5 TED Talks to help make 2020 your most productive year yet

5 TED Talks to help make 2020 your most productive year yet

A new year is as good a time as any for setting goals. If you’re in need of a little motivational nudge, delve into one of everywoman’s favourite TED talks, and execute these expert tips to power up your 2020 plans.


1. Laura Vanderkam: How to gain control of your free time

You have got more free time than you realise. That’s the theme of this motivating talk by a time-management expert. Her central premise:  we’ve full control over our use of time. No time to dust your blinds? What if someone paid you $100,000 to do it in the next five minutes? It’s all about priorities. ‘Time travel’ is the key to knowing what they are: Imagine yourself in next year’s performance review: what achievements do you want your boss to be highlighting? That’s your 2020 goal list right there.


2Nicaila Matthews Okome: This is the side hustle revolution

You’ve probably heard of portfolio careers; how they’re the future of work? Previous generations sought security in ‘jobs for life’ but today’s workforce is characterised by what this speaker defines as ‘multipassion’: ‘I can't think of anyone who just has one interest in life, and that's all they want to do for the rest of their life.’ Want to be your own boss, determined to make a difference in your local community, looking to climb the corporate career ladder? In today’s working world, there’s no need to choose one option. If you want to make space for multiple concurrent careers, this talk might just be the motivation you need.


3. Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

As a radio host, Headlee has interviewed Nobel Prize winners, dustbin men, and a politician or two between. Key to her success is her ability to hold a decent conversation, and, contrary to popular opinion, that doesn’t necessarily mean being a brilliant orator. In this funny talk, she discusses the golden rules she swears by for holding conversations with real value. Even if you only master one, she promises you’ll be amazed by the difference in the quality of your relationships.


4Michael Kimmel: Why gender equality is good for everyone – men included

‘I’m here to recruit men to support gender equality.’ Probably not the opener you’d expect to arouse cheers, laughter and applause, but Kimmel makes such a brilliantly simple case for why every man should be a male ally for women in the workplace that you can’t fail to be inspired by this rousing talk. It’ll force you to check your privilege and ask yourself if you’re doing enough to make a difference. If the answer is no, start by sharing this talk with every man and woman you work with, inviting them to do the same.


5. Margaret Heffernan: Forget the pecking order at work

If you’re uncomfortable with the idea that life is a competition – that success in business is about suppressing and/or surpassing another – then this talk will be music to your ears. ‘We’ve run most organisations and some societies along the model that success is achieved by picking the brightest superstars and giving them all the resources and power,’ says the speaker. ‘And the result...aggression, dysfunction and waste.’ The Swedes, we learn in this talk, have banned coffee cups at desks because organisations recognise the value in people chatting in the kitchen. The result is something called social capital, and if you’re a team leader or part of a team, you’ll want to know how you can get more of it.