TIME Markets

U.S. Business Group Tells China to Open Insurance and Securities Markets

China Financial Markets
Ng Han Guan—AP A Chinese investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage in Beijing on Aug. 27, 2015

Foreign service businesses are "pessimistic about the regulatory environment"

(BEIJING) — An American business group urged China on Friday to allow more access to its insurance and other service industries, saying foreign skills could help develop its volatile stock markets and cope with disasters like the recent chemical explosion in Tianjin.

Opening largely closed banking, logistics and other markets wider to foreign competitors would support the communist leadership’s effort to nurture service industries and reduce reliance on trade and investment to drive economic growth, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said.

The group’s deputy chairman, Lester Ross, pointed to China’s stock market plunge and the Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin that killed at least 145 people, and said bringing in more global expertise could help to develop financial markets and reduce the impact of disasters.

“Our hope, frankly, is that the downturn in the market will encourage the Chinese government to open faster,” Ross said at a news conference.

In a report, the chamber also cited potential opportunities in fields including engineering, health care, communications technology, legal services, real estate, entertainment, online commerce and logistics.

The report is part of an annual series but its release comes at a time when stock market turmoil and unexpectedly weak export and manufacturing data have fueled concerns about the health of China’s economy. That has prompted urging from economists for Beijing to move faster on promised reforms aimed at making the economy more productive by opening state-dominated industries to private and foreign competition.

Despite promises of reform, foreign service businesses are “pessimistic about the regulatory environment,” said the chamber chairman, James Zimmerman.

Ross said China’s insurance industry, with a history of just 35 years, lacks the experience of foreign insurers at spotting potential risks and encouraging policyholders to reduce them.

“The more of that China has, the less likely it would be that it’s going to have casualties and disasters like those we have recently seen,” he said.

Zimmerman said Beijing should take action on its own without waiting to complete talks underway with Washington on proposed bilateral investment treaties that are expected to lead to further market opening.

“For the Chinese economy’s own good, they need to move faster,” said Zimmerman.

The chamber also expressed concern about the impact of proposed Chinese anti-terrorism and cybersecurity laws that companies worry could restrict market access for a wide array of foreign communications, computer and other technology.

The number of telecommunications services open to foreign investment is “very, very limited,” and the government’s “exaggerated concern about security” could reduce access further, Ross said.

TIME Markets

Asian Stocks Rise After U.S. Data Calms Investors

<> on August 27, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 27, 2015

Regional markets took their lead from Wall Street

(HONG KONG) — Asian stocks rose Friday as upbeat U.S. economic data lifted investors’ spirits following days of stomach-churning turbulence sparked by a heavy sell-off in China.

Japan led regional gains, but Shanghai shares were not far behind as markets took their lead from Wall Street, where benchmarks had a strong finish after a government report showed that U.S. second-quarter economic growth was much stronger than initially estimated. The growth data, which also helped oil prices stage an impressive rebound, gave added encouragement to investors seeking bargains in beaten-down shares.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 3 percent to 19,124.85 after lackluster monthly data on inflation and household spending raised hopes of further stimulus.

The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China rose 2.1 percent to 3,149.35, adding to its 5.3 percent gain Thursday, which was its first increase in six days, during which it shed nearly 23 percent.

World stock markets are returning to calm after the tumult of the past two weeks, which saw Chinese stocks plunge, wiping out gains for the year, on jitters over the economy and a surprise devaluation of the yuan. Analysts warn there may be further volatility ahead.

“Uncertainties regarding China and the emerging world are likely to linger and uncertainty still remains around the Fed,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

However, he added that he believes markets have bottomed out and a “cyclical bull market” is likely to resume. “Despite the recent set-back, share markets are likely to remain in a broad rising trend,” he said.

Recent market turmoil has thrown into doubt expectations for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in September, with most economists now saying it’s off the table for now. Fed officials hold their annual meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this weekend, which will be heavily scrutinized for clues on the rate hike timing.

