TED Talks: Multitaskers
13th July 2017
After meeting clients, dealing with employees, looking after the admin and generally putting out metaphorical fires left right and centre, running a business can occasionally get too stressful for even the ablest of multitaskers.
Whether it’s gaining advice on how to cope with stress, how to arrange your time more effectively or even how to relax and unwind, there are plenty of TED talks all business leaders can benefit from.
1 – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
In this TED talk, productivity consultant David Allen discusses his time-management method. When you have a million and one things to do on your mind, Allen suggests externalising this by recording whatever task you have to do on something–paper, a task system. By clearing things from your mind, you can actually become more productive.
Allen talks a lot about appropriate engagement with tasks. The more things on your mind at any one time, the less you appropriately engaged you are with each individual task.
Standout quote: “Getting things done is not about getting things done, it’s about being appropriately engaged with what’s going on.”
2 – The art of doing twice as much in half the time – Jeff Sutherland
Jeff Sutherland is an expert in organisational management. In this TED talk, he discusses, via his time in Vietnam, banking, and the army cadets, how he learned the importance of doing each small task correctly.
Speaking in metaphors, Sutherland states that solving every problem is “all about landing the airplane.” For Sutherland, even the biggest of problems and most mountainous tasks can be broken down into small tasks that should demand your attention and be completed properly.
Standout quote: “Plans are worthless, planning is everything.”
3 – Inside the mind of a master procrastinator – Tim Urban
For many of us, the reason we spend half the time multitasking is because we spend the other half procrastinating. Tim Urban explores procrastination in this hilarious TED talk that explores Youtube binges and untimely Wikipedia explorations.
The problem for Urban is not the tasks that have deadlines (as we panic ourselves into doing them, no matter how last minute), but the other tasks that we never get around to starting.
Standout quote: “Long term procrastination can make people feel like a spectator in their own lives. The frustration is not that people weren’t able to achieve their dreams, but that they weren’t even able to start them.”
4 – How to make stress your friend – Kelly McGonigal
In this TED talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal controversially asks us to redefine our relationship with stress, and see it not as a health hazard to be avoided at all costs, but a tool to embrace and work.
McGonigal claims that people die not from stress, but the belief that stress is bad for you. For McGonigal chasing meaning is better than avoiding discomfort. We shouldn’t aim to avoid stress, but learn how to get good at stress.
Standout quote: “When you change your mind about stress, you change your body’s response to stress.”