Our Top 4 YouTube Productivity Channels for 2018

Stop Wasting Your Time: Our Top 4 YouTube Productivity Channels for 2018  

If you are looking for a complete list of the best advice to become more productive, you can stop searching and entirely dedicate yourself to this article. Here we not only put together our top 4 YouTube productivity channels abut we also offer our personal insights into several great videos of each channel. Prepare yourself for an overflow of great practices on how to become more productive.

Channel #1 – Practical Psychology

I know. The name doesn’t make it sound like a productivity channel, but just a few minutes into their video archive will make you realize that Practical Psychology has a ton of great insights into how to be more productive and more successful. Here are our 2 highlights from the channel.

4 Best Things To Do in your Free Time

The idea that we don’t have any free time is very far from the truth. The proof of it is that we are consistently wasting huge chunks of time when we turn on the TV, watch a movie on Netflix, or spend hours in the evening playing the most recent games in our console.

If you want to be more productive, you must identify such wastes and work to substitute the bad habits for good ones. The video gives you four ways to invest your time in activities that will bring not only short-term but also long lasting rewards.

The first one is exercising. If we don’t have a high supply of energy to tackle demanding tasks such as developing a new skill, our body will drift to less demanding activities like sitting on the couch and brainlessly watching a movie. There are plenty of studies showing that exercise is one of the best ways to fight this unreasonable fatigue and increase your energy levels.

The second best thing is reading. Reading is not only pleasant and relaxing but it also increases your knowledge about a variety of topics which will make you stand out among a huge share of the population.

The third habit of being more productive is meditating. I’ve started meditation myself a couple of months ago, and the developments are simply amazing. Your mental energy and skill will shoot through the roof, and you will notice an instant increase in your happiness levels.

Finally, the fourth best thing to do with your time is finding and working on a passion. Everyone has a hobby that can be considered a passion, and by following the three previous tips you will develop the knowledge and the energy to work on what really makes you happy.

8 Tips to Stick to Your Habits

I personally love this video because it is relevant for pretty much everything we decide to achieve. We make new resolutions every single day: skills we need to develop, habits we want to form, tasks we need to cross off our to-do list. Sticking to them, however, is a much more complicated process. We must think them through if we want to achieve successful outcomes. Here are eight tips that the video explains in more details:

    • Set realistic goals. Consider your current and your desired state, and set realistic goals for yourself. If you want to take an online course that normally would require four weeks to be completed, setting a one-week deadline is not very realistic!
    • Be specific about what you want to achieve. “Develop a new computer skill” is just too vague. Which skill do you specifically want to develop? How much time per day will you dedicate? By which date do you want to achieve it?

 

  • Plan your days and create a detailed schedule for the goals you want to achieve. Set dates on your calendar and stick to them.
  • Take small steps and progress over time. Bruce Lee once said: “Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.”
  • Include your plans in your schedule to make your goals a part of your day and to avoid overburden and exhaustion.
  • Keep track of your daily progress. A detailed tracker will show you how much progress you are making and how much better you are when compared to your initial situation. This is a great motivation tool and will help you stick to your resolution.
  • Share your goals with other people and ask them to hold you accountable for your goals. This way it will become much easier for you to accomplish your goals.
  • Use positive encouragement as a way of overcoming failures and small drawbacks in the execution of your plan.

Channel #2 – Evan Carmichael

This channel is not about quick videos that will instantly boost your motivation but do nothing more for the long-term rather than being just emotional babbling. Evan Carmichael presents longer videos with a personal touch to the lessons we should learn from great leaders and speakers. Sometimes his videos are a bit too long, but I guarantee there are precious lessons about productivity and personal development that we all can learn and take with us throughout our life. Here is one of the favourite videos from the channel.

Simon Sinek’s Top 10 Rules For Success

Simon Sinek is an all-time favorite for whoever is interested in personal development and finding your passion in life. His talks might sometimes become overrated and repetitive, but I always find his ideas valuable and refreshing. This video brings 10 lessons Simon Sinek has talked about that will boost your productivity and the quality of all your activities.

While we will not discuss each one in detail, let us present our favorites. First of all, train your mind. This is all about training your body and mind to interpret sensations in a different way. Instead of saying you are nervous, you can train your mind to interpret the physical sensations as a sign of excitement. As Simon explains, these sensations are very similar, and the difference is in how we label them. Are we using negative labels such as anxiety to our sensations? Or are we using their positive counterparts (in this case, excitement)? This plays a huge role in defining how productive and motivated you will be!

The second lesson we consider essential is outdo yourself. As Simon says, “Finite players play to beat the ones around them; infinite players play to beat themselves.” If you want to really be successful, you must stop trying to focus your efforts solely on being at the top. You must look inside and ask yourself how to become a better version of yourself day after day. This is the only way to become truly satisfied with your performance and outcome.

Channel #3 – Improvement Pill

The name says it all: this channel offers small bites of interesting content for you who wants to improve your skills. There is a wide variety of topics, as well as a structured course (which presents several relevant scientific studies to back up the claims of the videos) for you to follow along and teach yourself to be more productive. Here are 2 great videos from the channel.

How To Recharge Your Willpower

Everyone talks about willpower as if it were some unknown, limited amount of energy we have at our disposal and that we must manage to do all our tasks during the day. This, however, is a misunderstanding. Think of willpower as a brain muscle. We all know it is possible to develop our body muscles to become stronger and lift heavier weights, so why should it be different with our brain muscle? By properly preparing ourselves for our routine and by consistently exercising our brains, we can increase the amount of mental energy available to us and drastically change our productivity levels.