South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.5 percent to 1,937.16 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.7 percent to 21,984.11. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,259.00.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.3 percent to close at 16,654.77, recouping nearly half of its losses over the past two days following a sharp six-day slump. The S&P 500 index gained 2.4 percent to 1,987.66 and the Nasdaq composite rose 2.5 percent to 4,812.71.

The dollar slipped to 121.09 yen from 121.12 in late trading Thursday. The euro climbed to $1.1254 from $1.1242.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil extended gains, rising 68 cents to $43.24 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday the contract posted its biggest one-day gain in six years, leaping $3.96, or 10.3 percent, to $42.56 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils imported by U.S. refineries, rose 74 cents to $48.34 in London.

TIME Markets

U.S. Stocks Close Higher Following Chinese Market Gains

Market
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the morning of Aug. 27, 2015 .

The Dow climbed close to 370 points on Thursday

U.S. stocks are closing sharply higher after China’s main stock index logged its biggest gain in eight weeks. A report also showed that the U.S. economy expanded at a much faster pace than previously estimated.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 369.26 points, or 2. 3 percent, to 16,654.77 on Thursday. That took the two-day gain for the index to almost 1,000 points.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 47.15 points, or 2.4 percent, to 1,987.66. The Nasdaq composite gained 115.17 points, or 2.5 percent, to 4,812.71.

Energy stocks surged as the price of oil jumped 10 percent.

Bond prices were little changed from Wednesday, keeping the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note at 2.18 percent.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Marketing Lessons From Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign

Donald Trump during a news conference ahead of a rally in Dubuque, Iowa on Aug. 25, 2015.
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images Donald Trump during a news conference ahead of a rally in Dubuque, Iowa on Aug. 25, 2015.

What you see is what you get

Donald Trump has taken over the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign. Whether you agree or disagree with him, there’s no denying that his candidacy has been a powerful force in the race and has commanded a great deal of media attention.

Time will tell whether Trump’s campaign will be successful in winning the nomination, but he’s already been very successful at generating headlines. Despite his brash demeanor and highly questionable (some would say “hateful” or “stupid”) statements, as of this writing, Trump just keeps rising in the polls.

Regardless of what happens with Trump’s presidential campaign, he’s already a winner in the constant battle for public attention. Here are a few marketing lessons from Trump that any brand or political cause can emulate:

1. Know your audience

Donald Trump doesn’t care if you love him or hate him. He’s playing to a very select crowd of voters who believe in his message and who want to support him. There’s something about Trump’s tough-talking “I don’t care what the experts think” attitude that appeals to Republican primary voters in 2015. Lots of Republican primary voters are feeling frustrated and are passionate to take back the White House. Trump is giving voice to feelings that are widely shared in that political party.

In the same way, your brand doesn’t have to appeal to “everyone.” Know your target market and speak to their concerns in a relevant way.

2. Know your brand

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump knows who he is. The Trump that we’re seeing on the campaign trail is well known to New Yorkers (I’m a native New Yorker myself). We have watched him for decades become famous as a New York real estate developer, bestselling author and TV reality-show contest business mogul on “The Apprentice.” Trump hasn’t changed. He’s just talking about politics now instead of business deals. But he’s always been bold and brassy, with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

The lesson: Your brand needs to stand for something. Lots of people are not fans of Trump, but even people who oppose his candidacy find themselves grudgingly admiring the consistency of his brand message. What you see is what you get.

3. Be audacious

Trump has said a lot of outrageous things during the campaign, from inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants to accusing John McCain of not being a “war hero,” but every new media gaffe or media whirlwind just seems to boost his performance in the polls. The reason: Trump’s core supporters respect him for speaking his truth, even if he’s not saying it in a polite, genteel way.

