It’s hard not to get bogged down with work.

But if you’re a busy CMO or a director of marketing, it’s important to make time for activities that will help you be better at your job.

Take a few minutes out of your schedule to get inspired with these TED Talks—and to view work from another perspective.

1: Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

Shawn Achor is funny—laugh-out-loud funny—and a great storyteller to boot. More importantly, for our purposes, he has a message worth hearing.

Achor’s TEDx Talk is about positive psychology. He tells us that the way we look at the world can improve not just our sense of well-being but also our performance.

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

Powerful stuff.

2: Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

According to Sivers (and some humorous footage he uses to make his point), it would be ineffective if we were all leaders. If you really want to start a movement, then you need the courage to follow and show others how to follow. After all, “it’s the first follower that transforms the lone nut into a leader,” he says.

3: Amy Lockwood: Selling condoms in the Congo

Amy Lockwood is a former marketer who now works in international development. Her TED Talk includes a sobering message about HIV in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a whopping 930,000 people are infected.

Although donor agencies provide condoms to the DRC at low or no cost, only 3% of adults actually use them.

The problem?

It seems the agencies missed the mark when it comes to condom marketing. Instead of thinking about the end user, they focused on the agencies that support their work—politicians, donors and clinicians.

“If what we’re really trying to do is stop the spread of HIV, we need to think about the customer, the people whose behaviour needs to change . . . and whose lives depend on it,” she advises.

It’s a useful message for marketers everywhere.

4: Stefan Sagmeister: The power of down time

Sagmeister runs a design studio in New York City. Every 7 years, he closes up shop for a 12-month sabbatical to rejuvenate himself . . . and returns refreshed and ready to do better work.

Bali, here I come!

5: Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found

No one likes to stumble across a 404 error on the web. It makes you feel like you fell through the cracks—almost like you’ve received a slap in the face.

Gleeson runs through some creative approaches to displaying the 404 error that serve to take away the sting. In essence, he demonstrates that “little things, done right, matter (and) well designed moments build brands.”

6: Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Cain delivers one of my favourite TED Talks ever. She is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking, where she argues that our society undervalues introverts . . . and shows us how much we lose by doing so.

If you don’t have time to read the book, check out her TED Talk—it’s almost as good.

7: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

In her TED Talk, Cuddy shares a powerful method for boosting your confidence just before an important presentation, job interview or business meeting. Prior to the event, take 2 minutes to “power pose”—that is, to make yourself physically bigger.

According to her research, the act of “faking” body postures actually changes your hormone levels. A 2-minute power pose creates an average 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol, a stress hormone.

Take a time out

It’s important to take time to think about life and what you’re up to at work. And the beauty of TED is the talks take no more than 18 minutes to watch, and many are shorter.

I believe you’ll find these 7 talks to be both stimulating and thought provoking—qualities that are far more the rule than the exception among TED Talks in general.

Why not set aside some time every week to see who’s talking at TED? There’s something for everyone. While TED originally began as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, it’s now branched out to include music, dancing and art.

Find TED here.