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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Focus

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🎯 Tip: Keep a “why I do this” list.

It’s easy to get caught up in the what of a job — the deadlines to meet, the numbers to crunch, the Zoom meetings to look attentive in—and in the midst of it all, lose sight of the why. On Start It Up, Amardeep Parmar shares a strategy for keeping your eye on the real prize: Make a “why I do this” list. This is a collection of reasons you do what you do. Parmar, a writer and editor, explains: “For me, it’s the fun of working out how to craft…


📂 Today’s tip: Try “day batching.”

When you approach your day’s tasks like a game of whack-a-mole — gotta check on that project! gotta email these eight people! gotta return those library books that were due last Thursday! — you never feel like you’re making meaningful progress. Instead, you just feel scattered, deflated, and overwhelmed by the 492 others items still lurking on your list.

A better approach, as shared by Michelle Loucadoux, MBA on Better Marketing, is to give each day of the week a specific purpose: Maybe Mondays are for writing, Wednesday are for promotion, and Fridays are…


💭 Today’s tip: Find your 3Cs.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan shares a brand-building approach to help you ignite your purpose at work: “Taking inventory of your professional assets and achievements is like searching for a favorite sweater buried at the bottom of your closet…the things you love have always been right here.”

Use Sullivan’s worksheet to help you define your 3Cs: your company (you), your customer (your client or boss), and your competition (your peers or co-workers). “This exercise is about more than pulling out your résumé…


Today’s Tip: Ask yourself, what will you be working on forever?

It’s tempting to get wrapped up in big floaty questions about the meaning of life — and equally easy to get bogged down in the mundane-yet-urgent tasks that need to get done NOW. But what are you really supposed to be focusing on? kelly corrigan proposes one question to zero in on: “What will you be working on forever?” What, in other words, are you pretty sure you’ll never quite master? Corrigan admits that something she finds difficult is remembering to have “fewer opinions, more curiosity.” For you, it…


To find your focus, understand the relationship between motivation and discomfort

Photo: Attila Csaszar/Getty Images

It took me five years to write my last book, which was a lot longer than it should have taken. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do — I did. I just didn’t do it. I wasn’t motivated.

My book, Indistractable, is about how to stop getting distracted. Ironically, the problem was that I kept getting distracted. That is, until I learned the key to finally doing what I set out to do.

When I finally understood the biology behind why we do what we do, I didn’t just write the book; I became more productive at…


📱Today’s tip: Put away your smartphone during your meetings.

The Medium family recently welcomed a new addition: Index, a publication all about work. In one of the site’s inaugural posts, Hannah Clark Steiman writes about the mysterious way video meetings seem to be even more exhausting than in-person meetings ever were. The reason? Our brains can’t handle all the multitasking we think we’re capable of doing. On video chats, we either try to multitask or we mentally work to resist multitasking, which is just as hard on our brains.

Here’s one easy fix: Put your smartphone away. Studies have shown


🎨 Today’s tip: Level up your meeting doodling game with this fun tool.

Video calls are a great way to become acquainted with the unique contours of your own Resting Bored Face, i.e. the face you make, apparently, while spacing out in meetings. Video calls also reveal just how much you tend to squirm around at your desk.

The answer: doodling, a great way to keep yourself lightly busy during meetings. You’re engaged just enough that you don’t squirm and grimace, but not so much that you can’t focus on what’s being said. And Elizabeth Funk, a software engineer here…


Today’s tip: Listen to soothing white noise to pretend you’re in a café.

Ever since the pandemic closed both offices and third spaces across the world, in-person and remote employees alike have been left with only the sounds of their own home (and the taste of their own home-brewed coffee) to get them through the day. If you miss the neutral white noise of people talking and gently clanking things about as you work, stream the utterly soothing BBC podcast The Boring Talks, or play this YouTube video of a café in Japan. As for your actual coffee? …


To make your phone work for you, not against you, think like an anthropologist and deconstruct all the jobs you’re asking it to do

Credit: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

My hands hurt. They’re sore and stiff, and on bad days I can feel a dull ache from my wrist all the way up to the base of my skull. I know what the problem is: Even though I’ve tried to be on my phone less, it’s clearly still too much.

The pandemic has thrown us into a tizzy of endless news-reading, doomscrolling, and social media escapism, without the in-person social norms that used to help regulate our behavior, and the tumult of the election year didn’t help. I also added five months of maternity leave and a texting-while-nursing habit…


Illustration courtesy of Darius Foroux

There are a million things tugging at our focus these days, and a thousand ways to feel about each day’s vicissitudes. As luck would have it — or was it fate? — one of Medium’s beloved writers, Darius Foroux, has launched a weekly “Stoic Letter.” In the tradition of the great philosopher Seneca, Foroux tackles a new topic each week, and shares how the teachings of Stoicism can help us focus on what matters. He’ll be posting one every Friday.

As Foroux writes in his intro letter:

We all know social media makes us feel unworthy and depressed. We know…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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