You know the old saying, "It takes money to make money." Well, the same can be said of time.
Sure, you'll spend somewhere between five and 20 minutes not working while you watch the TED talks below, but each one contains some insight about how to do more, work harder, or be more efficient that will pay you back many times over the minutes you invested watching it.
Sometimes, in other words, you have to stop being productive for a moment to become much more productive in the long run. These talks are all one such time.
1. Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
Harvard University researcher Shawn Achor has taught some of the most popular classes at the university, and why not? Who wouldn't want to hear his message that most of us have the relationship between happiness and success totally backwards--success doesn't bring happiness, happiness brings success.
2. Paolo Cardini: Forget Multitasking, Try Monotasking
You do it, I do it, we all do it. We live in a multitasking world, but according to designer Paolo Cardini, we all just need to cut it out and relearn how to focus on just one thing at a time.
3. Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn't Happen at Work
Here's the message of this talk from the Basecamp co-founder and author in a nutshell, according to TED: "Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn't a good place to do it. He calls out the two main offenders (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make the workplace actually work."
4. David Grady: How to Save the World (or at Least Yourself) From Bad Meetings
My Inc.com colleague Justin Bariso has called this one "hilarious." Between laugh-out-loud-funny jokes, David Grady diagnoses a worldwide pandemic of MAS (mindless accept syndrome) and offers a few suggestions to bring sanity back to meetings.
5. Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree
Let's not all just get along, suggests entrepreneur (and Inc.com columnist) Margaret Heffernan in her TED talk, arguing that, in general, we're much too conflict averse for our own good. "She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren't echo chambers--and how great research teams, relationships, and businesses allow people to deeply disagree," according to TED.
6. Arianna Huffington: How to Succeed? Get More Sleep
Since collapsing from exhaustion herself, Arianna Huffington has become something of an apostle of sufficient rest. She brought her anti-workaholism message to the TED stage with this talk.
7. Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
There's a paradox at the heart of stress: The more you try to battle it directly, the more stressed out you tend to get. What's the alternative? Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal offers an answer in this eye-opening talk that will help you feel more centered and get more done.
8. Nilofer Merchant: Got a Meeting? Take a Walk
Sometimes, small changes can have a big impact on your productivity. Nilofer Merchant suggests one such tweak: Next time you have a meeting, why not do it while going for a stroll? After all, science shows walking can spur inspiration, being outdoors is a miracle drug for your mental health, and who can't do with a bit more exercise?
9. Yves Morieux: How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You From Getting Things Done
Today's workplaces are facing trickier and more complex challenges than ever before. What do we need to do to face those challenges? Cooperate more, says consultant Yves Morieux, and too many rules hold you back from doing just that.
10. Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation
Productivity isn't just about hacks or processes, it's also about passion--your level of motivation for completing the tasks in front of you. Dan Pink, a leading expert on motivation, uses his talk to explain what science has to say about getting truly fired up for your work.
11. Stefan Sagmeister: The Power of Time Off
Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a whole year off. It sounds like a radical idea, but he claims such a sabbatical has miraculous powers to rejuvenate people and careers. Plus, it might be much more doable than you imagine.