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Make Your Emails Super Confidential and More Tips for November

Like how to overcome procrastination, run better meetings, and remain clearheaded come holiday party time.

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TIME MANAGEMENTCry Freedom

Humans’ innate desire to break the shackles of coercion makes for a great movie story line. In life, it tends to express itself as procrastination. Make a list of things that need to be done, and your first impulse is to rebel against this imposition of order. Time management expert Mark Forster suggests writing a to-do list over several pages of a notebook, then cycle through the pages, doing what “stands out” … but you must do at least one thing per page. The result is creative tension between your rational and intuitive sides. If you were to act on impulse, unappetizing tasks go undone. But his closed lists balance the two.

FINANCESOnly These 3 Numbers Matter

If you’re prone to overthinking spending decisions, apply this rule of thumb: The only three digits of your net worth that matter are the left three, so if you have $3,649,855 — the $9,855 doesn’t move the needle. Which means you can spend anything to the right (i.e. up to $9,999) without thinking too much. Of course, this is a general conceptual rule — spend $10K on dinner every night for a few months and soon those three digits to the left will be two. The bigger point, says Khe Hy, a former Wall Street banker who now runs a productivity startup, is that where your attention goes your energy goes. It helps to be aware when you’re sweating the small stuff.

PRODUCTIVITYSpeed Read

Consume content at 1.5X speed. “Studies show that retention rate doesn’t start to drop until around 2X speed,” says productivity blogger Colby Kultgen. “It takes about five minutes to get used to and then you’ll never want to go back,” This doesn’t apply just to reading. In fact it’s probably best for listening to podcasts and audiobooks — you’ll get through a lot more useful, inspiring or just fun material.

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COMMUNICATIONSSecure Your Email

It’s hard to overestimate the impact of email, but so much of its power goes under-utilized, because, simply put, no one tells us! Here’s one for Gmail you should know: Confidential Mode for sensitive emails. It allows you to set a message expiration date, revoke message access at any time and require a verification code (sent by text), to open a message. Got a message you don’t want shared? Simply locate the “padlock” icon at the bottom of your message (usually it’s near the blue “Send” button), choose your options and you’re set to go.

HOLIDAY PLANNINGDesignate Yourself

It’s party season, which means it’s networking season. And a good way to take full advantage of the opportunities to mingle, mix and meet potential customers is to volunteer to be the designated driver for your social circle. That removes a huge headache for partygoers and ensures you’ll get invited to many events, says networking guru Keith Ferrazzi, co-author of Never Eat Alone.

MANAGEMENT Run 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 INC contributor Marcel Schwantes, this sets the agenda, gets brains focused on what is to be discussed and “creates a sort of ‘team’ feeling among co-workers that allows you to get to critical thinking faster.”

MARKETINGTreat, No Trick

Need a cool prize to offer as part of a Halloween promotion? How about a weekend getaway to a haunted bed and breakfast?
Bnbfinder.com offers gift certificates for guesthouses where the beds shake, lights flicker and creaking doors slam shut in the middle of the night.

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