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Add Some Slop to Your Day and More Tips for December

Like forcing your focus and reassuring your base.





MARKETINGReassure Your Base

Prices are rising, the economy is cooling, and skittish businesses are competing on price. Instead, protect your best customers by giving them extra attention and rewards, says small-biz consultant Andrea Hill of Hill Management. “Sending a handwritten ‘just glad you’re our customer’ note with a $10 Starbucks card can get you as much in loyalty and word-of-mouth as a $500 boosted ad on Facebook,” she says.

SECURITYDon’t Be Rushed

Our emotions lead us into places we’d often be wise to avoid. It’s a thing conmen know too well, says psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova, author of The Confidence Game. The answer? To pause. “Time is the great antidote to emotion,” she says. “Scammers will rush you; taking space to reflect is your best defense against conmen. The same applies when reading a news headline, or a tweet, which wants you to hurry up and feel something. Don’t be rushed.”


IMPROVEMENTStart the Holidays Right

Good deeds are good for the world, and surprisingly good for the doer. In his book, Give And Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, organizational psychologist Adam Grant introduced the term “5-minute favor.” It is the practice of carving out five minutes of your day to do something that benefits others — call a sick friend, go the extra mile in mentoring a seasonal temp, remember to compliment your neighbor’s storefront — without expecting anything in return. It will put you and your store in the right positive frame of mind for the holidays, which are, of course, about giving and celebrating sacrifice.

MARKETINGPartner with Micro-Influencers

If your holiday season marketing needs a late boost, consider a micro-influencer (fewer than 100k followers) to help get the word out in your local market. According to a recent article in FORBES (, they work fast, can target a niche audience, and are “often considered more reliable by their followers.”


Do you keep 50% of your time unscheduled? If not, you’re probably not leaving enough slack in your day to manage optimally. That’s the view of Dov Frohman, a former VP at Intel, who during his corporate career also found enough time to invent EPROM, a widely used type of computer memory. In his book Leadership The Hard Way, he argues that bosses should ensure they maintain sufficient “slop” in their schedules to allow space for reflection and the assimilation of lessons learned from experience.


MANAGEMENT2023 … Bring It On!

2023 draws closer and with it the tantalizing thought of what you might be able to achieve. The consultants at McKinsey recommend setting an “aspirational goal” and an “acceptable result.” An ambitious goal raises your odds of success. But it also boosts your odds of feeling like a failure. An aspirational target also tells everyone on your team that “we are open to doing things differently,” says the report, which can be found here:

PRODUCTIVITY  Try Forced Focus

Do endless small tasks sink your day? Try embracing them. “Here are the rules: All work must be done in blocks of at least 30 minutes,” writes Cal Newport (, explaining his “forced focus” method. You can switch from important work to emails or minor errands, but you must stick to such “small stuff” for 30 minutes. This forces you to “batch” small tasks, clearing the decks quicker, while disincentivizing getting distracted from the major ones.



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