Most political candidates are so polished and focus-grouped that it’s almost impossible for their real feelings and emotions to come out. Trump is in your face, every day, with unvarnished depictions of life as he sees it. He’s not afraid of what anyone thinks about him, and it shows.

The lesson: Don’t be afraid to really stand for something as a brand, even if it’s controversial. Too many companies try to be blandly inoffensive in a failed attempt to be “mainstream” and appeal to “everyone.” It’s better to be memorable, even if you lose some customers who don’t “get it,” as long as you keep appealing to the niche market of customers who love you the most.

4. Trust yourself

Trump doesn’t follow focus groups. All candidates these days test out their message, trying to find the right combination of words and issues to appeal to the right demographic segments of voters. But often, candidates end up sounding excessively “focus-grouped.” The real human connection of the candidate gets lost in trying to appeal to too many people. Trump seems to be resonating with conservative Republican voters because he’s so unrehearsed and unpolished — he’s not afraid to speak off the cuff. Every day on the campaign seems like he’s just really talking about whatever is most urgently on his mind at that moment.

The same goes with your product. It’s good to do some market research to find out whether a new product is viable, but it’s even more important to trust that you have a good idea. If you feel that way, trust that others will feel the same. I’ve seen so many great ideas become convoluted and watered down, when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. If you try to make your product appealing to everyone, you’ll ultimately end up appealing to no one.

5. No apologies

Trump is like no one else we’ve seen in presidential politics in recent years. He seems to have absolutely no sense of regret or shame. He says what he says, he calls it like he sees it, and then he moves on, ignoring the critics. Has Trump ever apologized for anything? He seems incapable of admitting to mistakes or being wrong.

This raises an interesting question for your brand: when should you apologize? If a customer has a bad experience with your product, should you apologize? Or should you just give them a refund and move on, writing it off as “Well, they’re not the right kind of customer for us?” If someone is offended by or misunderstands something your company posts on Twitter, should you apologize? Should you ignore the critics, or try to learn from them?

It’s hard to know when to draw the line. If you apologize too often, you’ll find yourself catering too much to customers who really don’t understand the value of what you offer. But if you don’t apologize when an apology was really warranted, you might damage your brand. You have to toe the line between maintaining your brand reputation and doing the right thing. Don’t spend all of your energy on trying to make bad customers happy.

Trump embodies the purity of a certain kind of bold, no-apologies approach to doing business. He’s almost Zen-like in his clear-headed refusal to get bogged down in details of saying “sorry.” He just keeps moving forward and on to the next deal. There’s something so refreshing about that, but not all brands can pull it off.

Whether you’re voting for Trump or not, there’s no denying that he’s a fascinating one-of-a-kind figure in American politics and business. You don’t have to become like Trump to learn from how he’s marketed himself and built his brand.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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TIME Media

This Is the Next Battleground for Netflix and Amazon

Gaby Hoffmann, Jeffrey Tambor, Jill Soloway
Richard Shotwell—Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP From left, Gaby Hoffmann, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jill Soloway speak onstage during the "Transparent" panel at the Amazon 2014 Summer TCA on Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The streaming wars continue to go global

Amazon and Netflix will soon be squaring off in a new Asian battleground. On Wednesday Amazon announced that it will bring its Prime Instant Video service to Japan in September. Netflix has had long-announced plans to roll out its own streaming service in the country on Sept. 2.

Amazon’s Japanese offering will include dramas, anime and variety shows popular in both the U.S. and Japan. Original shows like “Transparent” will also be available.

Amazon, which already offers Prime subscriptions in Japan, will have a significant price advantage. Amazon Prime costs ¥3900 (about $32) per year, or about $2.71 per month. Netflix will have multiple tiers starting at ¥650, or about $5.40 per month.

It reminans to be seen whether either service will find substantial success in the country. Hulu launched in the country in 2011 but ended up selling off its Japanese streaming business to the Nippon TV television network in 2014.

