This article has been translated from our English edition.
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You just got home after a hard day at work. You are hungry and exhausted, you just want to catch your breath for a minute. You have something to eat and then you sit in front of the television. Suddenly you realize that you have five episodes of “Luis Miguel, the series”.
While this is fine from time to time, we all need ways to decompress and “cool down” from day to day, this is not one Healthy habit. That’s why the most successful people in the world learn in their spare time.
This is not exactly new. During his five-year study of more than 200 millionaires, Thomas Corley found that they don’t watch television. Instead, an impressive 86 percent said they spent time readbut not just for fun. In addition, 63 percent said they heard audio books on their morning commute to the office.
Productivity expert Choncé Maddox writes: “It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire reads two or more books a month.” Therefore, it is recommended that everyone “read blogs, news sites, fiction, and nonfiction during downtime so that you can immerse yourself in more knowledge.” If you are constantly on the move, you can listen to audiobooks or podcasts.
You may be thinking: who has time to sit and read? Between work and family it is almost impossible to find free time. As an entrepreneur and a parent, I can understand you, but only up to a point. After all, if Barack Obama could take time to read in the White House, what excuses could you have? Obama even thanked books for helping him survive his presidency.
The former President of the United States is nowhere near the only leader who attributes his success to reading. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Jack Ma are voracious readers. Like Gates said The New York TimesReading “is one of the most important methods I learn, and has been since I was a child.”
How do you find the time to read every day? Stick to the five hour rule.
Breaking the five-hour rule
The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, the founder of Empact. The concept is wonderfully simple: no matter how busy successful people are, they “always devote at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) to activities that can be classified as intentional learning practices throughout their careers.”
Simmons attributes this phenomenon to Ben Franklin. “Throughout Ben Franklin’s adult life, he consistently invested about an hour a day in conscious learning. I call this Franklin Rule five hours: one hour a day, every day of the week,” wrote Simmons.
For Franklin, his study time consisted of getting up early to read and write. You set personal goals and follow your results. In the spirit of today’s book clubs, he founded a club for “like-minded, ambitious craftsmen and merchants who hoped to improve while advancing their community”. He also experimented with his new information, asking thoughtful questions every morning and evening.
The three points of the five-hour rule
Today’s successful leaders have embraced Franklin’s Five Hour Rule by breaking the rule into three categories.
1. Read: Homemade millionaires like Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert, owners of the Cleveland Cavaliers, read between one and three hours a day. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets that lead to SpaceX by reading. Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, not only expands his knowledge, but says that “readers are more likely to be familiar with different strategies and tactics from other industries compared to others”.
Start with 20-30 minutes, even if you can’t commit to reading an hour or more per day. I always have a book with me. So when I’m waiting for a meeting to start or in a doctor’s office waiting room, I can read instead of wasting time on my smartphone. You can also try out audiobooks during your daily commute or exercise.
Reflect: In other cases, the five-hour rule involves thinking and thinking. This could just be looking at the wall or writing your thoughts down. Jack Dorsey and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner are well known practitioners of this.
Analyzing the past gives you an opportunity to learn from the mistakes you made and evaluate what you did right. This will make you better prepared to meet your goals and improve your life. The University of Texas also found that calm and mental reflection improve learning.
Do you need help getting started? Plan the reflection time in your agenda. I’ve found that the 15-20 minutes after lunch is ideal for me to meditate. But start small: take five to ten minutes a day to think and then work your way up so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Know the questions you want to ask. Stick to just two or three questions that focus on a specific day. For example, if you attended a conference, ask yourself, “What were the main results?” and “How can I apply this to my company?”
Experience: The third and final point of the five-hour rule is to experiment quickly. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.
The reason experiments are so useful is because you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments will show you what works. You can learn from your mistakes and get feedback from others. Best of all, experimenting isn’t that time consuming. Most of the time, you are trying the same activities that you would do without testing.
Jack Ma even recommends applying what you have learned to a real environment. For example, if you’ve read a book about collaboration and teamwork, you can get a new volunteer job to capitalize on that knowledge.
Making learning a habit will make you more successful and productive in life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure that you are growing your business and yourself.