The Best Books and TED Talks About Productivity

By FocusMe Team on 03 February 2020

Identifying the right productivity and motivation approach that will work for your team isn’t always an easy task. Dynamics inside the company change over time and the methodology that delivered excellent results some time ago is not necessarily going to yield the same result this time around.

Learning from the experience of others and finding motivation in their work can really help you fine-tune your strategy.

The good news is that you can easily find sources of inspiration online.

There are so many TED talks and books about productivity, team engagement and dynamics. Today, we will take a look at some of the top works you need to get through as a team manager or an HR department employee.

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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

According to many reviewers, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is the number one book on the topic.

While the book was released back in 2002, the author recently gave it a more contemporary update to address today’s realities.

Allen bases his entire work on a simple but very important premise – the productivity of every single individual out there is directly proportional to their ability to relax. Based on this premise, Allen designed a productivity framework every individual out there could customize to address their specific needs.

The only downside to Allen’s work is that making the change happen necessitates a lot of discipline. While some people do swear by his system, others find it a bit difficult to follow.

The Happy Secret to Better Work

The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor is a short TED speech that’s a little over 12-minute long. It is considered one of the best presentations about productivity for several reasons.

According to Achor, one very simple thing is the foundation of consistent productivity – happiness.

For many people, work happens the other way around – productivity makes them happy. We are often told that we need to work harder in order to be happy. Achor makes a solid argument about the faultiness of this premise. His TED talk is a must-watch if you want to get more done and feel good about the process.

The 4-Hour Workweek

Here’s another great book about productivity that takes a somewhat different approach to the issue.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss introduces a new concept that doesn’t involve spending lengthy hours in the office every single day. In fact, it teaches how to get a lot more done in a limited amount of time.

The book is based on the author’s actual experience. He went from the standard 9 to 5 office dynamic to working four hours per week and earning more money.

This is more of a book for those who are interested in becoming their own boss, starting a business or enjoying telecommuting opportunities. A book like this one will probably appeal the most to a millennial audience and to those who want some flexibility.

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Anyone who deals with productivity enhancement knows that stress isn’t anyone’s friend when it comes to getting a job done.

A TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, however, argues that stress could be beneficial in the realm of being productive and engaged.

How to Make Stress Your Friend discusses the fact that we’re all exposed to stress and that it has been declared a public health enemy. McGonigal is a psychologist who argues that stress can be a positive thing and introduces a new perspective to the discussion.

She also talks about the best ways to overcome stress. In her opinion, reaching out to others is the best and the most effective mechanism we should all start employing today.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is another classic in the realm of productivity. There are several reasons why a book that was first published in 1989 has remained so popular till present day.

Covey is a renowned leadership mentor and organization consultant. Till present, his book about productivity has sold over 25 million copies across the globe and the numbers continue to climb. Because of his accomplishments, Covey was included among the 25 most influential Americans of Time magazine.

The book is not a system of getting things done. Rather, it speaks of work and lifestyle changes that can be internalized for better outcomes in just about every area of life. This book has been read and reviewed by actual managers and CEOs who swear by its effectiveness.

The Effective Executive

Another book on our list, The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker is a business essential.

The book was written by an experienced management consultant who mostly talks about prioritizing. You will learn how to get rid of the things that stand in your way, how to streamline daily activities and eliminate the habits that are keeping you from realizing your full potential.

While the above paragraph may sound too much like an ad, the book has a ton of positive reviews that stand as evidence of its effectiveness.

Peter F. Drucker, who passed away in 2005, is still considered one of the top thinkers and intellectuals of his time. Over the course of his life, Drucker wrote more than 25 books. His first work came into existence back in 1939 and his concepts have had a profound impact on the way in which a modern corporation is run. Thus, The Effective Executive is a must-read for every manager and entrepreneur.

These are just some of the great works that will expose you to new ideas about productivity. If you dig a little bit deeper, you will definitely discover books and speeches that can answer the very specific questions you have. If you go to the TED talk website, you can do a thorough search on the topic of productivity and acquaint yourself with many of the bright minds that have presented their specific visions to the world.

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