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TB#8: Always Work on Yourself Harder than Your Job

2022-12-10

Over the past year, I’ve been building a one centralised “command center” for all things work-related for my research group in Notion.

The first overarching principle I wrote there is an academia-adapted version of an idea borrowed from Jim Rohn:

Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you’ll make a fortune.

Jim Rohn

Now, in my work or in my private life, I don’t build for the sake of making a fortune.

But the idea applies quite universally.

When was the last time you were able to finish absolutely everything you could imagine you can do during one single workday?

Thought so.

It’s impossible!

And since you can’t finish all of it anyway, you’ll always be in a constant state of “not 100% done”.

So you might as well step back, and try to intentionally build yourself instead of letting the work build you, one mundane task at a time.

Identify your Needs

Sit down and ask yourself what skill is a critical bottleneck in your work.

And when you do, don’t wait until you have “tasks of that kind” to crush, start working on that skill intentionally. You can probably identify some tasks at work which build that skill, but you can also simply decide to work on it.

And the only way to do that is scheduling it to your already full days.

Block time for working hard on yourself.

Go 60-60 (or any Number that Works for You)

I know, I know. Everyone hates “productivity gurus”.

But listen. Don’t abandon a powerful idea just because of the source!

I just love the 90-90-1 rule by Robin Sharma.

The 90-90-1 ruyle in a nutshell: you commit for 90 minutes per day for the next 90 days to your #1 most important task.

But I find 90 a bit too much to chop from my days. So I go 60.

It’s important to be able to make all recipes your own.

And if 60 doesn’t work for you, choose something else!

It’s your life.

Anyway, commit one hour from each day for the next two months to learning that skill. That’s 60 minutes for 60 days for the #1 skill you need to develop.

A Great Way to Start 2023

New year’s resolutions are out. But working on yourself is in.

Let’s go about this through a personal example.

The one skill that’s a bottleneck in my work right now is the lack of funding proposals in the buffer, and more generally, my skills of writing those proposals better, faster, bigger.

It’s a distinct art, very different from writing in social media, blog posts or even academic articles.

So, I’ll be working on writing funding applications for 2 months, 60 minutes per day. That’s my public promise for 2023.

I even take weekends off, so it’s more likely just a bit over 40 days.

But you do you: If you have the bandwidth over the weekends too, go for it!


New year’s resolutions fail because there’s no commitment. There’s just a dopamine-fueled wish.

When you take the time to identify a skill you should, want, and literally must develop – chances are you’ll succeed:

Apply the 60-60-1 rule to make 2023 your best one in terms of professional growth!

See you next Saturday again!

Simo

PS. What’s your #1 skill to develop? Shoot me an email, I’d love to hear!

About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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