As we wrap up 2018, I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 Productivity TEDTalks.
The only problem is that based on my criteria I could only find 4. 
The criteria I used to rate the TEDTalks were…
– Is the speaker dynamic, e.g. I don’t want to fall asleep while I watch this
– There is something actionable in the talk, they aren’t just spewing a lot of ideas (I know, that kind of goes against the Ted talk idea of sharing knowledge)
– The talk is well organized, it actually has a path is follows and doesn’t jump from topic to topic.
These talks were not necessarily given in 2018, but even if they are older they are still at the top of my list.
With that said, here are my top 4 Productivity TEDTalks for 2018
Rory Vaden – How to Multiply Your Time
Rory Vaden discusses how we, “We can’t solve today’s time management problems with yesterday’s time-management thinking.” His main premise is that there are times when it is actually helpful to “procrastinate on purpose”.
One of the ideas raised that instead of just looking at the importance and urgency of tasks that we should also look at the “significance” or how long the task will be important. I would change that up to be how much the task is related to the outcomes we want.
Laura Vanderkam – How to Take Control of Your Free Time
Laura Vanderkam’s ideas center around having priorities. You may have heard the idea of instead of saying we don’t have time to do something what we really mean is that it isn’t a priority. I don’t know if she coined this phrase or not, but she is a big proponent of the idea. She also mentions that when we have to we find the time. Her example is, if our washing machine breaks down we find the time to fix it.
The big takeaway from Laura’s TEDTalk is writing down 3 – 5 things in relation to business, relationships, and self that we will be proud of at the end of next year. I really like this approach, although it can be a little daunting to put ourselves in our shoes a year from now. I also think 15 goals to achieve is a long list, so I would recommend sticking to 3 in each category. You can always add more when you achieve them.
Tim Urban – Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
I think the what got me most about Tim Urban’s TEDTalk is the way it was presented. He is just a dynamic, relatable speaker.
But within the humor he gives a name to procrastination – the instant gratification monkey.
He also discusses the idea that there is a difference in procrastination with deadlines and procrastination without deadlines.
There are no action steps given in this talk, I think that simply giving a name to an obstacle that we have is beneficial because it can help us to talk to something with a name rather than an abstract concept.
Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret to Better Work
This TEDTalk is not necessarily related to productivity, but…
1 – It would be difficult to knock this TEDTalk from the top of any list I create.
2 – Happy people are more productive people, thus we need to focus on bringing more happiness into our lives.
Shawn Achor is a happiness researcher. He is able to easily translate the research into practice with humor. He suggests that 90% of results are from the way people see the world.
The main idea is that happiness comes before success because if we relate success accomplishment (goals) then we will never be happy because our goals are always changing (either because they became unimportant or we reached them and set new goals).
He gives some brief ideas of small ways to make big changes to our happiness (gratitude, journaling, meditation, etc.).
The one thing that I think is missing from this talk is Shawn’s definition of happiness.
To fill you in, Shawn defines happiness as, “The joy one feels striving fro one’s potential.” So, it isn’t like the happiness we might feel when we enjoy a wonderful night out or a vacation.
Happiness always comes before success, even in the dictionary.