Tapping your productivity in ways you never have before takes unconventional thinking.
Reaching optimal productivity is about working smarter, not harder, and making the most of each day.
The following TED talks offer valuable lessons in doing just that.
Adam Grant’s ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers’
“The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” he says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”
According to Grant — who has studied many of the greats — churning out tons of ideas, even bad ones, is the key to successfully launching a game-changing idea. Producing more ideas means more variety, and this gives you a better chance of stumbling on something truly great.
Shawn Achor’s ‘The happy secret to better work’
As the CEO of Good Think Inc., a psychologist, and author of “The Happiness Advantage,” Achor has spent a lot of time researching where human potential, success, and happiness intersect.
He suggests the common belief that we should work to be happy is misguided, and instead happiness inspires productivity.
Nilofer Merchant’s ‘Got a meeting? Take a walk’
The business consultant and author of “The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy Paperback” shares with TED audiences how she’s helped numerous major companies develop successful new ideas: walking meetings.
She recommends forgoing coffee meetings or fluorescent-lit conference room meetings in favor of walking and talking 20 to 30 miles a week.
“You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking, and in the way that you do, you’ll bring into your life an entirely new set of ideas,” she says.
Jason Fried’s ‘Why work doesn’t happen at work’
According to the “Rework” author, thanks to modern offices, we’re constantly getting distracted by our boss checking in on us, pointless meetings, or coworkers with urgent requests.
“You don’t have a work day anymore,” Fried says in his talk. “You have work moments. It’s like the front door of the office is like a Cuisinart, and you walk in and your day is shredded to bits, because you have 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there.”
One of his proposed solutions goes against common convention, but Fried says implementing half-days (or more) of complete silence will help employees work uninterupted for longer periods of time.
Stefan Sagmeister’s ‘The power of time off’
For more than 20 years, Sagmeister has poured his heart and soul into designing album covers for artists like the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed. But every seven years, he closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh his creativity.
In his talk, he explains how taking time off has allowed him to pursue “some little experiments” that have become innovative projects.
Paolo Cardini’s ‘Forget multitasking, try monotasking’
Many people believe they have to juggle multiple tasks at once to make any progress. But it turns out that only 2% of the population can do this without pausing or making mistakes.
In less than three minutes, one product designer makes a compelling case for doing only one thing at a time.
David Pogue’s ’10 top time-saving tech tips’
Some of this tech columnist’s tips for computer, web, smartphone, and camera users may seem obvious, but odds are there’s at least one you don’t know that could save you an inordinate amount of time, like how to skip the voicemail instructions you get before leaving a message and jump directly to the beep.