Top TED Talks for a Productivity Boost

TED Talks are one of my favorite resources. They feature fascinating individuals speaking on an incredibly wide range of topics. If you’re looking to improve in a certain area or learn something new about a topic that interests you, there’s likely a talk (or several) that can offer new insights and information. The subject of productivity is no exception. There are many great TED Talks out there that can give professionals powerful tools and ideas to increase their productivity. Here are a few of my favorites:

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

We all get stressed at work sometimes. Depending on your job, you may be in a chronic state of stress that seriously limits your productivity. No matter how frequently you feel it, chances are you don’t consider stress to be a positive. In this talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal challenges that assumption. She explains that we don’t need to write stress off as a bad thing in every situation. Instead, she explores the idea that how we respond to stress is what determines its impact on our lives. In fact, she encourages you to see stress as a positive. She also shares an important strategy for responding to stress that involves reaching out to others.

Got a Meeting? Talk a Walk

In this short talk, Nilofer Merchant shares a single strategy that you can implement right away. The next time you have a meeting, step away from the desk, out of the office, and outside for a stroll. It’s one of the few times multitasking can be beneficial, and it can even help to give your creative thinking a boost.

How To Multiply Your Time

In this talk, Rory Vaden challenges all you think to be true about time management. He explores what’s wrong with our current beliefs and explains how and why they’re outdated. He then dives into what needs to change. Take, for example, the to-do list. Vaden argues that while many of us rely on this list to tell us what we need to do, we really need to be focused on the things we don’t need to do so that we can eliminate them. Give it a watch for some counter-intuitive suggestions that may help you better manage your time.

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

This humorous talk delivers some powerful insights. Tim Urban starts with the example of his college thesis, a large project with a clear deadline. He shows a graph with time on the x-axis and amount of work on the y-axis. First, he shows how the average non-procrastinator’s workflow might look, with time put in throughout the duration of the project. Then he shows his, which is empty of data until the last possible point on that x-axis. The audience laughs, suggesting many of us are all too familiar with this workflow of putting something off until the last possible minute. This talk gives some great points for reflection and asks us to rethink why we procrastinate. If this habit interferes with your time management, this talk could help you kick it.


If you’re looking for some productivity inspiration, TED Talks deliver. While these are 4 of my favorite talks on the subject, there are countless others out there full of useful information. Do you have any TED Talks that have improved your time-management skills? Share them in the comments.

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