Last updated: 30.05.24

The 5 Hour Rule - Learning 5 Days a Week


Learning and development is something that many people want to devote time to as a way to keep improving their skills, expanding their knowledge and helping to advance their careers. But finding time to consume the relevant resources or practise a new skill can be difficult, and many people struggle to stick to a routine of devoting time to development.

There are a range of different methods for building a habit, but one which has been created specifically for learning is ‘the 5-hour rule’. In this article, we continue to explore the topic of a growth mindset by introducing the concept of ‘the 5-hour rule’, a method which can help develop a growth mindset for improved learning and personal development.

What is the 5 Hour Rule?

It’s said that the 5 hour rule was developed by Benjamin Franklin, so as a concept, it has been around for quite a while. The idea is that we should take an hour of every weekday to do some directed, purposeful learning, using the time to either learn a new skill, read, practise, reflect, determine goals or experiment. 

The 5 hour rule acknowledges there is always something new to learn or develop, therefore encouraging lifelong learning. It is a concept that is very much in line with a growth mindset and can be a really successful way of creating a positive change in mindset that leads to greater learning opportunities.

The 5-hour rule has been said to play a big part in many famous people’s success, from professional investor Warren Buffet to Microsoft’s Bill Gates, because it helps expand your mind and knowledge and helps build valuable insights. In today’s world, which is changing so rapidly with new technologies, concepts and thinking being introduced all the time, it is necessary more than ever for us to take that time to keep up to date.

How to Implement the 5 Hour Rule

Implementing the 5 hour rule of learning means building a habit of dedicating 60 minutes of your day to self-directed personal development. This can be really difficult at first, but by giving yourself a plan and using a range of resources to support your learning, you can build the habit and then continue to reap the benefits of this dedicated learning time.

There are various ways to use an hour dedicated to learning every day which encompass all different stages of learning, whether that is planning, learning, doing or reflecting. Below, we've highlighted some of the most effective approaches to use for the 5 hour rule for learning.


Training courses and resources are probably the method that will first come to mind for most people. Finding the time to complete any training is always hard, and this is where an hour of learning comes in useful, whether it is training you have been assigned or an area you have identified yourself.

Finding training courses to work through every day can also be a good way to get into the five hour rule habit because you don’t have to decide what you’re going to do, you just have to continue working through the resource. It’s also a really versatile approach because there are so many different types of training courses out there, from niche skills development to general personal development training

Feed your Curiosity

We’re much more likely to be motivated to learn when we’re driven by a genuine passion or interest. Using the 5 hour rule to feed your curiosity about topics that you’ve never had time to delve into is a really great way to make sure you’re engaged with whatever you’re doing during this hour of learning.

If you decide to schedule your hour of learning whilst you’re at work, is there any area of the business or a role that you want to know more about, or that you feel would help you in your role? This hour could be the perfect opportunity to do just that, whether it’s shadowing someone or arranging a meeting to learn more.

Spend Time Reading

Lots of successful leaders say that reading plays a significant part in their success. Therefore, we recommend using this hour to take the time to read up on the topic you want to explore.

If reading is something that you find difficult to focus on, expand this to listening to webinars, podcasts, or watching videos. Anything which informs you about a new topic or expands on one you want to explore further.

Practise and Reflect

Research has shown that if the knowledge you learn isn’t acted on or reflected upon, the knowledge is rapidly lost. Therefore, you need to make the time to both try out your newly acquired knowledge and reflect on it, which can be done in the 5 hour rule sessions that follow your learning something new.

Reflection can be applied to anything, not just what you have practised. It might be what you have learnt in a training session, or read about in an article.

This method can be applied to any skill, but let’s take presentation skills as an example. Imagine you have identified a new presentation technique you want to practise and take the chance at your next opportunity. Rather than just leaving it at that, you would then consciously take the time after to reflect on how it went. This doesn’t have to be an isolated activity either; it may include asking for feedback from honest colleagues, or filming it and watching it back.

