No matter what you call the perpetual challenge of work-life balance (having it all, work-life integration, save-me-now-please), you often have to sacrifice something to make it all work. Much of the time, making it work comes down to your priorities and productivity. If you need inspiration, motivation, or a new way of thinking, these five TED Talks cover it all. Watch, learn, and leave feeling like a master of your time.

1. “Work-Life Balance: Balancing Time or Balancing Identity?” by Michelle Ryan

Have you ever wondered why work-life balance is always geared toward women instead of men? Ryan, a Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, has researched this topic extensively to uncover if women really do just have an innate sense to seek out work-life balance, or if there is something more complex going on. Be prepared for another look into the differences between men and women when it comes to work and ambition.

2. “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work” by Nigel Marsh

As an author and marketer (he’s the man behind Fit, Fifty and Fired-Up and Fat, Forty and Fired), Marsh believes that it’s up to you to balance your own life, not your employer. “If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance,” he says. But the important thing he stresses is that you only need to take small steps to see a big change.

3. “The Happy Secret to Better” by Shawn Achor

This TED Talk has nearly 10 million views, so it’s clear Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, is on to something with his happiness theories. In our culture, happiness is equated with success. Success leads to happiness, right? Anchor says wrong. Instead, he says it’s all about your outlook on happiness and success, so be prepared to end this talk with a more positive one than when you started.

4. “Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work” by Jason Fried

This biggest question that Fried, co-founder of Basecamp, poses is: Why does it seem like the best place to get work done isn’t actually in the office? When you ask people where they go to be productive, responses are typically a coffee shop, kitchen table, or even a front porch—it’s never their desk as work. So why is this the case? Watch the video to hear Fried’s two main perpetrators.

5. “Can We ‘Have it All’?” by Anne-Marie Slaughter

Back in 2012, Slaughter, a public policy expert, came out with a controversial theory that women can’t have it all—not because of ability, but because of gender bias that still exists. In her TED Talk two years later on the same topic, Slaughter discussed how changes in work culture and social norms could lead toward equality for all, but both women and men have to be committed. Get ready to be challenged and informed at the same time.

Want more? Try these strategies to manage an “always” on workplace, and check out these 10 strategies to achieve work / life balance.


Sign Up for Our Newsletter

  • By joining our mailing list you agree to our privacy policy.

Photo: Youtube / TED