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Tip Sheet

Why You Shouldn’t Say ‘Yes’ Too Quickly, and Other Tips for the New Year

Including the best way to brainstorm… without planning to brainstorm.





SECURITYBeware Six-Finger Discounts

This is a little out there but points to where the future of crime might be headed: Be suspicious of browsers with an extra prosthetic finger. According to a post on X (Twitter), it may be a shoplifter looking to mess with videotape evidence, as an image showing six fingers could be claimed to have been digitally enhanced and would therefore be inadmissible in court.

MARKETINGBusinessperson Bump

Don’t underestimate the post-December selling season, notes Robert Borneman, owner of Diamond Jewelers in Centereach, NY. “There are lots of opportunities for people who shop this time of year. Many businesspeople drop big bucks after their busy season when they finally have time to shop.” Get on the phone!

STRATEGYBrainstorm Naturally

It’s a new year, time to come up with some big ideas. The key is not to force yourself, says OpenAI boss Sam Altman in his playbook for founders. Instead, he recommends getting into the habit of noticing problems (faced by your customers) and following what interests you. “At some point, ideas will naturally emerge,” he says, adding that you should be aim for simplicity in your ventures. “Complex ideas are almost always a sign of a made-up problem.”


TIME MANAGEMENTDon’t Say “Yes” Quickly

Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, has a rule where he never says yes to anything immediately. According to the Brain Food Newsletter, people-pleasing had him making too many commitments, so now he says something to the effect of: “Thanks for the invite. I don’t say yes to anything on the spot, but I’ll let you know if I’m interested.” Turning the choice into a rule lowers the pain of rejection for others and makes the decision easy for you as well.

HEALTHGo Out in the Cold

To be sure, there’s nothing quite as nice as that first spring morning to inspire you to get and enjoy the glory of the outdoors — or even just a walk around the block. But, according to recent studies, there are benefits to be had from heading outdoors even when it’s not so balmy. A brisk walk in the cold, it turns out, is akin to taking a bracing cold shower that raises alertness and stimulates thinking, according to INC magazine.

PLANNINGPay Now, Enjoy Later

To get the most out of yourself in 2024, you need breaks. And to get the most out of your breaks, book them way in advance, like right now! You’ll enjoy it more because of the distance between the pain of paying and the actual experience of the holiday, and you won’t spend all your time thinking, “Am I getting my money’s worth?” Make it all-inclusive, and it will just be a great, relaxing break, says behavioral economist Dan Ariely in his latest book, DOLLARS AND SENSE.


INVENTORYParty Like It’s 2024

“Physical inventory” and “party” are two words that don’t always go together. But they do at Purrrfect Bark, a pet shop in Columbus, NC. Owner Laura Backus told our sister magazine PETS+: “We do physical inventory on January 1st with lots of food and drinks, music and laughs. Everyone participates, and we get it knocked out in a day.”

OPERATIONSRun Better Meetings

One of the best ways to improve meetings is to get everyone on the same page, literally. Before your scheduled get-together, write up a Google Doc (or even an email will do) for participants to read. According to syndicated columnist Marcel Schwantes, this sets the agenda, gets brains thinking about what is to be discussed and “creates a sort of ‘team’ feeling among co-workers that allows you to get to critical thinking faster.“

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