Looking for some inspiration that’ll help boost your productivity? Look no further. We’ve sorted through TED’s website and compiled a list of 6 great talks to help get you out of your productivity lul or to keep the motivation up as you continue to work. These talks provide tips and insights to help you become more productive in work and beyond.
If you’d like to skim the article, I’ve also included a particularly compelling quote from each talk. If you have some more time, why not check out all the videos below!
1. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
How does happiness relate to productivity? If happiness does indeed play a role in your productivity, then we next need to think about how to foster happiness in our lives. Shawn Achor’s talk entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work” helps us do just that.
Achor illustrates his points with clever and easy to follow antidotes to discuss a fairly new branch of study, positive psychology. He challenges us to increase our positivity in the present; in fact he urges us to rewire our brain in this way. Do this was an aim to ultimately help us perform better, increase our energy and get more productive.
Quote: “if we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change the way that we can then affect reality.” “if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.”
2. Dan Ariely – What makes us feel good about our work?
Now that we know the importance of seeking happiness before seeking productivity and success at work, I want to turn to Dan Ariely who in his talk attempts to answer the question, what makes us feel about or work?
Ariely argues that what makes individuals happy and productive at work is creating meaningful conditions that motivates us. Although efficiency was at the crux at the industrial revolution, this school of thought doesn’t necessarily hold true in today’s knowledge economy. Alternatively what makes us more productive and happier is related to a number of motivational factors. Ariely explains this notion this by walking through studies he’s conducted and the conclusions he’s discovered.
Quote: “when we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it — meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc.”
3. Yves Morieux – As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify
Morieux begins this talk with a thought provoking observation; despite all our new technology why are we still striving to learn how to be more productive? Furthermore, despite organizations having hard and soft structures in place such as metric, KPIs, and company culture, many organizations still struggle to be efficient. To combat this, Morieux presents the idea of collaboration and how it impacts efficiency and productivity. This talk is chock full of information, but Morieux also breaks it down with his easy to follow tips.
Quote: “Complicatedness: This is your battle, business leaders. The real battle is not against competitors. This is rubbish, very abstract. When do we meet competitors to fight them? The real battle is against ourselves, against our bureaucracy, our complicatedness.”
4. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation
On the theme of motivation, Dan Pink offers an answer to the question, how does incentivizing tasks or offering rewards help of hinder motivation and in turn productivity? He argues that the answers to this question lies in science. However businesses and organizations are still relying on outdated means of motivation, as opposed to really focussing on what science has proved over and over again.
This is becoming increasing important as left-brain activities are now becoming automated or outsourced because it more obviously shows the lack of right-brain thinkers. The talk continues as Pink explain the importance of intrinsic motivation, and how it relates to thinking critically and creatively.
Quote: “The secret to high performance isn't rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive— the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things because they matter.”
5. Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk
Meetings have become an integral part of many organizations. However, meetings often have a reputation of disrupting the work day, being inefficient and in general being a negative aspect of work. Marchant challenges this notion by offering an alternate to the traditional meeting by introducing us to the ‘Walking Meeting’.
The talk is easy to follow and explains ideas from an interesting framework. That is Merchant challenges us to think about how we can use collaboration to solve problems, as opposed to thinking about them in a binaries. Bonus – this talk will give you a quick motivation boost since it’s under 5 minutes!
Quote: “There's this amazing thing about actually getting out of the box that leads to out-of-the-box thinking”
6. Andy Puddicombe - All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
When discussing productivity, we need to also consider the importance of taking breaks and remaining mindful. Often times we can get caught up in a cycle of intense work which can lead to burn-out, errors, and ultimately result in being less productive than initially intended.
In this 10 minute talk, Puddicombe discusses practical tips to help us stay mindful in our everyday life.
As suggested, appreciating the present moment can have a number of positive effects in our lives, such as being physically healthy, increasing focus and relieving stress. Not to mention, this talk has some great juggling to help showcase Puddicombe’s points.
Quote: “the same mind that we depend upon to be focused, creative, spontaneous, and to perform at our very best in everything that we do. And yet, we don't take any time out to look after it.”
Productivity is an area of study that is likely to impact everyone’s lives. Additionally, it’s affected by so many factors such as happiness, motivation, culture and more. As our technologies continues to improve and our scientific knowledge deepens, it will certainly be interesting to see what the future of productively holds.
Are there any other TED talks missing from this list that help boost your productivity? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us a tweet @diamond_io.
By Tabitha David (Content @Diamond Inc.)
This post is inspired by Diamond Inc. We are on a mission to make work better and to increase the everyday person’s productivity. Join our beta list at https://www.diamond.io/ to try out our new product. No more endless browser tabs! Diamond is a personal data management system that simplifies access to all of your files and emails across Google Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, and more in one place.