The video brings the conclusion of an academic study done in a court environment about which factors can quickly recharge your willpower. Here are the findings:

  1. Eat properly. As our body needs fuel, so does our brain. By eating the right type of food, you provide a sufficient amount of energy throughout an extended period of time for your brain to function properly.
  2. Switch your brain mode. When we actively use our brains, we are in a state known as thinking mode. This state consumes a considerable amount of mental energy, and just a few hours in it are already enough to make us feel exhausted. To recover, we must switch our brains to what is known as standby mode, where we stop thinking hard and allow our minds to wander without doing any effort.

How To Properly Build Your Habit

Advertised as the most important part of the course offered by the channel, this video talks about how to build good habits. The entire content is based on the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and it focuses on how to substitute unproductive routines by some other productive alternative.

The key? To switch from a bad habit into a good one while keeping the trigger and the reward for that habit intact. For example: consider the trigger “eating lunch” and the reward “relaxing”. While most people go from the trigger to the reward by using a “sweet dessert” habit, other healthier possibilities would include “reading”, “walking outside”, or even “talking to your friends at the cafeteria”. The trigger and the reward are the same, but the new habits are much more productive and effective than the old one.

Channel #4 – TED

Originally standing for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, TED talks have spread throughout the world and now cover a much wider range of topics. We decided to include this channel here not only because of the videos but also because it offers you a vast selection of playlists, as well as a lot of content on productivity and self-development. While browsing through individual videos might consume slightly too much time until you find interesting talks about productivity, scanning their set of playlists will yield better results much faster. In any case, here are three mandatory videos (masterpieces, really) for you who want to become a master of productivity.

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator


Tim Urban is the owner and author of the blog WaitButWhy, and in his TED presentation he talks about one of the biggest enemies of healthy productivity: procrastination. Notice that we said healthy productivity. While it is still possible to deliver work by insanely increasing your commitment when you are close to a deadline, you will most likely not be able to keep a healthy lifestyle when doing so.

Tim elaborates his talk around the concept of the battle between choosing instant gratification and making decisions rationally. Procrastinators have difficulties with balancing both and they usually end up favoring instant gratification. When you are working on a project with a deadline, the consequences of procrastination are somehow limited. Its most perverse effects, however, appear when there are no deadlines involved: starting a personal project, exercising, dedicating time to family and friends.

While rational procrastination might be good to increase productivity because it helps you organize your priorities, we must be aware of how much freedom we are giving to our “instant gratification monkey”. If increasing your productivity is an immediate priority, you must start working on identifying the situations that usually trigger your instant gratification mindset and substituting your routines by more productive habits. Remember Video #5?

Video #7 – The Happy Secret to Better Work

It is not by chance that Shawn Achor is listed on the list of the most popular TED talks of all time (same for Simon Sinek, mentioned earlier). His talk is a tested recipe for success and happiness. The discussion is about how easy our brains shift from a positive perspective to a negative interpretation of the reality around us. According to Shawn:

“[It’s] not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lenses through which our brain views the world that shapes our reality. And if we can change the lenses not only we can change our happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

It is not only our external world that affects our happiness. In fact, exterior factors are a very weak predictor of happiness levels: they account for only 10% of our long-term happiness. The remaining 90% are inside factors, mainly the way our brain interprets reality. Shawn also mentions several studies that demonstrate that 75% of job successes depend on optimism levels, social support and a positive interpretation of stress.

In this invaluable talk, Shawn Achor shows us, through the lenses of science, that our brains perform significantly better in a positive environment than in a neutral or stressed situation. The recipe could not be simpler. Instead of assuming the mainstream notion of “hard work precedes success, and success precedes happiness”, we must turn the formula around and start with happiness. By perceiving the world and the reality around you in a positive way, we will naturally become more successful and drastically more productive.

How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

Laura Vanderkam discusses the relationship between priorities and time management. Increasing productivity means setting priorities, and setting priorities will automatically create more time and make you more productivity.

It is a circular process that is based on what the presenter calls the high elasticity of time. In simple terms, it means that time stretches itself if and when necessary to accommodate a larger number of priorities. Think, for example, about an extremely busy person who arrives home from work to find his or her house flooded because of an old pipe that broke. While the person might have argued in the past that there was no time to call a plumber and fix the issue, now that the pipe is broken, time will have to be found among his or her many tasks. What changed? Nothing apart from the issue becoming a priority.

If we want to be more productive, we must structure our lives around the same concept. Instead of filling our days with unimportant tasks (watching TV, deleting emails, attending to unimportant meetings, among others), we must build our schedule around what we consider priorities. In the words of Laura:

“We don’t build the lives we want by saving time; we build the lives we want, and then time saves itself.”

A Remark on Motivational Videos

We want to close this article with a small discussion around motivational videos and YouTube productivity channels. While some might be useful and most of them are certainly inspiring, watch these videos with a certain degree of skepticism. Why do we say that?

Motivation is great to start practicing new habits or developing new skills, but it will take you only so far. Motivation is not a long-term phenomenon: it is a short-term burst of energy that will help you overcome your initial inertia. Once that energy is over, you will be left with almost nothing but the natural willingness to return to your old self. How many of us have started going to the gym, reading a book, or taking an online course just to stop them one or two months later? Where did that initial motivation go? Well, nowhere. It just ended, as it always does.

So what is the right solution? What we provided here. Videos that will make you think about your own routine, establish your priorities and aspirations, and rationally plan your days to achieve them. It is only by deeply understanding the importance of what you want to achieve that you can set your mind for long-term motivation. Detail which habits you want to change and the necessary steps for you to achieve your dreams, and plan them into your days. And then, stick to your planning to start enjoying the great benefits of your discipline!

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