these TED talks help you on your journey to becoming a more productive person.


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