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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

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Here’s how to maintain your digital resistance

Image: Sukanda Panpa / EyeEm / Getty

If you made a resolution to get off your phone, it’s probably starting to fall apart. The senseless alerts are back, your resolve to “just check one thing” bleeds into the next digital thing, and before you know it an hour (or two or three) have gone by.

You know what it’s costing you. You don’t want to be like the majority of Americans who spend on average 1,200 hours a year on their phone — a full waking month out of every year, a full waking year out of every decade. …


Reminders we all need. Yes, even you.

Photo: Artur Debat / Getty Images

We all know how to use Twitter without setting ourselves up for a scandal, right? We’ve gotten used to not starting pointless fights on Facebook, and not posting incriminating photos on Instagram, and not doing anything at all on TikTok because we’re all too old for that, every last person on Earth is too old for that. Right?

Well actually, no, and I’m willing to bet there’s some “common sense” rule of social media each of us is guilty of breaking at one point or another. Shane Paul Neil has an irreverent — and totally useful — rundown of what…


Insights on work and creativity from the life of mathematician Claude Shannon, the most influential figure you’ve never heard of

Photo: Nokia Bell Labs

By Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni, co-authors of A Mind at Play

For five years, we lived with one of the most brilliant people on the planet.

Sort of.

See, we spent those all-consuming five years writing our biography of American mathematician Claude Shannon, whose work in the 1930s and ’40s earned him the title of “father of the information age.” That’s how long it took us to understand the influence of the most important genius you’ve never heard of, a man whose intellect was on par with that of Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

During that time, we spent…


This is the year to de-center your smartphone

Illustrations from “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Emiliano Ponzi

For the sake of yourself and your country, it is time to get off your phone.

Yes, I know you needed to see the latest from the Capitol storming, the impeachment hearings, the Republican backlash, and then you’ll need to know how it’s all going down with the new administration in the first 100 days, and then perhaps you’ll want to check in on the stalled Covid-19 vaccination effort. And then poof, before you know it, midterm elections will be ramping up and you’ll need to scroll and scroll and scroll.

But there’s a good reason to balance a civic…


A simple framework for changing any negative behavior

Photo: Eddy Billard/Unsplash

I’ve been hooked on every vice you can imagine: booze, cocaine, junk food, porn, sex, cigarettes. You name it, and I’ve indulged in it to excess. I’ve also — at least temporarily — quit all those vices. But one of the toughest things I’ve ever tried to quit was something most of us don’t think of as a vice at all: Instagram.

Before I became a life coach, I was an editor at a well-known men’s fashion magazine, and as such, I was a heavy user. I regularly took photos of clothes and posted them, then @’d myself to the…


Illustration: Simo Liu

Guide To Google Drive

The ultimate self-improvement tool is something you already have

I’m a little intense about Google Drive.

Through years of hyper-organized experimentation with the suite of apps that includes Sheets and Docs, I’ve developed systems to streamline and simplify, well, pretty much everything in my life. Grocery shopping. Holiday gift-buying. Parenting. Financial planning. My freelance project ideas. Even my love life!

Is your Google Drive doing all it can for you? Maybe you just use it to store files, or as free writing software. But it can do so much more. …


Anyone else feeling very seen by their targeted ads lately?

A couple in their kitchen looking at one of their phones.
A couple in their kitchen looking at one of their phones.
Photo: Richard Drury/Getty Images

Sometimes we are mysteries even to ourselves. But you know who really sees us? Who makes note of every life change, understands every secret desire? Our targeted ads, that’s who. They’re tracking our every click, scroll, and search. You know how the minute after a certain birthday, you start getting ads for “lipstick for mature women”? Yeah, me too.

Yes, it’s creepy, but look, we’ve also uploaded our kids’ baby photos to a cloud and sent our DNA to unseen labs. We’re in it. We might as well learn something from it. And how we seek solace during difficult times…


This Works For Me

I was burned out from email overload, until I tried something that totally changed the way I work

A photo of a stressed woman with her hands on the sides of her face, looking at her computer screen.
A photo of a stressed woman with her hands on the sides of her face, looking at her computer screen.
Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

When I was unexpectedly thrust into the world of freelancing following a layoff last year, I quickly settled into a routine for my brand-new work life. And by “routine” I mean “total chaos.” My workspace was my bed. The sweatpants I’d slept in the night before were my work attire. The Real Housewives, playing on an endless stream in the background, were my co-workers. My personal Gmail became my professional inbox.

Sure, it was basically a paint-by-numbers of everything you’re not supposed to do while working from home. But, as I rationalized to myself, my situation was only temporary —…


The more media we use to maintain a relationship, the stronger that bond will likely be

Illustration: Sullivan Brown

Has the overuse of the word “friend” devalued the relationships it describes? In a connected world, how valuable are our online relationships? Are we, in fact, disconnected from one another? Must we visit someone at home to call that person a true friend?

As a society, we are pondering the effects — psychological and physiological — of the digital age on relationships and on our psychological health. But we have reason for optimism about the relationship between digital technology and friendship. Many clickbait headlines (“Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”) and the (often only slightly) more sober scientific reports that give…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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