Setting time aside for learning can not only broaden your horizons but also boost your eventprof career and open a realm of opportunities. Here’s how you can do it.
As eventprofs we are always looking for ways to cut down our ever-increasing workload, be better time-managers and boost our organisation and productivity. Sometimes though we have to add even more things to our plate in order to truly progress and become better – and the 5-hour rule is one of these things that can really make a difference.
What is the 5-hour Rule?
We’ve all famously heard of the 10,000 hour rule created by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers who stated this was the amount of practice hours needed to become an expert in any field. While this may be true, 10,000 hours is a daunting task for anyone, let alone anyone with an eventprofs schedule, and as everyone has different starting skillsets and talents, sometimes more than mindless practice is needed.
Essentially, the 5-hour rule works on ‘deliberate practice’ and while this may take various shapes and forms throughout your career path, the idea is to learn and practice on purpose, by guiding the learning to suit what you need and planning when and how you will do it.
Ultimately the 5-hour rule is this:
“Spend 1 hour per day, 5 days per week focusing on deliberate learning or practice to meet your goals.”
The idea behind it is that successful people use long-term efforts to improve by consistently learning rather than being productive over the short-term.
Although the phrase has been coined more recently by several modern entrepreneurs, this technique actually dates back to Benjamin Franklin, who as a famous author, inventor and entrepreneur himself used to invest an hour per day on every weekday consistently, This is often why it is sometimes referred to as Franklin’s 5-hour rule.
Benjamin Franklin is not the only successful person to have used this rule, and it is just as relevant now as it was then. With the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey using the 5-hour rule it is easily adaptable to every niche and personality looking for success.
Making It Successful
In order to be ‘deliberate practice’ and learning, it needs to be intentional and to make this successful extra thought needs to go into what and how you are going to go about things. Reading is great but if you don’t read something useful that is going to help, there was no point in including it in the practice.
Structure – Whether it is writing down goals or a to-do list give the hour some structure. You don’t have to solidly read for an hour as this can be monotonous and demotivating for some, but as long as you know what you want to achieve and do, much like in a working day, you are more likely to achieve it. While the 5-hour rule will take time to build up your new skillset, structure will help avoid going off on tangents and keep you focused on where you want to go.
Prioritize – You may want to make a lot of changes in various areas which require new skills, learning and practice, but you should first determine what is the most important to work on first. Prioritizing also means ensuring that this hour comes first, which can be daunting in light of your other workload but the 5-hour rule doesn’t work if you don’t stick to it and make it a daily habit.
One of the ways you can do this is by scheduling your hour each day so that you know when it starts and finishes so you can treat it like any other appointment on your calendar, don’t move it or schedule over the top and ensure you don’t decide to “just do it later” make it a priority. Prioritizing will also help you to avoid adding too much workload to your plate and going over the hour which can disrupt other areas and be too much.
Seek Progression – If you are committing an hour per day, you want it to be productive and mean something, this means you should always include practice and learning that will benefit you in a forward progression, not something that is similar to what you already have. Build upon the skills you have and make yourself better or find a new area entirely. Often you will find that you cannot start one area before learning another, or one skill might be more relevant to your career now, while the other is better for the future. Whatever you chose, let it make you a better eventprof and be worth the time you put in.
Ideas for Eventprofs
The areas you identify and concentrate on will be very specific to your own personal and career development. Think of the areas that you are less confident or knowledgeable in. For example you may want to focus on some of these areas:
- project management
- event budgeting
- meeting design
- data and analytics
- event marketing
- social media
- sponsorship and generating revenue
- facilitation techniques
- event technology
- sales techniques
Fitting It In
Finding an hour per day can be difficult, but adjusting your day to squeeze in the hour can have untold benefits. Some of the ways you could do this are:
Evenings – Sitting down when you get home in a more relaxed environment can better help you to focus and while it is not ideal to bring work home with you it can make it more enjoyable by being in a comfortable environment and make you more eager to learn and return the following day.
You could set up a special reading nook in your home or if you already work from home, create a desk and designated working space so that you can read, learn and practice without interfering with your work-life balance too excessively.
Mornings – For many people, first thing when they get into work can be their most motivated and productive hours of the day because they are fresh from a good night’s sleep and prepared. Or even consider getting up an hour earlier and focusing on it before 9am? Or using your morning commute more effectively? While your mind is fresh, start your deliberate learning as you will retain more and it will help you feel like you have accomplished something at the beginning of the day, leading to more motivation and productivity throughout. If you are not a morning person, DO NOT try to learn anything at these times as you will only be wasting an hour of your time, instead schedule easy tasks such as checking your emails that don’t require as much focus.
Trading Priorities – Trade one job for another and prioritize what is more important. Can you do your emails later? Is there something that could wait until tomorrow when you are less busy? Asking yourself what you can trade often leads to better organisation and can help you to better prioritize what you should actually be doing in your day which makes your workload lighter.
Streamlining – We all have those time sucking tasks that have to be done but eat away at your day, but these can be streamlined in some way? Whether it is delegating to others or creating templates for repetitive tasks to save time. Either way making yourself more efficient at these tasks makes you more productive and therefore gives you some extra time elsewhere to fit in your deliberate practice.
Sacrifice – This can be the hardest choice where there is no other option because it is difficult to determine what should be sacrificed and what needs to be done, often you end up giving up something you want to do in favor of the essentials. Although it is not always recommended, often eventprofs take a working lunch break, and this can offer the perfect opportunity to utilize deliberate practice and learning by switching out what you normally do in favor of this progression because you are investing in yourself, so it is a good use of your time.
How To Use Your Hour
There are many different areas of deliberate practice and learning such as:
Reading – Whether these are academic studies, reports on current event trends or biographies of successful entrepreneurs you want to imitate, it all counts as long as the content is relevant towards your goals.
Reflection – You can use this time to determine your strengths and weaknesses or reflect upon previous events that went well or badly by asking yourself questions about the situation. This deep thinking can help boost learning and experience and to learn from your mistakes.
Research – You may want to research career path options, new event ideas, demographic changes or areas that you could progress into but be careful as research can lead “down the rabbit hole” of procrastination so always make sure you stay focused on what is relevant.
Experimentation – Test out some new skills that you have learned or turn some of your new reflective ideas into actions or an action plan to implement.
Goals and Tracking – Use this time to determine if you are meeting your goals and track your progress or next steps. Make a set of goals and breakdown how you will get there and you may also find your answer on what to do next during your practice hour.
Actual Practice – Of course, use this hour to get some time in and practice, this could be marketing copy writing, sales calls or influential speaking that can all help your career, just make sure it is a useful and worthy skill to spend your time on.
Whether you are looking to learn a new skill, career progression or a new career path entirely, the 5-hour rule can help you get there if you have the drive and the ability to prioritize it. Following our guidelines for success it is a useful tool to make you a better eventprof and improve your skillset around your current schedule.