TIME diamonds

Now You Can Make Diamonds in a Microwave

A collection of natural diamonds are seen laid in rows on a
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A collection of natural diamonds.

The process takes several weeks

Diamonds really are forever, now that we can manufacture them.

There’s a growing market for man-made jewels grown in science labs, Bloomberg reports. The diamonds are made by placing a carbon seed in a microwave chamber and superheating the substance into a plasma ball, which crystallizes into the much-desired jewels. Experts can only tell the difference between the manufactured diamonds and traditionally mined ones using a machine.

The man-made diamonds are starting to be sold by retailers such as Wal-Mart, although they still make up just a small fraction of total diamond sales. In 2014, an estimated 360,000 carats of lab-grown diamonds were manufactured while about 146 million carats of natural gems were mined. The number of man-made diamonds is expected to reach 20 million carats by 2026. (One carat = 0.2 grams).

Diamond industry heavyweights such as De Beers say they have nothing to fear from startups pushing lab-produced gems. The company told Bloomberg that the “formation,” “history,” and “emotional significance” of mined diamonds make them unique.

TIME conflict

This Graphic Shows How Blood Diamonds Arrive in the U.S.

There are many loopholes in the global supply chain

The diamond industry created the Kimberley Process in 2003 to reassure consumers that their gemstones had not been used to finance conflicts.

But while the Kimberley Process removed some conflict diamonds from the market, many still slip through loopholes along the supply chain, as detailed in the TIME article Blood Diamonds. Another problem is that the Kimberley Process’ narrow definition of “conflict diamond” does not include some of the practices in diamond mining and sale that consumers find troubling, including environmental degradation, child labor, worker exploitation and state-sanctioned violence. That allows for unethically sourced gems to end up in stores in the U.S.

This graphic shows how conflict diamonds can easily become part of the global supply chain:

blood.diamond

Read Next: TIME’s Report on Blood Diamonds

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Ways to Make Your Afternoons As Productive As Mornings

business-man-using-laptop
Getty Images

Leave mindless tasks and easy decision for your final hours of work

Inc. logo

Our society is collectively obsessed with morning routines.

What is just as important, but often neglected, is how we manage what happens in the middle of the day.

When we wake up, our minds are clear, our bodies are rested. High willpower gives us the energy to take on the day.

The problem is that no matter how much energy we start with, it can only sustain us for so long. Without good midday habits, we fall prey to distraction (hello Facebook!), impulsivity, irritability, and fatigue. Or even worse, we crash and make bad decisions we regret. According to renowned willpower researcher Roy Baumeister, “Most things go bad in the evening. Diets are broken at the evening snack, not at breakfast… Impulsive crimes are mostly committed after midnight.”

To help you nail your afternoon routine, here is some practical and science-backed advice from successful entrepreneurs who have built multimillion-dollar companies.

1. Move around and take a fidgeting break

Lindsay Gaskins, CEO of Marbles: The Brain Store

When most people think about health and energy, they primarily focus on exercise.While exercise is incredibly important, our nonexercise activities (known as NEAT in the academic world) actually take up more time and burn more energy throughout the day.

Changes to these NEAT activities are easier to make since they require less willpower; yet they are still incredibly impactful.

“We also found that when sitting for prolonged periods of time, any movement is good movement, and was also associated with better fitness,” says Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, who has studied the link between health and physical activity. “So if you are stuck at your desk for a while, shift positions frequently, get up and stretch in the middle of a thought, pace while on a phone call, or even fidget.”

Lindsay Gaskins, CEO of Marbles: The Brain Store, is a big fan of fidgeting with a desk toy. She takes multiple fidget breaks every day to reduce stress and help her think more clearly.

“Anything I can press, bend, or manipulate makes my hands and brain happy,” Gaskins says. She recommends desk toys like wooden puzzles, Ball of Whacks, or Flingons (a flingable, flexible magnetic fidget set).