Research has shown that deliberate, disciplined reflection is a vital part of our acquisition of knowledge, and one that is often overlooked, with time often being the key factor. But now, with this hour, you can make sure you have the time to carry out the necessary reflection.


One of the most underrated ways of learning is through discussion, which could be in person or online via a social learning platform. There may be a topic that you and a colleague both want to learn about, so discussing your ideas and thoughts would be fundamental to the learning process. 

Walking meetings are also becoming more and more popular, and we believe that is partially because they provide space to fully focus on the topic at hand without any distractions. If you’ve got ideas or a topic you’re trying to get to grips with then a great way to spend the hour is by talking it through to cement your understanding. If the person you’re discussing with gets to learn as well or consolidate their own study, that’s an added bonus!


The five hour rule can also be a space to get creative with your learning and development. There may be ideas you have wanted to try but haven’t been able to implement or are worried that they might turn out to be worthless. But when you view this time as an opportunity to work on your development however you wish, it can take some of the pressure off to be productive.

Whether your ideas are successful or not, there will always be something to be learnt. Facing the unknown full-on is an important part of developing a growth mindset, which is another valuable use of the 5 hour rule time.

Future Goals and Ideas

Our final piece of advice about how to implement a 5 hour rule learning plan is to use this time to think about what goals you want to achieve, and how you might get there, or use it to track goals you have already made. This ties in with reflection and can spark ideas for how to use further hours.

A key part of sticking to a continuous learning plan is giving yourself a structure and direction that makes it easy to immediately get started whenever you come to your dedicated hour. By using your time to plan what you’re going to do in future sessions, you make it easier to continue to keep the habit.

The 5 Hour Rule Learning at Work

Now that you understand the general premise of the 5 hour rule and how you can implement it, how can you apply this to learning and development at work?

If you’re an employee who is given resources and support for professional development, you can use the five hour rule as a way of dedicating time to building your skills and increasing your knowledge. Whether you’re given this time within your working hours or you make a habit of devoting an hour after work to further learning every day, this model of learning is a great way to give yourself a structure for learning and development.

If you’re responsible for learning and development at your organisation, you can also use the five hour rule as a model for giving employees the time to utilise the resources and support available. You might not be able to give your whole workforce an hour of time every day, but even starting with a dedicated hour of L&D time a week can start helping to form a valuable habit. If you educate your teams on 5 hour rule learning as well, you can encourage them to implement the approach outside of work.


What is an example of the 5-hour rule?

An example of the 5 hour rule at work would be a company giving employees the last hour of every day for personal development. There might be online resources provided for this learning or it might be a time when meetings are scheduled between employees for mentoring, feedback or progression planning.

What are the benefits of the 5 hour rule?

One of the key benefits of the five hour rule is that it gives you a structured framework for learning that allows you to build a habit of spending a bit of time every weekday on personal development. Another benefit is that, by devoting a little bit of time every day to growth, you keep yourself in a continuous state of improvement and expansion, which is great for your career prospects in the long-term.

How much time a day should you spend learning?

The five hour rule of learning suggests that you should spend one hour every weekday learning. However, this might not be possible or accessible to everyone, so an alternative is to give yourself a shorter slot of time for learning every day, or try and find an hour a day a couple of times a week, or even just once a week. What’s important is trying to make this time for learning a regular thing, as this will help you to turn it into a habit.


Using learning and development time like the 5 hour rule can be a great way to encourage a positive change in mindset, which is essential for long-term growth and development at work and in your personal life. At work, you can introduce this hour a day of purposeful learning into your learning culture and in the long run it will help employees develop and grow, leading to better productivity.

If you’re interested in learning more about developing a growth mindset, we have a wealth of online resources available. Whether it is our ‘Growth Mindset’ online course or our full Personal and Professional Development Training Package, we’ve got the topic covered.