In today’s frenetic 24-hour digital world, it’s easy to believe you must constantly multitask to keep on top of everything. In reality, this is exhausting. We’ve picked eight inspirational TED Talks to help you unwind and get things into perspective.
Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
‘You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour’ (Zen saying). Not all of us can do this, so in a quiet moment watch photographer Louie Schwartzberg’s Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. The second part is a montage of his stunning natural world photography, accompanied by a powerful and moving meditation on gratefulness in the gentle tones of Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. It’s like a ten-minute caress by nature with a gentle reminder to be grateful every day.
Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
Multitaskers often get frazzled because it’s easy to be distracted by social media, click bait, aimless net-surfing, or simply dreaming out of the window. Even the best multitaskers are guilty, ratcheting up stress levels. Tim Urban’s hilarious, engaging TED talk introduces us to the conflicting procrastination entities in our heads: the Rational Decision Maker, the Instant Gratification Monkey and the Panic Monster, and the opposite but equal danger of not having deadlines. You’ll think before procrastinating next time.
Andy Puddicombe All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
In today’s fast-paced, multitasking environment, many of us are so distracted that we’re no longer really present in the world we live in. When was the last time you did absolutely nothing – no talking, no texting, no thinking - for 10 minutes? Andy Puddicombe, a mindfulness expert, describes the transformative power of doing just that. We can’t change everything that happens to us in life, but we can change the way we experience it, through mindfulness meditation.
Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
Do you think if you work harder and become more successful you’ll be happier? In this entertaining TED Talk, psychologist Shawn Achor demonstrates the power of positive psychology. Revealing that we move goalposts for success so often that we can never be happy, Achor suggests we reverse the expected work ethic. Be happy first, success will follow and we’ll work harder and more productively.
Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend
Feeling stressed? Psychologist Kelly McGonigal reveals new research that suggests stress may only be bad for you if you believe it is. If you see it as a positive thing – your body gearing up to be courageous, as it is designed to be – stress can be your friend rather than your enemy. The stress response can also have another, surprisingly social side-effect. You’ll feel a lot less frazzled after this TED talk.
Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep
Sleep is the ultimate battery recharger. Sleep deprivation can have profound consequences on your physical health, putting you at risk of serious medical conditions, and it shortens your life expectancy. So why has it become acceptable, even expected, to ‘work hard, play hard’ and boast about how little sleep you’re getting? In this short but important talk, Arianna Huffington celebrates the power of a good night’s sleep as the route to increased productivity, happiness, and sharper decision-making. Sleep is your friend, although perhaps not at your desk at 3pm.
Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking. Try monotasking
What were the outcomes when you last multitasked? Did everything turn out 100% successful? If so, according to product designer Paolo Cardini, you are a ‘supertasker’ - one of 2% of people who can control a multitasking environment. For the other 98% of us, Paolo advocates ‘monotasking’ – simply doing one thing at a time, not simultaneously walking, texting, photographing, reading and checking apps. His smartphone covers that downgrade your device to just a camera, voice phone or compass help you focus on one task only and switch your digital senses off.
Pico Iyer: The art of stillness
Do you work flat out, counting down the months, weeks and days until your next holiday? Do you believe holidays are the only time you can recharge? Globetrotting travel writer Pico Iyer believes that while travelling can give you great sights, you need to turn these into insights during the rest of the year. How can you do this? By simply taking the time to be still and meditating upon your travels, among other things. By taking a few minutes a day or a few days off to think about what you’ve learned, seen and felt, you can make your holiday experience last all year.