Probably a week doesn’t pass when most of us don’t wish we were better at saying, no; no to a request for a discount, no to a 24-hour repair turnaround; no to a plea to help out on the school fundraising committee. Sure, it feels good to say yes, but soon enough we are paying the price financially or as other important activities are compromised. Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist blog, suggests a good way to deal with this is to try to feel instantly and viscerally the pain of having to keep your promise. Ask yourself, If I had to do this today, would I agree to it? “The insight here is that every time we say ‘yes’ to a request, we are also saying ‘no’ to anything else we might accomplish with the time. It pays to take a moment to think about what those things might be,” says Harford, who often includes his wife as a BCC on “sorry but no” notes. “The awkward email to the stranger is also a tiny little love letter to her,” he says.

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 edition of INSTORE.

Splash Out on Your Threads

Buy expensive clothing. That’s the approach of Marc Bain at The Atlantic, who explains that purchasing high-quality clothing forces him to truly consider each outlay: “It’s an investment, rather than the cheap buzz of getting something new,” he says. For a jeweler, image is important. Consider this permission to drop some serious cash on new threads.


Stop Putting Off Sleep

It may sound odd, but a reason some people don’t hit the sack earlier is because they procrastinate on the final effort to get ready for sleep: brushing teeth, taking out contacts, setting the alarm and so on. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, urges you do these things before you start to feel sleepy. The more prep you do, the easier it is to crash when sleep calls.


The value of fiction

Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity or feel the need for closure? It’s a common but potentially problematic condition as it can lead to snap judgments and rigid thinking. Research by a University of Toronto team of psychologists suggests an easy antidote: Read more literary fiction, which leads to ruminating “but not decision making.”


Bad Review? Blame the Wet

A 2014 study of over 1 million online reviews of 840,000 restaurants turned up an interesting finding: Diners gave worse ratings when it was raining. “The best reviews are written on sunny days between 70 and 100 degrees ... a nice day can lead to a nice review. A rainy day can mean a miserable one,” researcher Saeideh Bakhshi told the Washington Post. The obvious takeaway: Move your store to Hawaii. Failing that, best to ask for reviews on nice days.


Like Family

Where’s the first place a prospective customer gets a feel for your store’s culture? The parking lot. Here’s a sign we spotted recently that extends a warm, “we are a relaxed store” welcome.


Sweet as Pie

A customer once asked Tyson Homec what was the difference between his jewelry store and the nearby Costco. The answer: his wife’s baking. She personally delivers one of her coconut cakes to every customer who makes a “nice purchase.” Jewelry buyers in the resort community of La Quinta, CA, also know they can drop by just about any time for a slice of her renowned lemon pie. “And, nine out of 10 end up buying something,” Homec says. “It’s all about the experience!”


Attention!

The most valuable resource you have as a manager is your attention, notes Jack Welch in his latest book on business leadership, The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game. “Invest it in top people and those with the potential to join their ranks. Underperformers need to move on — sooner rather than later.”


Remove the Emotion

Asked what advice she had for entrepreneurs just starting out, Kathleen King, owner of the fast-growing Tate’s Bake Shop cookie company, singled out removing emotion from your choices. “When we start a business, it’s like raising a child. You start from nothing, you put everything into it, and you watch it grow. But it’s not a child. When you take the emotion out of decision-making, everything is clear. Your business will grow, and everybody will be better for it,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s why, any time there’s drama-rama going on, I step back and say, ‘I bake cookies.’”


Switch Off

We know most jewelers love their jobs, but it’s simply unhealthy to be “on” all the time. This is something Google has sought to address as well. To try to inject a little more balance in its workers’ lives it ran a program at its Irish unit called “Dublin Goes Dark,” which asked employees to drop off their cellphones at the front desk before going home. The Googlers reported blissful, stress-free evenings as a result. Could you go dark too?

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