Katherine Isbister, research director of NYU’s Game Innovation Lab, affirms the importance of desk toys in reducing stress. Isbister says that being able to squish something really hard, or knock it on the table “is a great way to overcome negative emotions such as stress or boredom.” Isbister and her team are currently studying how workers use desktop toys to increase mental clarity.

2. Never eat alone

Elizabeth Zaborowska, founder and CEO of Bhava Communications

According to one research-backed book on the impact of face-to-face relationships,The Village Effect, spending time directly with other people and having active social lives can increase our likelihood of surviving cancer by 66 percent. As noted in The Village Effect, and also discussed by National Geographic researcher Dan Buettner and his team, the right social circle is an essential part of why centenarians live past 100 years old.

Elizabeth Zaborowska, founder and CEO of Bhava Communications (revenue: $5 Million ), organizes an amazing 15-plus informal meals per week (750 meals per year) with her employees, clients, venture capitalists, industry colleagues, and more. She invites one or two people to join her for lunch and dinner, and occasionally sets up breakfasts and weekend brunches.

Having a meal together connects people in ways that simply working together can’t. A meal creates an informal space where friendships can be formed, and sets the foundation for a deeper working relationship. In one study, employees at a tech company who rated other employees as being “especially good friends” had higher performance ratings from their bosses than those who had fewer numbers of such friendships.

Many well-known entrepreneurs use mealtime as one of the main ways they build relationships. During summers, Martha Stewart regularly entertains guests for dinner at her East Hampton estate. And Keith Ferrazzi proclaimed the power of meals, particularly dinner parties, in his bestselling book Never Eat Alone.

“Today I can safely say my strongest links have been forged at the table,” Ferrazzi says.”The companionable effects of breaking bread — not to mention drinking a few glasses of wine — bring people together.”

3. Set your timer for five minutes in order to break up that big, hard task you’ve been procrastinating on

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, and Wow 1 Day Painting

According to Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, the best way to change your behavior is to make the desired change easier. And the simplest way to make something easier is to reduce the amount of time it takes. For example, exercise is much less intimidating when you commit to it for one minute instead of one hour.

The same principle holds true in work. Whenever Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, and Wow 1 Day Painting, feels overwhelmed by a big goal or feels low energy, he sets his iPhone timer for five minutes and commits to focusing for that period of time on the task at hand. “What ends up happening is I build up momentum and want to keep going after the timer goes off,” Scudamore says.

While setting big, hairy, audacious goals is really good for long-term thinking, it is paralyzing when you’re at a low point in your day. Focusing on an easy, small step is powerful because it:

  • Builds momentum and keeps you focused.
  • Increases the odds that you’ll take action.
  • Cements your own identity as someone who gets stuff done.
  • Gives you the feeling of progress, optimism, control, and gratitude.

For more information on how to set easy tasks, watch this 10-minute video by Fogg.

4. Take a “pocket vacation” in nature

Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network and Syfy

It turns out that exposure to all that’s green and grows is good for your immune system. Not getting out in natural surroundings can lead to an increase of allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. It even has a name; “Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network and Syfy takes a daily walk in New York City’s Central Park for 15 minutes, calling her routine her “pocket vacation.” Research indicates that a mere five minutes of walking in nature can produce an immense, immediate benefit of reducing stress, notably on our levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. An even more important effect is that nature restores your ability to focus with a phenomenon called Attention Restoration Theory.

If you don’t have time to take a quick walk, spend 40 seconds looking through a window with greenery outside. That short amount of time is enough to restore your attention span, leading to far fewer errors in your work.

