The 5 hour rule is the best system for self-development

How much time per week do you spend on your education? Perhaps you even forgot this word right after graduation? Well, it's never too late to remember, especially since, as practice shows, it doesn't take that much.

Just five hours a week is enough to significantly raise the level of your knowledge and, no less important, to achieve certain practical results. How to use these 5 hours with maximum efficiency, read our article.


What is the 5 hour rule for?

Knowledge is the new gold of the 21st century. The development of technology is far ahead of the development of old, traditional teaching methods. It's getting harder and harder to stay one step ahead. Especially in today's pace of life, when the competition for every minute is extremely high.

The only way out is self-education. You must constantly learn something new. Look for ways to improve your competence, not only within the main specialization, but also beyond it. Cross-disciplinary integration is another trend of the modern world, which often leads to amazing results.

And this is not only a requirement of the modern era: all great people were constantly engaged in self-education. Of the 200 millionaires surveyed, 67% do not watch TV, 86% of them read books daily, and 63% listen to audiobooks. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, David Rubenstein – all these people became famous not only for creating large companies, but also for the fact that they devote a lot of time to self-education.

Of course, we all remember the survivorship bias, which means that 5 hours a week for self-education, of course, does not guarantee that you will be among the famous rich people. However, it is worth remembering that the vast majority of them used this rule in one way or another.


What is the 5 hour rule?

The 5 Hour Rule is a system of ongoing self-education that requires you to set aside at least five hours a week for learning, reflection, and experimentation.

In the classic version, this means that every working day you are engaged in self-education for one hour. The outstanding American politician Benjamin Franklin acted exactly according to this scheme. Taking into account the fact that there are 112 working hours per week (8 hours for sleep), this is only 4,4% of the total time. Keep in mind that we spend no less on food.

5 hours a week for the development of your brain is the bare minimum, like mandatory hygiene procedures for the body. Every day you wash your face, brush your teeth, do exercises, etc. It's time to take care of your intellect. If you have the opportunity and desire, study more. But no less. As Randal Stephenson (CEO of AT&T) said, "those who don't spend 5 to 10 hours a week on education will soon become obsolete in the technological sense of the word."


3 pillars of self-education

Quality education does not mean only the acquisition of knowledge. You must also be able to process the information received and apply it in practice. In this regard, we have identified three key practices that you should follow in the process of self-learning.


1. Reading

We have already mentioned the role reading plays in the lives of many successful people.

Now your task is to introduce yourself into the habit of reading every day. Make a list of books that will help you develop in your field and devote at least 20 minutes a day to them. It's not difficult at all, even with the busiest schedule. Thanks to the availability of e-books, you can read anywhere and at any given time. For example, using a smartphone or tablet, you can read in transport, queues, breaks, and so on.

How you read is also important. There are many recommendations for effective reading, but here I would like to highlight one key one. Get a notebook and make notes there – brief notes, interesting thoughts, your personal questions, comments and ideas. This will be very useful to you in the next stage of self-education.


2. Thinking

All the information obtained at the previous stage is important not only to remember, but also to analyze. Refer to your reading notes and reflect on them. Look for additional data if there are any unclear points.

And, most importantly, answer yourself the question: “How exactly can I apply the acquired knowledge in life?”. This is an important point, because it depends on whether you get real, practical benefits from reading.


3. Experimentation

One of the secrets of Google's success is that in their work they profess the principle of "20 percent time". According to it, employees can allocate 20% of their working time to experimenting and implementing their ideas. For example, this is how the world's largest mail service Gmail appeared.

Like reading and thinking, setting up experiments is one of the most important ways of understanding the world around us. As a result of the experiment, you supplement theoretical knowledge with something real, which is confirmed in practice.

Refer to the ideas that come to you in the process of reading and analyzing. And think about how you can put them into practice, even in a very truncated, simplified form. Say, if you want to try yourself as a speaker, just prepare an original birthday greeting for a friend. It will take a little time and effort, but you can definitely evaluate your capabilities.



The 5 hour rule is the bare minimum you should set for yourself in order to educate yourself. Of course, only if you want to achieve really serious success. How exactly you will distribute these 5 hours between the three practices (reading, thinking, experimenting) is already a matter of your personal preferences and capabilities.