A memo to yourself

Hey there! Welcome to Part-Time Writing, the best newsletter for busy, intelligent professionals writing alongside their nine-to-five. It’s also my public whiteboard for practical advice, stories, lessons, and tools I’ve picked up from life.

If that sounds up your alley, you can subscribe below (if not, that's cool too, maybe pass it along to someone else who might like it):

Also, feel free to check out my other posts or follow me on Twitter 😎.

In 1977, Nike director of marketing Rob Strasser circulated the memo below as a rallying cry to fire up employees:

99 times out of 100, mass corporate emails sent by upper management miss the mark. They’re basic (“As we look back on the challenging year that was…”), uninspiring, and so far removed from what the average worker cares about that they’re either left unread or the butt of several jokes.

But Strasser’s memo hit different. It worked, and Nike has since become the brand everyone knows, valued at more than $160 billion (as of Dec. 2023).

Usually, the internet’s experts influencers use this time to push year-end reflections and goal-setting for the year to come. New Year’s Resolutions are out and system-based planning is in.

I bought into that concept for at least a few years (with decent success). But if I’m being honest, I’m not the type of guy to sit down and plan that shit out. Even if I were, I never keep up with it on a monthly, or even quarterly, basis.

Instead, I’m taking the Nike approach and drafting my own memo — to myself — to set the stage for 2024. It’s going to be a rock-solid set of rules to follow throughout the year. I’m posting it to my office whiteboard as a reminder when needed.

Here it is:

  1. Health first, always.

    Most importantly, stay in the game (don’t overdo it).

  2. There’s nothing we can’t tackle together.

  3. Don’t expect handouts. Earn it. Ask for it.

    Say nothing, get nothing.

  4. Bolster your reputation by being someone others can rely on.

    But, say ‘no’ when appropriate.

  5. Doomscrolling bad. Reading good.

  6. Writing doesn’t require consistency.

    Building a brand does.

  7. Lift others up. Be an energy giver, not an energy taker.

    “No one ever got taller by cutting another person down.”

  8. Find the right balance and stick with it.

    Adjust as new things enter life.

    Rest and recovery are part of the balance.

  9. Your career is not your most important job.

    Be a great dad.

    Be a great partner.

    Be a great person.

  10. Play the long game.

    Avoid seductive shortcuts.

    But don’t be afraid to splurge on the “now”.

Best regards,