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June 24, 2019

Let me guess...

You're someone who wants to perform at a high level but sometimes feels stuck.

You've heard all the tips and tricks in the book about the 80/20 rule and even the various tips we've shared on how to improve your productivity.

Despite knowing all of this, you continue to struggle time after time with maintaining your momentum and getting things done. Look, I get it - I've fallen into the same traps before, but I've figured out what works best for me and leveraged it.

That's the key. You need to figure out what works for you. And how I was able to figure out what works for me is by studying the habits of some of the best makers, creators and professionals in the world. I've read countless books, dissected plenty of productivity blog posts, and watched the TED Talks below.

From this, I've been able to learn how to better manage my time, channel my focus, and use temporary distractions as fuel to keep going.

With that, here are eight powerful TED Talks that I'm sure will leave you inspired and with insights that will help you take your own productivity to the next level:

Tim Urban - Inside The Mind of A Master Procrastinator

Tim Urban is one of the best artists of this generation. He's the brain behind the popular stick figure blog waitbutwhy.com. He knows that procrastination doesn't make sense, but he's never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and powerful talk, he takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes, and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.

David Grady - How To Save The World (Or At Least Yourself) From Bad Meetings

An epidemic of bad, inefficient, overcrowded meetings is plaguing the world’s businesses — and making workers miserable. David Grady has some ideas on how to stop it in this short but powerful TED Talk that is sure to help you stay on track.

 Arianna Huffington - How To Get More Sleep

In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making. If you enjoy this talk, you should definitely check out Arianna's book, Thrive. It's filled with insights on how she built the Huffington Post empire.



Jason Fried - Why Work Doesn't Happen At Work

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn't a good place to do it. He calls out the two main offenders (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make the workplace actually work. If you haven't read Jason Fried's book, Rework, you're missing out on one of the best books on productivity & business of the last decade.



Nifoler Merchant - Got a meeting? Take a Walk

Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it a "walking meeting" — and let ideas flow while you walk and talk. This is a tactic that Steve Jobs used on a regular basis. If you haven't read the Steve Jobs biography, Jobs - It's a must read for any entrepreneur.

John Doerr - Why The Secret To Success Is Setting The Right Goals

Have you heard of OKRs? As John Doerr explains, it’s a system - used by the likes of Bono and Google - to set goals and measure your progress toward them. The concept was invented by Professor Andy Grove, an old boss of Doerr. To quote Professor Grove, “It almost doesn’t matter what you know, execution is what matters most.” Many individuals and organizations don’t set proper goals (or any at all). You have to have a sense of purpose behind your actions. You may have a ton of great ideas, but why are you doing this and how going to complete them? Once you can answer these questions, inspiration comes a lot more naturally and execution becomes a lot easier.

Shawn Achor - The Happy Secret To Better Work

In this humorous talk, Shawn Achor proposes that 90% of our long-term happiness is dependent upon our perceptions. Reality doesn’t shape us, but our views shape our reality. The idea of maintaining what is “average” is stunting our creativity and potential. The idea that our happiness is dependent upon our success is keeping us from ever achieving true happiness, as success is subjective and ever-changing. Instead, if we train ourselves to be positive, our energy, creativity, productivity, etc. all increase. A great book that takes this idea to another level is The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already!  

Kelly McGonigal - How To Make Stress Your Friend

Of a similar idea as Shawn’s talk, health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, explains how our belief that stress is harmful is what makes it truly harmful. Mind blown. The brain can be a funny thing - it can cause your body to have all sorts of involuntary responses. Sometimes, you may be so overwhelmed that rather than getting done what you’ve set out to do, you instead retreat and complete nothing at all. What if, instead, we viewed stress as a positive physiological response? As our bodies amping us up for the challenge before us? That’s the idea here.

If you enjoyed these talks, it's obvious that you're someone who cares about productivity and becoming a better you. I applaud you.  

Looking for more tips on staying productive? Check out Three Ways To Maximize Your Schedule & Potential Every Day - but then, get back to work!

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