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Top 20 TED Talks That Will Improve Your Productivity

Top 20 TED Talks That Will Improve Your Productivity

TED covers all the best ideas over large variety of topics. However, it is time consuming to go through every single video on TED.com to discover the videos that really county. To save you time, we went through the site and created a list of TED talks about productivity. This list contains videos that can inspire you in the many different aspects of your life and boost your productivity with some brand-new ideas. These videos are short, punchy and beneficial for you life.

#1. Richard St. John: “Success is a continuous journey”

Richard St. John told us that the road to success is not a one-way street, it is a continuous journey. He shows his own business ups and downs to illustrate his key message. “When you stop trying, you fail.

#2. Eddie Obeng: Smart failure for a fast-changing world

The world is changing extremely rapidly at a speed that most people don’t realize. In this talk Eddie Obeng will show you how “smart failure” can help you to have better productivity in this fast changing era. h

#3. Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

Instead of reducing your sleeping time to get more done, Arianna Huffington urges us to shut our eyes and feel the power of a good night’s sleep – because it helps us to increase productivity and happiness.

#4. Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, Try Monotasking

People are trying to achieve more by doing everything at the same time. Thanks to the help of smartphones, they can text, talk, surf the internet and watch video simultaneously. Designer Paolo questions the effectiveness and efficiency of multitasking and makes a product to help you focus on “monotasking.

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#5. Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

Ernesto Sirolli suggests that the first step in helping others is to listen to them.

#6. Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Body language not only affects how other people see us, but it also changes how we see and understand ourselves.  Amy Cuddy  shows you how “power posing” can shape your confidence level.

#7. Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Most of us tend to avoid conflicts, but Margaret Heffernan disagrees with us. She shows us that a good disagreement is central to progress.

#8. Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

Michael Norton has intriguing research on how money can actually buy happiness. In his talk, he will show you how pro-social spending can be beneficial to you.

#9. Susan Cain: The power of introverts

We are living in a world where being social and outgoing are prized. Being introvert can be difficult and shameful. In Susan Cain’s talk, she shows you how introverts can be extraordinary talents and bring unique abilities to the world.

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#10. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

Psychologist Shawn Achor believe that happiness inspires productivity.

#11. Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier

We all love customized experiences and options but when we are faced with 1000 options, we freeze up. In Sheena Iyengar’s research, she shows us how businesses can improve the overall experience of choosing.

#12. Daniel Goldstein: The battle between your present and future self

Daniel Goldstein created a tool that helps us to imagine the consequences from our decisions and helps us to make smarter choices.

#13. Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

Nigel Marsh lays out a perfect day, balanced between work and life and provides great encouragement to help make it happen.

#14. Caroline Casey: Looking past limits

Caroline Casey shows us her extraordinary life and how we can move beyond the limits we think we have.

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#15.  Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried wants to show us the fact that the office isn’t the best place to do it. He also offers 3 suggestions on how to improve your working productivity.

#16. Jeff Bezos: What matters more than your talents

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tell us that our character is reflected not in the gifts we’re endowed with at birth, but by our own choices we make in our life.

#17. Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on his happiness after 2000. He learned that success comes from what you measure.

#18. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek shows us a powerful, yet simple, model for inspirational leadership which can start with a golden circle and the killer question “Why?”.

#19. Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!)

There are no excuses not to do what makes you feel good because the internet has made the formula for success much easier. h

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#20. Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors

Itay Talgam demonstrates unique leadership which is about creating perfect harmony without saying a single word.

#Bonus. Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

An epic video of Steve Jobs that urges us to pursue our dreams and show us how to overcome obstacles in our life – including death. If you haven’t watched this video yet, here’s the chance. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

Featured photo credit:  Christmas microphone via Shutterstock

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

Creativity also emphasizes values.

“The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

1. Cultivate Focus

In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

How to cultivate focus?

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Take a 20 Minute Walk

Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

2. Build a Structure

When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

How to build a structure?

Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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3. Find Motivation

There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

How to find motivation?

Connect to Your “Why”

Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

How to become an expert?

Make a Mastery Training Plan

Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

3. Review your progress

Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

5. Create a Conducive Environment

A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

“a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

How to create a conducive environment?

Add or Subtract Stimuli

Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

The Bottom Line

Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

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Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

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