The 5 hour rule is a simple rule which points to the fact that of the many successful people in human history most of them have adhered to the 5 hour rule. They spend one hour each day or 5 hours a workweek learning or practicing. 

This one hour is utilized differently by different people. This might be used to learn new things or to read a book. But learning something is a common trait in successful people. It is said, “if you don’t possess any physical strengths you should possess the strength of knowledge.”

Warren Buffett reads 500 pages every day, Bill Gates consumes more books than anyone else. Learning is the only common link between all successful people.

The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, the founder of empact, Who has written many articles on this topic. The idea is pretty simple: No matter how busy you are or how bad things are on your end. Always spend one hour each day or 5 hour work week on learning or practicing. And do this throughout the career.

The rule is also for employees who want to have an edge on their professional careers. Setting aside 1 hour each day to learn new skills or master the art will make you stand out from your colleagues in the workplace.

What is the 5 Hour Rule.?

The basics of the 5 hour rule are quite simple and straightforward. Over the period of time, the most successful people are constant and deliberate learners. These individuals take 5 hours a week or one hour each day to improve themselves and expand their knowledge.

The idea was coined by Michael Simmons who has written extensively on the topic. Simmons mentions in his articles that many of the successful people in human history have directly or indirectly used the rule in their life.

5 hour rule

One of the earliest recorded data about the usage of the 5 hour rule was Benjamin Franklin who used to daily setting aside time to learn. Franklin generally did this in the morning, waking up early to read and write. 

 Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

He established personal goals based on his learnings and tracked his results.  He also experimented with his new data and asked reflective questions each day.

The rule is also followed by people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey.

One of the most astonishing things is how Bill Gates consistently reads books(Mostly Non-Fictions). The Netflix Documentary Inside Bill’s Mind gives a first-hand view of how Bill Gates tries to solve problems.

The main approach and method Gates uses is by simply studying the subject, be it waste management or health care. A similar approach is used by Elon Musk, who is said to have read the entire library. 

On being asked how did he start with SpaceX, a domain of which he is not an expert. He said it’s simple you need to sit down and read, that’s the only way. 

The 5 hour rule is not for short-term improvement. After analyzing, you might hardly see any gain over a small period of time. The rule is meant for long-term improvement, by doing small things and practicing every day.

3 Components of 5 Hour Rule

The most important factor which is required for the 5 hour rule is TIME. The more consistent you are with your practice it will reap the benefits in the long run.

On the contrary, Short term productivity gives some results quick but over the long run is the least efficient.

5 hour rule

Learn: Learning is the most important part of the 5 hour rule. Learning can be done through various means. Many people prefer reading books as one of the ways. I use this time for watching tutorials and learning new skills like Facebook ads or Youtube. I also have set aside separate time for reading books that provide value and help me grow. 

Reflect: Reflection is the key point in personal growth. Learning will be of no use without reflection of the skill. You can do this by journaling your growth, taking feedback, etc. Analyzing your skills daily helps you to track your goals. This is kind of similar to tracking habits. Every day block some time for reflection and try to evaluate was deliberate learning for that day any useful.

Experiment: Deliberate practice also needs experimentation. Test out new theories, because sticking to the old one will take you nowhere. Gmail is said to be a company employee’s small experiment to create something to communicate. Later the company turned it into a product. Experimenting is to put things you learn into practice. You might fail, but that’s the whole point, if you don’t fail you don’t learn.

Marginal changes every day will give you results that you never imagined. But the important thing is to keep up with the practice every day. 

Final Thoughts

The most successful people are the ones who are still learning new things. You will never be out of things to learn. People who stop succeeding are the ones who stopped learning.

Like all good things, this too takes time. Setting aside one hour every day and at the end of a month, a year you will have a new skill. This one new skill will be the edge you have over other people.


Hey, I am Chetan Poojari the founder of Geeksla. I work as a Product Manager and also an Online Content Creator. A travel and tech junkie who writes articles to simplify complex things.

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