The 5-Hour Rule – What is it and how is it done?

Last Updated on

March 10, 2023

Sadly, the 5-hour rule has nothing to do with binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. But that’s not to say you can't unwind and relax in front of your favorite flick, one of the biggest downfalls of the marketing world is the “hustle mentality”.

As entrepreneurs trying to build an online business, we need to level up in our knowledge as often as possible, while ensuring that we also take action on our newfound knowledge.

Let’s explore what the 5-hour rule is and how you can use it to create a better life and more successful business.

What is the 5-Hour Rule?

The 5-hour rule is a learning principle that involves dedicating 5 hours per week to learning, broken down into 1 hour per working day.

The man who gave meaning to the phrase, Michael Simmons of Empact, has written about the principle widely. Simmons made note of how Benjamin Franklin used the 5-hour rule in his daily life.

Benjamin Franklin was known to rise early to spend an hour every single day dedicated to reading, writing and personal development.

Franklin wasn’t the only notable person in history that has used the 5-hour rule. The likes of Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Zuckerberg have all been known to spend one hour a day dedicated to learning.

You know what they say, success leaves clues. Let’s explore how you can best implement the 5-hour rule into your life for maximum success.

How does the 5-Hour Rule Work?

It’s important to note that the 5-hour rule should not include working. It’s very easy to get mixed up between learning and working, so you need to set clear boundaries and plan ahead to ensure that you use your 5-hours correctly.

Here’s some learning activities that you can use to effectively implement the 5-hour rule into your daily routine.


The most obvious way to effectively learn for an hour is to read. Reading makes it easy to avoid distractions and disconnect, allowing you to focus on your hour of deliberate learning.

Bill Gates reads 50 books per year and recommends reading to anyone wanting to further their life or career.

Once you work out how many pages you can read in an hour, you’ll know how many books you might be able to get through in a week, month or year. It’s great to set goals and record your achievements.


Reflecting on what you’re learning is one of the keys to retaining knowledge. Bill Gates claims to make notes in the margins of his books as he reads, which helps to retain the information.

You don’t necessarily need to take notes while reading, but it is important to use some of your 5-hours per week to reflect on what you’ve learned.

Journaling is a great way to reflect, and it also has many other benefits such as stress relief and well-being.


It’s been said that knowledge without action is meaningless, and that’s why it's important to experiment with your learnings.

Try new things with your new-found knowledge and don’t be afraid to fail. Every experiment should be seen as a learning experience, an opportunity to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 5-hour rule?

The 5-hour rule is a learning principle that involves dedicated 5- hours per week to learning activities.

Why is it called the 5-hour rule?

It is called the 5-hour rule because the whole idea is to dedicate 5-hours per week, or one hour per working day, to your learning activity.

Who invented the 5-hour rule?

The 5-hour rule was created by Michael Simmons, the founder of Empact.

How many hours do successful people read a day?

It’s been said that entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban, Jack Ma, and Elon Musk read for one to three hours per day.

A Contrarian View on Reading

There’s no doubt that reading is one of the best ways to learn, but don’t let the entrepreneur hustle mentality push you into the wrong path.

Dedicating too much time into activities such as reading can actually be counterproductive if knowledge isn’t  applied.

Budding entrepreneurs should focus on creating more than consuming, or at least find a healthy middle-ground.


Is the 5-hour rule as amazing as some people make it out to be?

Well, sure, it might be pivotal in furthering someone’s knowledge. It’s pretty obvious how the 5-hour rule can help in learning and skill advancement, if done properly.

The key with the 5-hour rule is to apply it consistently and realistically. And who’s to say it has to be 5-hours?

What about the 2.5-hour rule? 30 minutes per day spent reading, reflecting and experimenting is better than nothing at all. And it might be all the time someone can handle.

No matter how much you can dedicate, the most important part is consistency.

Good luck on your learning journey!