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Amy Shearn
Senior Editor, Forge @ Medium // Bylines: New York Times, Oprah, Slate // Latest novel: Unseen City

Oh, hi! I write stuff for Forge and Momentum. (And novels!)

Also, here is a long term project I’ve been working on about long term projects: The Long Haul

And here are some regular old blog posts about being a person in the world:

All Hail Emily Dickinson, the Quarantine Queen
Pandemic Parenting: A Hair Story
In Praise of Terrible Dresses
Everything is Made Up Anyway

And: Profile header lettering by the wonderful Sam Zabell ❤️

🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, when in the day am I most energetic?

You’ve probably fallen into the Coffee Trap before, wherein you have your first cup of coffee and suddenly, as the caffeine courses through you, decide you can conquer the world that day…only to find yourself rethinking your ambitions a few hours later. The good news is, these energy peaks and valleys can work to your advantage.

The TodoistOfficial Instagram account makes a great point: The key to daily productivity is scheduling around energy, because “timing is integral to our decisions, actions, and reactions.” So look at the…

💡 Today’s tip: If you’re bored with something, stop doing it.

Say you’re working on something that is boring you to tears. What do you do? Push through anyway? Philosopher Eve Bigaj writes on Medium that we should actually listen to our boredom, noting that boredom can be a guide. As Bigaj writes, when we’re bored with something, whether that’s a creative project or something we’re reading or an assignment at work, that boredom is trying to tell us something. “It’s almost a moral compass. It’s what tells me that I have lost my ‘why.’ …

📂 Today’s tip: Use your Drafts folder.

Here’s the task-prioritization hack to try when you’re tired of to-do lists and calendars. Jason Chatfield writes on Medium that this is a trick that works “100% of the millionty zillion times I’ve done it”: At the start of the week, write out, or at least start, the main emails that you have to write. You can also just start an email with the subject line reflecting something that needs to get done that week. (For example: “Touching base with Jason about Project Z’s deliverables.”) …

😋 Today’s tip: Treat yourself to a favorite spread at the store.

Have you ever been transported to a happy memory just by taking a bite of something delicious? Medium iOS engineer Alaina Kafkes has: She writes on Medium about remembering the transcendent deliciousness of a bagel with peanut butter she once had before a bike ride. Something about that snack at that moment caused her to “experience the utter joy of finding quintessence in the quotidian.” She goes on to write about all the different nut butters she’s enjoyed over the years, noting, “what I like most about these…

📺 Today’s tip: Choose a television show that showcases kindness.

It’s really okay if all you can manage this weekend is a casual television binge. But if you’re going to veg out, you can still make it life-affirming. Saul Austerlitz writes on Medium about how watching the silly comedy Ted Lasso has been a balm over the past few months; especially, how he values the lead character’s “optimism, his unflagging concern for others, and his insistence — sometimes at the expense of his own self-interest — in demanding kindness of others.”

Choose a show that makes you feel better, not…

🗓 ️Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “Where are the holes in my schedule?”

Fun is all well and good once you’ve finished your homework…but the problem is, when you’re a grownup, you’re never finished with your homework. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for fun. As entrepreneurship coach Charlene Walters writes on Medium, it’s easier than you might think. Look for holes in your schedule, she advises, and “search for places that you have downtime that you can better allocate. Maybe you’re spending 10 hours a week watching Netflix without realizing it. …

🐦 Today’s tip: Set an “unusual bird interruption” alarm.

Sometimes—even when we’re shuffling through the late (we hope!) stages of a pandemic, and feeling burnt-out and spark-less—connecting with life’s joy is as easy as looking at a bird.

This doesn’t even have to mean actual bird-watching — a video works. As the teacher Sophie Lucido Johnson writes in Human Parts:

I have a weekly scheduled “unusual bird interruption” alarm that goes off on my phone every week in my classes. We watch a bird video for something like two minutes. Afterward, I always say, “If you’re stuck or having a…

📋 Today’s tip: Write your to-do list on a piece of paper.

There are so many neat apps and other digital tools out there that promise to keep us more organized and on-task, and thank goodness, in These Scattered Times, for that. But sometimes, as Rosie Spinks writes for Forge, the absolute best to-do list is the one you write down, with a pen, on paper.

This is not just for the usual reasons (writing something by hand can help solidify it in your brain, etc). As Spinks points out, a written to-do list can be as intimate and revealing…

🥝 Today’s tip: Try an unexpected kind of fruit.

It’s really hard to come up with anything interesting to say over dinner when you and your kids have been in the same building staring at screens all day, or when the only new thing on the horizon is a vaccine appointment. But rather than just stare at each other blankly over your next meal or social zoom, try this tip from Catherine Newman: Buy a social fruit.

Newman writes in Cup of Jo, “Whenever someone is shopping or ordering groceries online, I say, ‘Oh, and get some social fruit.’ This…

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