the eight-hour rule

the eight-hour rule

“This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repaired in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me.” 

— Ben Franklin

It’s well established that the most successful people amongst us, no matter their field of work, are lifelong learners. Big names like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are voracious readers and devote significant amounts of time every day to learning new ideas and insights.

If you’re new to the personal growth world or have been facing challenges in keeping up with a consistent reading routine, here’s a suggestion for you. Let’s call it “the eight-hour rule.” As Ben Franklin advises, spend eight hours per week (one hour each day Monday through Saturday, and two hours on Sunday) focused on reading and learning new ideas and insights. Choose the approach that works for you. It can be reading for 15 minutes in the morning and then listening to an audiobook for 45 minutes while commuting. Or listening to an audiobook for 30 minutes during your morning run and 30 minutes later during the day while doing household chores. There are no hard and fast rules. The most important thing is creating a learning plan and sticking to it every single day. You must make it a daily habit, like brushing teeth or having a hot cup of joe in the morning. On Sundays, since you have more time in hand, doubling your personal development efforts to make it a total of eight hours for the week shouldn’t be challenging. 

Of course, you can go beyond an hour per day if you like during the week, but you must stick to a minimum of one hour every day. Over time, the small amount of time that you devote to reading will add up and as you gather momentum, you’ll be able to finish more books and audio programs and hence accelerate your learning journey via the Compound Effect

On average, it takes about seven hours to read a book. So, if you spend eight hours per week reading or listening, you’ll be able to finish 60 books in total each year (i.e. five books per month). 

Reading is a life-changing habit. You never truly know which book might have a profound impact on your life, and the more you learn, the better circumstances you create for yourself, both personally and professionally. So, start implementing the eight-hour rule today and get started on this incredible and never-ending journey of personal development. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life.

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PS: If you’re inspired and ready to start your learning journey right away, I encourage you to have a look at my short and easy-to-read books in The Daily Learner series. I’m sure it’ll be a great entry point for you in this epic adventure. Good luck!