Be it a fad or not, there’s little doubt you’ve heard varying degrees of buzz about the 5 Hour Rule within the past year. Inc. brought this idea to the fore with a few short features, highlighting the utility of the principle and how some of the most accomplished names on the planet make use of the concept for continuous self-improvement, a concept that can be summed in a single word – change. The Japanese have actually added goodness to this simple concept through the term Kaizen, which means: To become good through change.

That said, self-improvement is a great practice for boosting your personal workflow and exercising self-development.

They hinted that the “rule” was a large part of these select individuals’ toolkits which lead to greater success, going so far as to say that “people who apply the five-hour rule in the world of work have an advantage.”

working woman the 5 Hour Rule,

But how does this apply to those who haven’t yet hit their stride, who may still be trying to educate themselves and improve their skills? Two central components of the rule–recognizing that education is a continual process that transcends schooling, and setting aside time every day specifically dedicated to learning–point to help for us all.

How The 5 Hour Rule Works

Civil rights leader Malcolm X once said that “education is the passport to the future.” In a sense, that’s one of the goals of the 5 Hour Rule—to prepare a little bit day-to-day to increase the likelihood of being prepared for the challenges tomorrow brings.

At its most basic, the concept works like this: set aside (at least) one hour each day to devote to “deliberate practice or learning.” Over the course of a five day week, those hours add up, hence the name “5 Hour Rule.”

It doesn’t matter what kind of learning you dedicate your focus to. It doesn’t matter if you use an online time clock like Clockspot to track your time or simply set your stopwatch. It’s not even important that you focus on learning the same thing every single time.


The important part is being consistent about setting aside time and using the time to push the boundaries of what you know.

Which isn’t to say that you can’t have goals for your learning sessions. Indeed, another article from Inc. plainly states that “planning out” learning is critical:

“This allows us to think carefully about what we want to learn. We shouldn’t just have goals for what we want to accomplish. We should also have goals for what we want to learn.”

By setting goals for what we want to learn, we can hone in on them through reading, engaging in challenging conversations, taking classes and more–incorporating learning into our lives the same way we would physical exercise.

How It Differs From Simply Working

Inc. also pointed out that focusing solely on work runs counter to the aims of self improvement laid out by the 5 Hour Rule:

“For many people, their professional day is measured by how much they get done. As a result, they speed through the day and slow down their improvement rate.”

Instead of obsessing over productivity, as we would in our professions, the 5 Hour Rule subverts the daily grind by shifting the focus to improvement.

laptop office website development

Also important to note is that this isn’t a mere “hack” or “trick” that you’re implementing to achieve greater success—it’s a lifestyle shift designed to help you become the “best possible version of yourself.”

Be sure to check out more about how lifelong learning is central to gaining an edge, and take some inspiration from those that have already blazed the trail to significantly augmenting their intelligence.

Wendy Dessler a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


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