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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:

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: Maximize your next trip to the grocery store.

During the pandemic, we’ve all been engaging in a global CO2 emissions experiment; Paul Greenberg points out in GEN that in 2020 the United States cut emissions by 10 percent. How can we keep it up (without the pandemic part, thank you very much)?

Here’s one easy (if slightly counterintuitive) way to contribute: more efficient grocery shopping. Greenberg suggests making fewer trips to the supermarket, buying more food per trip and more frozen food. This is significant for the climate, Greenberg notes, “not only because of the decreased driving…

🚶🏽‍♀️Today’s tip: Take a walk around the neighborhood.

For the past year and change, many of us have spent an inordinate amount of time in our homes, while also viscerally feeling our connections with and responsibilities for our fellow humans. Saul Austerlitz writes on Medium: “It’s a condition of the crisis we are still living through that our worlds have simultaneously grown and shrunk.” One solution? Take a long walk through the neighborhood where you live.

As Austerlitz puts it, “There is little that is as soothing as the feeling of leaving the house on a mild spring day or…

The Long Haul

An amble through various kinds of very long walks

“A Line Made By Walking,” Richard Long, courtesy of the Tate.

This is part of a series of thoughts on what it takes to stick with a very long term project.

What is the point of a very long walk? It doesn’t generally count as exercise, or maybe it could but that’s usually not what it’s really about. A long meandering walk is almost the opposite of the way most of us work out—those carefully timed-out accumulations of moves meant to be as efficient as possible. Walking isn’t efficient. It’s slow, and unflashy, and either stolidly utilitarian or annoyingly whimsical. (A walk has also become, in pandemic-times, all there is to…

🍿 Today’s tip: Make a normal TV veg-out session into a movie night.

“In our busy, goal-driven society, it’s easy to overlook the delight found in the little moments,” Itxy Lopez writes in Mind Cafe. “We try to achieve so much in so little time that the beauty of life itself gets lost.” Lopez writes about how she and her family make a practice of making mundane moments feel really special, from spontaneous dance parties to no-reason game nights.

She recalls a time when she and her family were watching a television show, and set up a bunch of blankets…

💭 Today’s tip: Every time you feel envious, ask what your envy is telling you.

Maybe at first we thought pandemic life meant the end of FOMO. And yet, nature is healing: Our feeds are once again full of envy-inducing vacations, magazine-perfect home offices, selfies of people somehow… thriving, or anyway seeming to. But if you feel a pang of envy at someone’s “personal news” tweet, don’t beat yourself up. Just listen to what that envy is telling you.

As Darius Foroux writes in his weekly Stoic Letter, “Every time you feel envious, check your priorities. Take the envy as…

🤔 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…

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