5. Take micro naps like these iconic entrepreneurs, presidents, and artists

Sevetri Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations

Famous individuals throughout history have sworn by the power of naps; everyone from presidents (Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton) to artists (Salvador Dali, Leonardo Da Vinci) to entrepreneurs (Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller) have enjoyed midday naps. And it’s no wonder why. According to one study, a 10 minute power nap can reduce fatigue and increase cognitive performance up to two hours. Salvador Dali had a particularly unique approach to naps he called “slumber with a key” that he felt increased his creativity. Essentially, he sat in a chair with a key in his hand. If he fell asleep, the key would drop and he’d immediately wake him up. This approach allow him to stay in a state of deep relaxation while also getting conscious access to his unconscious mind.

Sevetri Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations, has adopted a schedule where she works in the early morning hours, when other people are sleeping, and takes naps in the early evening, when other people are relaxing.

“This schedule allows me to get a lot more done without being distracted by text messages or TV and while remaining high-energy,” Wilson says.

Larger companies like Google have started embracing the the proven benefits of the power of nap. For example, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, andBrian Halligan, CEO of publicly traded Hubspot, have each created employee nap rooms.

6. Play a musical instrument

Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of Ajax Union

According to neuroscientist, Anita Collins, playing music is the cognitive equivalent of “a full-body workout,” and it “engages practically every area of the brain at once.”

More significant, music playing has been highlighted as a powerful long-term strategy to improve brain plasticity, as well as overall brain functioning.

Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of digital marketing agency, Ajax Union, takes this research to heart, and he’s baked it into the culture of his company. “For me to keep my high energy going throughout the day, I need to do things differently,” Apfelbaum says. “When brainstorming I sometimes play guitar or other musical instruments that are in my office at all times.”

Among the most famous of all amateur music players is Albert Einstein, an avid and competent violinist. Einstein often gushed about his love for his hobby, saying “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get the most joy in life out of music.”

Picking up a musical instrument is not as intimidating as it sounds: Josh Kaufman offers tips on his website for how he learned to play simple chord progressions on a ukulele in less than 20 hours.

7. Shower with your eyes closed

Jason Duff, founder and CEO of COMSTOR Outdoor

Artist Paul Gogan once declared, “I shut my eyes in order to see.”

Recent research on how creative insights happen shows that he might have been on to something. In the book, Eureka Factor, researcher John Kounios shares the importance of inner-directed attention:

“We found that just before viewing a problem that participants would eventually solve with insight, they disengaged from their surroundings and directed their attention inwardly on their own thoughts.”

As soon as he gets back from work at the end of the day, Jason Duff, founder and CEO of COMSTOR Outdoor, takes his second shower of the day. It’s 20 minutes long, and he closes his eyes and lets his mind wander.

Research shows that having your eyes closed increases alpha waves, which is closely associated with relaxation and helps new ideas go from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind.

If you want to add a second shower to your daily routine, but also want to conserve water, consider purchasing a water-efficient showerhead.

8. Create an easy list for the end of the day

Emerson Spartz, founder and CEO of Spartz Inc.

Many articles and books have been written about the beginning of the workday. The predominant principle is to focus on hard, important tasks and decisions that will push your business forward.

“If you save the same activities for the afternoon, you will likely procrastinate, be inefficient, and have lower quality,” says Emerson Spartz, founder and CEO of Spartz Inc., a digital media company that owns a network of sites (like Dose.com and OMG Facts) that collectively reach 45 million visitors per month. Instead, Spartz leaves mindless tasks and easy decisions (i.e., emails that need quick responses, social media, and simple tasks) for his final hours of work.

“I’ll check email periodically throughout the day to respond to anything urgent,” Spartz said. “But I reserve the last hour just for emailing, which is easier for my mind and more likely to distract me.”

9. Exercise with a gym trainer or gym buddy

Cameron Herold, author of Double Double, CEO coach, and globally renowned speaker

Evan Williams, founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, works out in the middle of the day, contradicting the typical advice to workout first thing in the morning:

“My focus is usually great first thing in the morning. So going to the gym first is a trade off of very productive time in the office. Instead, I’ve started going mid-morning or late afternoon (especially on days I work late). It feels weird (at first) to leave the office in the middle of the day, but total time spent is nearly the same, with higher energy and focus across the board.”

