Chris Bailey on consuming 70 hours of TED Talks

Chris Bailey, curator of A Year of Productivity

Chris Bailey, aka @WiggleChicken
Photo courtesy of

On the first of May 2013, Chris Bailey, a Canadian native and productivity fanatic, embarked on a project: a year-long journey to discovering, learning and sharing as much as he can on productivity. Bailey’s project, A Year of Productivity, @AYOProductivity on Twitter, has seen him do experiments, interviews and share feature-length articles. In a recent experiment, @WiggleChicken (because that’s Chris’ Twitter handle) got to watch/ listen to 70 hours of TED talks in 7 days. @OrnicoMedia had a chat with him on Twitter. This was their conversation:

@OrnicoMedia: Hey @WiggleChicken, great to connect here. This is your first Twitterview sir?

@WiggleChicken: That is it. I’m excited!

OM: So are we. 296 TED talks in 7 days, while holding down… a life all in one mix. How?

WC: Well, I graduated in May and was offered two full-time jobs, both of which I decided to devote a year of my life to A Year of Productivity! But that said, I did have to hold down a life while I watched the TED talks 😉

OM: We suppose doing AYOProductivity will be a test of your own productivity while you learn about productivity

WC: Absolutely! I have some awesome experiments in the works (that’s how I love to experiment around with productivity the most), I love approaching the idea of becoming more productive from all angles

OM: So AYOProductivity will go on until May 2014, will it all be experiments through and through?

WC: I also have some incredible interviews, book reviews, and other articles coming up too!

OM: We’ll be sure to share those with our networks and friends. Which experiments have been hardest to date?

WC: Of the ones I’ve done so far, I think living 10 days in reclusion. I had no social interactions, and no exposure to sunlight for an entire week, which had a huge impact on my energy levels! Using my smartphone for an hour a day (for three months) was taxing as well, but over a longer period of time. And that’s awesome about sharing the experiments, I love getting the word out there about them! 🙂

OM: No sunlight? Oh hell no! The lessons learnt though were quite interesting:

WC: Absolutely! It felt like hell at times, but knowing the experiment would end made it easier for sure!

OM: The experiment where [Chris] used his smartphone for only 60 minutes a day

OM: Interesting are the lessons learnt from the #70HoursTED – all 100 of them:

WC: That was another fun experiment! I watched about 300 TED talks in total, and those are the best 100 nuggets I took away!

OM: You want to share how your typical day was for this mega info consumption? So you woke up, [and] watched TED all day?

WC: That was another fun experiment! I watched about 300 TED talks in total, and those are the best 100 nuggets I took away! Pretty much! I was very systematic with my #70HoursofTED experiment, mostly because I had to be. Every morning I would download a ton of talks that I would watch/listen to over the course of the day, and I made sure to download both audio/video formats of the talks so I could listen and watch all day, regardless of where I was or what I was doing. I was completely immersed.

OM: Given the amount of varied talks you watched, was it hard to focus on just productivity?

WC: Yes and no. I focused on productivity two ways during the experiment: by watching talks about productivity, as well as by experimenting with how things like taking breaks, consuming caffeine, and meditation affected my focus, energy, and information retention! I wanted to design an experiment that was productive itself, where I got as much out of it as I could!

OM: Learning and applying techniques simultaneously. Very Clever. And they said men can’t multitask!

WC: Muhahaha, they were wrong!! By the way, if folks are curious, I wrote up a nice article on the myths of multitasking here:

OM: One of the lessons you learnt is the emergence, and growth of the TRIBES phenomenon through watching Godin

WC: Yes! I love the idea of ‘tribes’, those groups of people who gather around common goals, ideas, and values.

OM: Indeed. We work with TEDxSoweto in Gauteng, RSA and we are excited at the prospect of working with the TED tribe

WC: You should be!! 🙂 That’s awesome.

OM: What characteristics of ‘tribes’ did you pick up from #70HoursOfTED?

WC: Quite a few! Something that stuck with me is how tribes can be such a strong source of inspiration and motivation. And most impressive (I think) is how powerful they are in inspiring social change, with TED being a great example of that.

OM: Absolutely. So it is right to say that tribes are linked to innovation on both a global and a local scale?

WC: I think so. It’s hard to innovate without feeling connected, and I can’t think of a better way to feel connected than a tribe.

OM: Well said. So what next in AYOProductivity? Following experiments? Will you collate the project into a book?

WC: Right now I’m playing around with how clothes affect your motivation, energy, and focus for another productivity experiment! That’s why I’m looking all dapper and snazzy right now! [Twitpic of Chris] I’m definitely always looking a few steps ahead, and a book is something I’m really considering! 🙂

OM: Absolutely! We posit that you’ll be more productive when snazzy (like that), than when shabby!

WC: We’ll see! What I’m finding is it depends what task you’re doing – for example, it’s much harder to write with a suit on! I’m just a few days into this experiment though, so we’ll see how it goes

OM: That sounds interesting. We’ll be paying attention, rooting for you! And that book better be coming too

WC: That’s awesome, I’m excited to have you along for the ride! It should be a ton of fun

OM: We’re excited about the road ahead with AYOProductivity. Good luck and like we said, we are on #TeamChris!

WC: I’m excited too – thanks a lot! This was a lot of fun, thank you for having me!

The Twitterview with Chris can be accessed on Tagboard or from OrnicoMedia’s tweet stream