If you’re feeling like you’re constantly working for the weekend or you don’t have enough hours in the day, it’s important to step back and recharge. In our opinion, there’s no better source of inspiration than Ted Talks. In 18 minutes or less, you can soak up great insights on on video from some of the top minds on the plane. And fortunately, if you’re looking to sharpen your focus and amp up your productivity, there are many excellent talks to spur you on. Here are some worth watching.

The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor:

You may think you’re getting a lot done by staying glued to your desk until 10 pm, but if you’re not enjoying being there, you may be better off doing something fun, like going to dinner with a good friend. Achor, a psychologist who researches and teaches about positive psychology, has found that by raising your happiness level, you can expand your productivity. As dopamine floods your brain, it not only improves your mood but it also turns on the learning centers of your brain and helps you better adapt to the world. Result: Your creativity and energy level rise, and business outcomes improve.

TED Talks


The Power of Time Off  by Stefan Sagmeister:

At his design studio in New York, graphic artist Stefan Sagermeister—who has served clients such as the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed—has made it a practice to close up shop for one year every seven years. He finds that giving himself time to think helps him get a fresh perspective when work has become routine.


ted talks


Most small business owners can’t afford to take a year off, but his Ted Talk offers a powerful argument for taking a sabbatical. Even if yours is just a week off from work, you’ll be surprised at how much unplugging helps you to reconnect with your best ideas.

How To Succeed? Get More Sleep by Ariana Huffington

Ariana Huffington is well known for her business acumen. In this video she reveals one secret to keeping her competitive edge: Getting enough Zzzs. Which is contradictory to the majority of the business world. “There is now a kind of sleep deprivation one-upmanship,” Huffington says. But her take is that it can lead to the kind of blurry thinking that leads to terrible business decisions. “I urge you to shut your eyes and deliver the great ideas that lie inside of us,” she urges. Why not give her idea a whirl and hit the sack an hour earlier this week or say no to that breakfast meeting invitation to see if extra sleep helps you achieve your personal best?


ted talks


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

Nothing is worse than sitting in a conference room for hours, wondering when a long, boring meeting is going to end. Whether you’ve gotten trapped as a client drones on or let yourself get suckered into a long sales pitch in a weak moment, you’ve probably vowed not to let it happen again. In this funny video, information security manager David Grady shares how to save yourself and reclaim your time.  Although we often feel trapped into saying yes to meeting invites, “we’re not powerless,” as he puts it. There are respectful ways to opt out, as this video, with more than 2 million page views, will show you.

ted talks


The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant

In many businesses, creativity is the most powerful weapon an owner can deploy to stay ahead of the competition. Unleashing it can be hard, though, when your day is a blur of conference calls, team meetings and customer service challenges. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you may think to tap into the habits of original thinkers, as Adam Grant, the famous organizational psychologist from Wharton, reveals in this popular video.  One habit, for instance, is procrastination. For a crash course in the other habits original thinkers reveal, check out this much-watched talk.


ted talks


How To Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal

Many people think stress will destroy their health but that’s not necessarily true. One recent study found that stress only hurts you if you think it’s bad for you. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal shows how to change your mindset and embrace the stress you face so it doesn’t derail you. Running a business comes with its share of pressures, so why not make the most of them? You’ll increase your personal strength and resilience and achieve much better results that way.


ted talks