Cameron Herold, author of Double Double and a CEO coach to high-growth businesses, also exercises in the middle of the day. He uses a trainer to force himself to follow through.

“I need more help stopping work than I do getting it into it,” Herold says. “If I can force myself to stop my day for a workout, I can sustain quality output much longer. Having a trainer forces me to show up.”

A review of 29 academic studies found that exercise dramatically increases attention, processing speed, and executive function.

10. Save your easy meetings for the afternoon

Benji Rabhan, founder and CEO of Apollo Scheduling

Meetings have built-in accountability, and thus limited procrastination. That makes them perfect to hold your attention during the afternoon when your mind is more likely to wander.

Benji Rabhan, founder & CEO of Apollo Scheduling, uses his AppointmentCore software to open his afternoons to meetings with clients, customers, and team members. Instead of using his precious morning time for meetings, he uses the late afternoon for simple meetings such as answering questions, status checks, or conveying information.

Rabhan still has big meetings that require difficult decisions in the morning, as several studies show that we make worse decisions throughout the day as a result of decision fatigue.

Not convinced? Meeting in the afternoon has another benefit. According to a study of best times to schedule meetings, 3:00 p.m. has the highest acceptance rate!

This article originally appeared on Inc.com

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Read next: 9 Tips to Staying Productive Throughout the Week

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TIME Books

This Famous Book Is Turning 60 Today

PHILIPPINES-ZUMBA-GUINNESS
NOEL CELIS—AFP/Getty Images Filipino residents broke the record for the largest Zumba class with 12,975 participants in a single venue in Mandaluyong on July 19, 2015.

It's celebrating 60 years of superlatives

Here’s one for the record books: the Guinness Book of World Records celebrates 60 years of documenting the strangest, most impressive, and generally superlative accomplishments on Thursday.

The record book’s first edition was published in 1955. The managing director of Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, thought the book could distributed for free across bars, where a definitive compilation of world records would settle plenty of bar fights in the pre-Google era. It turned out to be a hit: 50,000 copies of the first edition were reprinted and sold, resulting in three more editions in the following year.

The Guinness Book of World Records has never been snobby about what it records: from the most expensive bottle of wine (a 1947 French Cheval-Blanc sold for $304,375 in 2010) to the fastest time to drink a liter of lemon juice through a straw (24.41 seconds). There’s also the man who holds a record for holding the most apples in his mouth and cutting them with a chainsaw in one minute (8 apples).

“We celebrate them all equally,” Craig Glenday told CBS News. “Whether you’re Usain Bolt, who can run a 100 meters in 9.58, or you’re the guy from Germany who can run it in clogs in 16 seconds, or on all fours, or backwards. It’s that rich variety, and we treat them all the same.”

TIME gift cards

RadioShack Will Pay Cash for Your Unredeemed Gift Cards

RadioShack to Announce Q3 Earnings
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

But not all gift cards are created equal

Still holding onto that RadioShack gift card you got for Christmas two years ago? Well, dig it out. It may be worth something again.

RadioShack, which filed for bankruptcy in February, has tentatively settled with the Texas attorney general’s office concerning a case that was filed to protect the holders of nearly $46 million in unredeemed gift cards to the folded outlet, according to CNBC.

Attorneys put in place a new plan for some gift card holders to be repaid in full for any outstanding balances on RadioShack gift cards. The plan doesn’t apply to everyone though. Some gift card holders will only get pennies on the dollar, if anything.

Those who purchased cards for themselves or someone else, or reloaded an existing card, will get top refund priority, while those whose cards are from promotional giveaways or from a merchandise return will not be covered by the deal. Such gift card holders would be added to the list of general unsecured creditors.

The deal still has to be approved by the court and various attorney general, and once confirmed, RadioShack and the attorneys will need to put in place a system for claim submissions, the report said.

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