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It’s a paradox that, when it comes to business, less time working can lead to better results. Whilst it may be tempting to work 24/7, taking some time out from your business can pay dividends when it comes to productivity. But time off doesn’t have to mean crashing out on the sofa and catching up on Netflix. Instead, take a cue from Benjamin Franklin and implement the five hour rule in your life.
The five hour rule involves taking one hour every weekday and doing something that contributes to your own personal growth. This can be anything from learning a new skill or reflecting on your day to reading a book. The practice allows you to become a constant learner, something that will serve you well in business. What’s more, spending an hour a day doing something that interests you is likely to result in lower stress levels, and higher life satisfaction.
So how to spend your hours? Here are some ideas:
In a world of smartphones and constant distraction, it can be hard to settle down and read a book. However, it’s no coincidence that many of the world’s greatest thinkers were also prolific readers. Reading is one of the best ways to expand your horizons, be that by checking out the latest in business thought, or diving into a biography. One word of advice – the hours you spend reading are supposed to stretch you, so leave the trashy crime novels for before bedtime.
Mindfulness is the buzzword of the moment – spending time thinking is certainly fashionable. Whether you want to try meditation or dedicate time to think about business goals, time spent in thought will not be wasted. The key here is not to pressurise yourself – if there is a niggling problem that you’d like to fix, don’t let it stress you out. Instead, think about things in a relaxed manner and consider out-of-the-box solutions.
Perhaps you have a long neglected hobby that you instantly know is a contender for that hour a day. Alternatively, is there something that has always interested you, that you have never felt you had the time to pursue. If you’re struggling to think of what you’d like to learn, why not use the opportunity learn coding? Learning to code is becoming increasingly important, could save you money and will give you an edge on your non-techy counterparts.
Journalling has numerous reported benefits including increased emotional intelligence, memory and creativity. If done regularly, journalling can help you gain greater insight into your feelings and actions. How you journal is up to you: you can keep a traditional diary, document your successes or simply use the time to jot down whatever comes into your mind. Twists on traditional journal keeping include using your journal as a tool for goal setting, or working through problems.
Why not use your hour a day to have discussions with somebody who inspires you? Perhaps you have a colleague who would be happy to discuss ideas and plans, or a mentor that you can call. Unstructured brain-storming sessions can lead to surprising ideas, whilst debate allows you to strengthen your negotiation skills and encourages you to think on your feet. You’ll reap the benefits in tense business meetings!
Have you implemented the five hour rule? Let us know on Twitter.
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