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:

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: Reduce your subconscious stress by closing some loops.

As James Surowiecki writes in Forge, having “open loops”—that is, unfinished tasks on your list—is surprisingly exhausting. That’s because even if you’re not consciously thinking about them, they’re still draining mental energy in the background, making it hard to focus on what you’re actually doing in the moment.

And this applies to low-stakes, small open loops too. Even the fun ones, like a list of unwatched TV shows you keep meaning to burn through. So, as Surowiecki writes, “Deal with them, so your mind can stop worrying about them…

😷 Today’s tip: Devote a hook to each mask-wearer in the household.

We’ve gotten good at making sure our masks fit properly and that we wear them when necessary, but what happens once we’re back home again?

Elemental executive editor Anna Maltby shared her family’s brilliant hack for keeping masks organized and sanitary: For their three-mask-wearers, she attached five hooks to the wall near their door. One hook holds their supply of currently clean masks. One hook has her mask for the day, the next has her husband’s, the next has her son’s. And the last hook corrals all the…

Her nurturing of Black authors changed the publishing world

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Jack Mitchell / Getty Images

Toni Morrison is largely known and revered as a Pulitzer- and Nobel-winning novelist. She’s sometimes remembered as an influential college professor, and as a stirring orator. But she also worked at Random House for many years as a book editor, as Arielle Gray writes in ZORA. Gray notes that in 1967, when Morrison first started working at Random House, the book publishing world was overwhelmingly White (and in fact, still is). “Her 19-year career there made her the first Black woman editor at her level in Random House company history,” writes Gray:

When we think of an editor, we think…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Rep. Ayanna Pressley may have tweeted it in the now-classic “How it started/How it’s going” meme style, but it’s a serious win: Massachusetts has added asthma to the coronavirus vaccine eligibility list. Just last week, Pressley was among those urging Massachusetts’ governor to do so, noting, “This is both a racial and environmental justice issue.”

This is major, in part because, as Dana Smith writes for Elemental, deprioritizing people with asthma for the Covid-19 vaccine is a racial justice issue. …

⚙️ Today’s tip: Identify the emotions around procrastination.

Procrastination isn’t always a time management issue. Sometimes, it’s an emotional issue.

Pick a task you’ve put off. Ask yourself how you feel when you think about it. Now, connect that feeling to your procrastination. What about this task is making you feel that way?

Want to be free of that feeling? There’s an easy solution. All you have to do is complete the task. And now you’re free.

⏱️ More from Forge on managing your time:

How to Have Higher-Quality Leisure Time

The Most Meaningful Thing You Can…

💛 Today’s tip: DM your Twitter friend-crush.

Remember going to a crowded bar on a Tuesday night to play Simpsons trivia with your former coworker, her partner, his coworker, and some guy in a Bart sweater? If this scenario fills you with longing, you may be in need of some casual friendship. The fix: reach out to an online friend-crush.

As Kelli Maria Korducki writes in Forge, after a year of social distancing, most of us are “open in a way we weren’t before” to potential friendships and acquaintances. That means we’re less guarded in our willingness to let others…

🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “What if nothing ever changed?”

If you’re feeling unsettled, try asking yourself this question: What if nothing ever changed?

Sure, it might sound a little grim, but as Catherine Andrews writes in Forge, the thought experiment can be powerful. What if nothing ever changed? What if you always had this job? What if you always made this amount of money? What if you could never move? What if your body remained this exact shape forever? How then would you be happy?

The goal of the prompt isn’t to discourage you from reaching for more, but…

📱Today’s tip: Turn off your notifications on one app for 24 hours.

We all know that taking a break from your phone is good for the soul, restorative for the mind, blah blah blah. It’s also, uh, a tall order when you’re stuck at home in a pandemic and your smartphone is the only thing that makes you feel tethered to the outside world. The good news is, you don’t have to chuck that iPhone out the window in order to give your brain a rest.

The therapy group Real offers a very doable way to cut down on stress…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Karl Tapales / Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like being at your absolute scrubbiest, with your hair up in the sort of messy bun that reads “I might be a witch and not the fun kind,” and getting a calendar reminder for a forgotten Zoom meeting. You’re sitting on the couch, you’re wearing some gross old T-shirt with a slogan about how much you like coffee, and you don’t feel like Making an Appearance. And yet, it’s generally considered polite to have your camera on when you join ye olde Zoom grid.

Here is a modest proposal: Let’s normalize turning off the camera in Zoom…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store