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21 TED Talks For Habits and Productivity

Since I’ve found so many amazing TED Talks I thought I would share some of my favourite ones about TED Talks for habits, productivity and motivation. These talks truly encouraged and inspired me and I’m certain they will do the same for you!

By the way, if you’re not sure what TED Talks is, then I’ll give you a little context.  Under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading”, TED Talks is an online non-profit organisation dedicated to sharing ideas and encouragement through inspiring speeches from some of the world’s greatest minds, and it’s all free! Here are  21 TED Talks for habits, productivity and motivation. Enjoy!

ted talks

21 TED Talks For Habits and Productivity

1 Tim Urban – Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator

TED: This is one of my favourite TED Talks for habits. Tim Urban 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 insightful talk, Urban 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.

2 Justin Brewer – A Simple Way To Break A Bad Habit

TED: Another great TED Talks for habits. Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction — from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they’re bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving.

3 Arianna Huffington – How To Succeed? Get More Sleep

TED: 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.

You may also like: 10 Life-Changing Hacks To Help You Fall Asleep Faster

4 Dan Pink – The Puzzle Of Motivation

TED: Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

5 Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do

TED: Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

6 Kelly McGonigal – How To Make Stress Your Friend

TED: Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Clifford Stoll – The Call To Learn

TED: Clifford Stoll captivates his audience with a wildly energetic sprinkling of anecdotes, observations, asides — and even a science experiment. After all, by his own definition, he’s a scientist: “Once I do something, I want to do something else.”

Derek Sivers – Keep Your Goals To Yourself

TED: After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it’s better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

Tim Ferriss – Smash Fear, Learn Anything

TED: From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

10 Adam Grant – The surprising habits of original thinkers

TED: A must watch TED Talk for habits! How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organisational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”

11 Larry Smith – Why You Will Fail To Have A Great Career

TED: In this funny and blunt talk, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions.

12 John Wooden – The Difference Between Winning And Succeeding

TED: With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father’s wisdom.

13 Angela Lee Duckworth – The Key To Success? Grit

TED: Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realised that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

14 Tim Ferriss: Why you should define your fears instead of your goals

TED: The hard choices — what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls “fear-setting.” Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.

15 Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret To Better Work

TED: We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.

16 Richard Branson – Life At 30,000 Feet

TED: Richard Branson talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about the ups and the downs of his career, from his multi billionaire success to his multiple near-death experiences — and reveals some of his (very surprising) motivations.

17 Seth Godin – How To Get Your Ideas To Spread

TED: In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

18 Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius

TED: Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

You may also like: 8 Powerful Messages From Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

19 Shonda Rhimes – My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything

TED: Shonda Rhimes, the titan behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season, and she loves to work. “When I am hard at work when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling,” she says. She has a name for this feeling: The hum. The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God’s whisper in her ear. But what happens when it stops? Is she anything besides the hum? In this moving talk, join Rhimes on a journey through her “year of yes” and find out how she got her hum back.

20 Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating 

TED: Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

21 Mel Robbins – How to stop screwing yourself over

TED: Another great TED Talks for habits, productivity and motivation! How do you get on the road to being happier? Start by setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and not hitting the snooze button. The effort required to leave that warm bed and enter the world is the same amount of effort needed to shake up your life and make that elusive change. In this humorous and provocative talk, Mel Robbins explains how turning off our brain’s autopilot and demolishing our comfort zones is key to a rewarding life.

You may also like: How To Stop Blocking Your Own Success

What are your favourite TED Talks for habits, productivity and motivation?

Laura x

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