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If you haven’t done these things in a year, now is the time

Woman cleaning her kitchen with a smile.
Woman cleaning her kitchen with a smile.
Photo: Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

Many of us have spent the past few weeks acknowledging the anniversaries: of the last time we went to an office, or that our children went to school, or that we ate inside a restaurant.

It’s a sad time, and a strange one, but it’s a hopeful one, too. After a long year-plus, every one of those anniversaries is for something we may be able to do again somewhat soon. Which means that right now, about a year since the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic, is a good moment to start readying your life to expand again.


Anticipating joy is good for your mental health

Photo: Maskot / Getty Images

Quick, don’t overthink it: What are you most looking forward to doing when things get a little easier? Is it eating at your favorite restaurant? Drinking too many cocktails and then taking a cab home? Booking a day at a spa? Dropping your kids off at their fully vaccinated grandparents’ home for the night? What’s one thing you’ve been longing to do — just one! — that would help restore your sanity?

My number one post-pandemic fantasy is entertaining at my house again. I can’t stop thinking about what that will look like when it finally happens — and even…

A formula for giving yourself something to look forward to

Illustration: Dora Godfrey

As pandemic life drags on, many of us are appreciating (and/or missing) the joy of having something to look forward to. An upcoming party gives structure to a weekend. A planned beach vacation makes the winter doldrums bearable. Some research has found that anticipating positive events can reduce negative feelings in stressful situations; other studies find that thinking about future positive experiences can nudge wiser choices in the present.

Covid-19 has made this all more challenging, and the predictable psychological result is a certain level of malaise. Fortunately, you don’t need tickets to Tahiti to reap the mental benefits of…

All you have to do is picture yourself on the other side

Illustration by Dora Godfrey for Forge

A few years ago, one of my children became obsessed with roller coasters. He watched video after video to study them from afar. He designed his own in computer games. There was just one problem: He was terrified of actually riding one.

Eventually, he identified the “Sooper Dooper Looper” at Hersheypark as a potential option: It wasn’t too tall or too fast, and had only one inversion. But when we actually went to the park, he started to lose his nerve. I knew he would regret it if he didn’t ride the roller coaster after all that, so I reminded…

🤝 Today’s tip: Schedule a planning sprint.

What does it really mean when someone says, “Oh, I’m just not a planner”? Nine times out of 10, it just means they have benefited from “planning privilege,” as the time management expert Laura Vanderkam explains in Forge: “Non-planners with complex lives are almost always already benefiting from a planning process,” she writes. It’s just that someone else is doing the lifting for them.

If you’re tired of being the default planner— or if you’re the non-planner, tired of letting your partner manage the complicated schedules that define modern life — you need…

‘Planning privilege’ is real

Illustration by Dora Godfrey for Forge

To me, planning is a fun part of life — what’s better than figuring out how we’d like to spend our time, and then turning those desires into reality? — but I know that, oddly enough, not everyone shares this love.

I was reminded of this recently when I listened to an episode of the Best Laid Plans podcast, a show all about planners and planning, in which the host, Sarah Hart-Unger, addressed a question from a listener named Erica: “How do you encourage others to plan, or is it futile? Asking for my husband.”

The short answer, Hart-Unger noted…

Improve each week before it even begins

Photo: Poh Kim Yeoh/EyeEm/Getty Images

For most of us, Monday mornings look like this: You grab your coffee, go to your computer, look at your calendar and your inbox and ask yourself, “Okay, what should I do?” You think through the upcoming week. You get a sense of timing and what’s on your plate.

Monday morning might seem like a great time to plan. It is, after all, the start of the week. Many teams even have a recurring meeting on Monday morning to hash out the week’s workflow.

However, devoting Monday morning to planning exacts a huge opportunity cost that can be avoided by…

Take a break from what’s in front of you and finally see what’s around you

Photo: levente bodo/Getty Images

I’m a big believer that the enemy of productivity is always working. At the beginning of the pandemic, however, this belief was put to the test. Like many others, I saw my work contracts get cut in half, and I felt pressured to put in overtime to replace them. But fortunately, I didn’t have to. During this time, something surprising happened: New clients began reaching out, and I started feeling more creative and inspired than I had in years.

A big reason for this is because I continued to follow the lead of business coach Dan Sullivan and prioritized white…

Image courtesy of Darius Foroux

As we enter our most tradition-laden time of year — the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s Eve corridor otherwise known as The Holidays — many of us are struggling to accept the 2020 version of events. We’re starving for things to feel like they used to. We’re stressed about the idea of disappointing others.

It’s a tough time all around. But one thing that can help us through it, as writer Darius Foroux points out, is to “participate in a classic Stoic exercise”:

This is something Epictetus talked about in his philosophy school. He said, “When you are traveling by ship, you can…

Think of it as a regular check-in with yourself

Woman going through papers and writing things down.
Woman going through papers and writing things down.
Photo: Morsa Images/Getty Images

Last year, I spent a lot of time feeling distracted. I never seemed to have enough time to do everything I needed to do, and I didn’t have a strong grasp on the big picture of my life.

As I wondered how I could feel a greater sense of control over my days, I remembered a practice I’d heard about years back: The Weekly Review, popularized by David Allen’s Getting Things Done productivity method. Basically, it’s the ritual of checking in with yourself every week and figuring out how to be more deliberate with your time.

Many ultra-productive people have…


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