Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. However if you want to truly be successful, you’ve got to have a solid grasp on your time and make use of every single minute of your day. Here are 6 TED talks on time management that should help you become much more productive in your life.
Of course successful time management isn’t only about getting everything done in a day. It’s also about creating a balance and developing healthy habits. From taking ten minutes out of your day to be mindful to cutting down on your meetings. Not to mention “monotasking.” There are a number of things you can do to tackle your time.
For some inspiration, here are six helpful TED Talks on time management.
1. “How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings” by David Grady
In the U.S., over $25 million is wasted everyday on useless meetings — that’s a whopping $37 billion a year. And it’s not only money that’s wasted but precious time too. In fact, according to research, people spend 35 to 50 percent of their time in meetings, and most of that is time wasted because 67 percent of people say that most meetings are unproductive.
Thanks to TED speaker David Grady’s “How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings,” you’ll never have to waste away your days in useless meetings again. In his TED Talk, Grady explains the downsides of mass meetings, and proposes alternative approaches, explaining how a well-planned, agenda-based meeting can yield positive, actionable results.
2. “How to gain control of your free time” by Laura Vanderkam
Early mornings driving carpool to late nights stuck in the office. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Nonetheless have a couple hours to yourself to unwind. Yet, with 168 hours in a week, you’re bound to have some leftover hours to yourself. At least that’s what time management expert Laura Vanderkam has discovered. In her TED Talk, “How to gain control of your free time,” Vanderkam shares surprising discoveries she’s uncovered while studying how busy people spend their time. The shocking part? Most people tend to drastically overestimate their commitments and underestimate the time they actually wind up having to themselves. In the video, Vanderkam not only offers strategies to help you figure out how to find more time, but what to do when you finally take the downtime you deserve.
3. “Inside the mind of the master procrastinator” by Tim Urban
Whether it’s the week before a major presentation or the night before a final college exam. Most of us can admit, we’ve all experienced some instance of procrastination. In fact, procrastination is a commonplace. That pressure of panic caused by waiting until the last minute is a frequent motivator for many people. However, it’s important not to let procrastination get the best of you, or else your dreams could be at risk.
In his TED Talk, internet writer and self-proclaimed “master procrastinator” Tim Urban not only explains the downsides to procrastination, but the different types and what can ultimately happen (or not happen) in the future. To Urban, there are different types of procrastinators like deadline-driven procrastinators and situational procrastinators. Situational procrastinating is when no specific deadline is set, like waiting to start a business. When there’s no deadline set, that moment of panic doesn’t appear to give you the extra nudge.
“It’s not that they’re cramming for some project; it’s that long-term procrastination has made them feel like a spectator at times in their own lives,” says Urban. “The frustration is not that they couldn’t achieve their dreams; it’s that they weren’t even able to start chasing them.”
4. “Forget multitasking, try monotasking” by Paolo Cardini
Research has long proven that the act of multitasking doesn’t actually help a person get more done. In fact, most people who try to multitask end up taking longer than they would if they simply focused on one task at a time. According to one study, only 2.5 percent of people are able to multitask effectively.
Product designer and TED speaker Paolo Cardini understands this — that’s why he’s promoting “monotasking.” In his TED Talk, “Forget multitasking, try monotasking,” Cardini questions the efficiency of multitasking, explaining how it leads to information overload, which ultimately overwhelms us and causes us to slow down.
5. “Why work doesn’t happen at work” by Jason Fried
From coffee shops to public libraries, everyone has their own preference for a productive work setting. And it turns out, it’s usually not in the office. In his TED Talk, entrepreneur Jason Fried shares the shocking discovery he uncovered after conducting a study on people and the workplace: Work doesn’t happen at work.
For people to be their most productive, they need uninterrupted time to work. And when you’re in an office all day, it’s a safe bet you’ll be interrupted by meetings and various requests. Fried also dissects the impact managers have on work completion and how to make an office more “work-friendly.”
6. “All it takes is 10 mindful minutes” by Andy Puddicombe
From reducing stress to improving sleep and boosting productivity, mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga are surefire ways to improve the quality of your life. But that doesn’t mean dedicating yourself to a week-long yoga retreat or even an hour-long meditation class. In fact, you can improve your life with mindfulness in just ten minutes a day according to TED speaker and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicome.
In the video, “All it takes is 10 mindful minutes,” Puddicome explains how just putting aside ten minutes everyday to quiet your mind and be present can have a major impact on reducing stress and taking control of your life. With all of today’s distractions like email, social media and the news, it’s not easy to simply do nothing but even just a sliver of time everyday will help you to reset.
I hope you’ve enjoyed and learned from these 6 TED talks on time management. I’ve learned so much from them and keep them saved on my computer to consistently be reminding myself to become better with time.
Rose is a writer and artist living in New York City. She writes for magazines, startups and websites, including Entrepreneur Magazine, Frontrunner Magazine, Homepolish and more.