Become an Expert on Business productivity by Watching These 5 Videos

Productivity Tools

Don’t we all want to become more productive at the office?

I found these five videos to bring out interesting ideas about how we can  improve our business productivity. From better sleep to cancelling meetings and from managing noise to creating happiness, here are some disruptive ideas to help you become an expert on business productivity.


Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

Arianna Huffington is an incredible example of what a successful entrepreneur is. She is not afraid to put the hours in to produce the best work she can deliver. Even so, she learned the hard way that sleep deprivation is dangerous. A few years ago, she got injured passing out on her desk.

In this talk, she is arguing about the benefits of clocking more sleep in front of a roomful of type A women at TEDWomen 2010. What a challenge since nowadays, being sleep deprived is commonly and wrongfully viewed as a sign of virility and productivity.

After discussing the issue with several medical doctors and scientists, she is now stating that we can be more productive, more inspired and living a more joyful life if we get more sleep.


Yves Morieux: As work gets more complex, 6 rules to simplify

Yves Morieux is asking two very important questions:

1. Why is productivity so disappointing in all the companies where I work?

2. Why is there so little engagement at work?

His answer is mesmerizing. He is saying that the two pillars we are basing our management practices on are obsolete. Either the hard approach (structures, processes, systems) or the soft approach (feelings, sentiments, relationships) are working against us. “The real battle is against ourselves, against our bureaucracy, our complicatedness.”

His solution? Two simple rules based on his smart simplicity approach. Simple rule number one: Understand what others do. What is their real work? Yves Morieux says that we need to truly understand what others do in the company and especially the effects what we do can have on other members of our team.  Rule number two: Reenforce integrators. The integrators are the managers who truly want to help others cooperate. To make rules number one and two possible, we need to shatter the barriers to cooperation and trust the intelligence and judgement of the people we are working with.


Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

Shawn Achor is stating that our world views are shaping our reality. He is also saying that we can act on the way we see the world to improve our happiness but also educational and business outcomes.

“…75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

What does happiness have to do with business? When we are raising our positivity level, our brains experience what Shawn Achor calls a happiness advantage. It seems that our brains work better when we are feeling positive as opposed to negative, neutral or stressed. We then become more intelligent, more creative and more energized. That can only be good for business right?

And how do we become happier? The answer resides in random acts of kindness and in consciously feeling grateful for what we have. Shawn Achor is suggesting this exercice from Positive Psychology consisting in writing down three new things that you are grateful for every day for 21 days in a row. Our brains can be trained to become positive and happy and subsequently making us happier and more successful, collectively.


Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried is bringing the baffling idea that our current workplaces actually aren’t helping us get the work done. He is saying that we are having way too many interruptions during our workdays to be efficient. We now have work moments but no workdays.

He is comparing a workday to a night of sleep. Sometimes, we get in bed, we close our eyes and we do the sleeping thing as he says. But in the morning, we’re not feeling refreshed and rested. It’s usually because we couldn’t get to the more resting stages of sleep because we had interruptions: our spouse turning in bed or a sudden noise in the house for example. Same thing with work. To really get creative and innovative, we need longer period of uninterrupted work.

So what is causing interruptions in the workplaces? Jason Fried is calling them the M & M’s: the managers and meetings. From his point of view, managers are constantly interrupting us to enquire about where we’re at. As for meetings, he is saying that “…they’re aren’t work. Meetings are places to go to talk about things you’re supposed to be doing later.”

So what are the solutions? Jason Fried is suggesting three:

1. “no-talk Thursdays”

Pick one Thursday every month and prohibit any verbal communication during just one afternoon. It seems that we could be surprised how much work can be done in just one uninterrupted afternoon.  

2. Passive communication

Jason Fried is suggesting to switch from active communication and collaboration (face-to-face stuff) replace that with more passive models of communication such as emails, instant messaging and collaboration software. This should diminish the number of interruptions. 

3. Cancelling meetings

This is a bold one. Jason Fried is saying we should just try and cancel the next meeting and see how things go. It seems that we could be surprised to find out that the world didn’t stop turning because we had one less meeting. How refreshing? 


Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us

Julian Treasure is reminding us that most of the sound around us is accidental, and much of it is unpleasant such as traffic noise, loud music in a store or constant chatting in the open office.

Sound is affecting us in four major ways:

1. Physiologically

Our hormone secretions, our breathing, our heart rate and our brainwaves are affected, for better or for worst, by sounds around us.

2. Psychologically

Music and natural sounds affect our emotions. Julian Treasure is giving the example or birds singing. We know we can feel safe if birds are signing, but we should probably worry when they stop.

3. Cognitively

Unpleasant noise such as office noise is extremely damaging for productivity. When we are working in an open-plan office, our productivity is greatly reduced. It seems that we are one third as productive in open-plan offices as in quiet rooms. A simple solution: headphones!

4. Behaviourally

Think about how we drive faster when listening to fast-paced and loud music in the car. Another of the speaker’s example is the way we’ll try to physically escape environments with unpleasant noise.

Finally, Julian Treasure is reassuring us saying that “…if you’re listening consciously, you can take control of the sound around you. It’s good for your health. It’s good for your productivity. If we all do that we move to a state that I like to think will be sound living in the world.”


Which video was the more interesting for you? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment thread!



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