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The 5-Hour Rule That Turns Ordinary People Into Successful Ones

The 5-Hour Rule That Turns Ordinary People Into Successful Ones

You work hard day after day, but never see any long-term improvement. You feel trapped at your current level, unable to move forward or progress. You see friends and colleagues moving on and getting promoted, and wonder what’s different about you.

If this sounds like you, then you need to start using the 5-hour rule. Followed by successful people around the world, including Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Zuckerberg, this simple rule can help you transform from ordinary to successful.[1]

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Read on to find out exactly what the rule involves and how you can implement it in your own life.

Spend 5 Hours A Week On Deliberate Learning

The 5-hour rule involves spending five hours a week, or one hour each working day, focused on deliberate learning. This means setting aside time to give your full attention to learning and development, without getting distracted by other work. This learning can take different forms and a mix of these will give you the most well-rounded experience.

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Reading

Reading is a habit of many highly successful people and is an easy and convenient way to learn. Try keeping a book in your bag at all times and setting yourself up with reading goals each week. You could aim to read a chapter a day or a certain number of books each month. The wide availability of eBooks makes reading on almost any topic possible wherever you are. Bill Gates is a famous advocate of reading and reads around 50 books each year, crediting it as one of the main ways that he learns.[2]

Reflection

Reflection is a key part of learning. Trying to consume too much information without reflecting on it can lead you to feel overwhelmed and prevents you from picking up new skills. It’s important that your reflection time is structured, or you could get distracted. Try keeping a journal, which will allow you to reflect on what you’ve learned through reading. It will also give you the chance to think about lessons you’ve recently learned during work and develop ideas you have for the future.

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Experimentation

Experimentation is essential if you want to progress in life. Set aside some time each week to test out new theories or ideas, no matter how crazy they are. Some of the most successful products in the world have come about as a result of experimentation. Innovation never comes from doing the same thing over and over. Even if your experiment fails, you’ll have learned valuable lessons.

Don’t Confuse Working With Learning

It’s easy to confuse working with learning, and this is how you can end up feeling stuck. You might think that working for 40 hours a week should be enough for you to see improvement, but that’s rarely the case. While you’re focused on day-to-day problems, you’re not giving yourself time to develop and grow. The 5-hour rule is about deliberate learning, not about going to work everyday and hoping you might learn something. Set yourself specific learning goals and give yourself time to achieve them, and you’ll see a vast amount of improvement.

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Focus On Improvement, Not Just Productivity

You might believe that the more productive you are, the more successful you’ll be. Productivity plays a role in success, but it’s nothing without lifelong learning. If you’re constantly focused on your current work, rather than on long-term self-improvement, you’ll never see much development. It can be hard to allow yourself five hours a week for learning that doesn’t come with an immediate reward, but you’ll thank yourself for it in the long run. Try to look beyond your daily paycheck and dedicate time to becoming the best possible version of yourself instead.

Take inspiration from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and spend 5-hours a week on deliberate learning. You’ll soon be light years ahead of your friends and colleagues, and well on your way to success.

Reference

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Eloise Best

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

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

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

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.

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From Making 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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