Plus, Minus, Next
Hello! This Sunday newsletter explores startups, short-term rentals, or whatever random thing has entered my mind this last week. I pick one topic weekly to go deep on and have some disparate quick hits at the end.
As we prep for the upcoming new year, I thought I would write about a system for reflecting on the year that’s passed, which my friendintroduced me to: “Plus, Minus, Next.”
Here is how Nate described it (with a shout-out to Anne-Laure Le Cunff):
I last went through Nate’s outlined exercise in late December 2020. As I look back at my document from that year, a few things stand out:
I was pleased with prioritizing family, my relationship with Kate, sleep, and exercise in 2020.
I was proud of how we managed through a challenging year at HomeSpotter. But it took a toll.
I really missed travel.
For my various “Next” s and “Main Goals for 2021,” I had many items with meaningful progress and some with hardly any.
One of my “Next” s for work was: “Commit by the end of Q2 2021 to either leaning in for another 3-5 years at HomeSpotter or outline a path for my exit (sell or bring in another CEO).” (As luck would have it, we closed on selling in May, which I would never have predicted in December.)
I ate much better and lost a solid amount of weight in 2021.
Last year, I allowed myself to get too busy and didn’t make a Plus, Minus, Next list going into 2022. I feel like I missed out.
This afternoon, I did this exercise again for 2022, looking ahead to 2023. Nate suggests you can get through the bulk of this in 27 minutes (9 x 3 x 1 minute each). It took me 60-90 minutes because I was a bit reflective, but the time was well spent. And you can get it done faster than I did if you’re on a time crunch.
While I’d prefer to not share my whole list, I can share that my 2022 Summary had 10 Proudest Accomplishments, 9 Biggest Challenges, and 14 Main Goals for 2023. Of those 14 goals, 7 centered around family, 5 were personal, and 2 were focused on work. I hope that means I’ve got my priorities in the right spot going into next year.
Some highlights for my main goals for 2023 include:
Regular family game night
Scheduled date nights
Spend an extended amount of time in Europe with my family
Commit to doing some things just for fun
I find this exercise much more helpful than setting new year’s resolutions. This is a system that drives intentionality. And it’s got me thankful for the year that passed and excited for the year to come. I encourage you to try it. Trust me, it’s worth it.
This Week’s Quick Hits
Like Nate’s write-up on Plus, Minus, Next above? He’s amongst my biggest inspirations for starting this Substack. Check out his Plan Your Next newsletter and consider subscribing.
I’m half Swedish. Following my Grandma’s recipe, I hope to make Swedish rye bread this Christmas. I swear she used a special kind of Swedish rye flour, but now I’m not sure that exists. Does anyone know?
This last year I got nominally involved in local politics. I took a pro-development (“YIMBY”) stance in my city. I backed and voted for mayoral and city council candidates that I knew would push forward efforts to build more houses that have otherwise been stalled. Several weeks ago, Jerusalem Demsas of The Atlantic had a great article entitled “Housing Breaks People’s Brains.” It echoes a point I’m pretty passionate about. While there are undoubtedly multiple contributing factors to the current Housing Crisis, there’s a relatively simple fact that we need more houses. Opposition to development that gets in the way of more housing from either side of the aisle frustrates me greatly.
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash
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I've been chipping away this myself this week. What I've found interesting is how little I have to say in some categories, in any of the columns, and how much I have to say in ALL the columns in others.
Areas where I was reaching for much to say either in reflection or intention:
* Friends & Community
* Emotions & Spirituality
* Learning & Knowledge
* Hobbies & Creativity
Areas where I filled the columns up almost without thinking:
* Health & Fitness
* Work & Business
Was interesting to see that this helped me see an inbalance in my focus and energy. In some cases, I think that's just what it is right now. Some things are occupying more of my energy at the expense of others; impossible to fill all the cups all the time. But, generally, I'd like to have more to say next year about Friends & Community and Hobbies & Creativity which really took a backseat this year.