Advertising
Advertising

You Only Need 5 Hours A Week To Be Successful (With This Learning Approach)

You Only Need 5 Hours A Week To Be Successful (With This Learning Approach)

We have all heard of, and probably some of us have tried to apply, the famous “10,000-hour rule” by Malcolm Gladwell, which states that spending 10,000 hours working on any skill can help us master it. As promising and as reasonable as it sounds, for most of us this seems way too far fetching and time-consuming to even try, especially with the rapid developments and changes happening daily in any business or profession. Studying the lives and habits of successful leaders and entrepreneurs, Michael Simmons of Empact has found a new, slightly altered approach that is less time-consuming, but just as effective as the “10,000-hour rule”. Simmons called it simply the “5-hour rule” [1].

Why it works

Realizing the downsides and misconceptions about the 10,000-hour rule, Simmons was able to find a pattern among the famous visionaries that included deliberate practice or learning for five hours a week or an hour a day. For most of us, the mere idea of having to spend the 10,000 hours on learning or practicing seems overwhelming. The 5-hour approach, on the other hand, gives results simply because it creates a habit of constant work on developing and improving skills, without the work-hard-till-you-burn-out mindset. Each of us can set aside one hour a day to work on improving ourselves, in any way we want to.

Advertising

Many entrepreneurs today tend to neglect all aspects of their life that don’t belong to their work. In this way, they harm their close relationships and their health. That is why the 5-hour rule is so effective since it provides people with the opportunity to build new skills or improve new ones without having to sacrifice family, friendships, their love life, or their health.

Advertising

As Simmons suggests, we should look at deliberate learning as a form of exercise. As our bodies need a minimum dosage of exercise per day for all of our organs to perform well, so do our brains need to be stimulated with newer and bigger challenges on a daily basis to be able to generate new ideas.

Advertising

How to implement the 5-hour approach

1. Practice mindfulness

Some of the most successful people take the time each day to meditate, do yoga, or engage in any activity that helps their brain rest so that they can focus better on their daily challenges. Oprah Winfrey sets aside a couple of minutes every morning to start her day with meditation as it helps her be more mindful during the day. To become more aware, more productive and improve any skill, we should take a few minutes each day to prepare our mind for the new day, by simply quieting our thoughts and focusing on breathing.

Advertising

2. Read

Another great practice we can learn from people like Oprah Winfrey, David Rubenstein, and Dan Gilbert, as Simons suggests[2], is reading. All of them spend at least one hour a day reading. Apart from it being a great relaxing activity as it helps us to quiet the noise of our thoughts, reading can also help us develop our skills and become experts.

3. Balance

As many highly successful people suggest, success doesn’t come from working harder, but working more productively. Instead of letting their work interfere with every other important part of their life, successful people have learned how to balance between being productive and enjoying quality time with their family. In this way, they are always in the present moment, and fully dedicated to each aspect of their life. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO at Virgin Money, uses the first hour after she wakes up to answer emails and read the news so that she can enjoy in regular morning activities with her family, without being distracted by work.

Advertising

Reference

More by this author

Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

How To Find Your Passion And Struggles You Might Encounter 2 Killer Tips You Should Master When Setting Goals For The New Year Stop Failing At Your Goals Again With This Habits Buidling Model Steady State vs Interval Training: Are You Exercising Towards Your Goal? 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next