The five-hour rule refers to spending at least five hours a week on improving your skill, and it's something practiced by Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and other very successful people, according to an article at inc.com.
The article's author, Michael Simmons, says he found that these leaders usually spent those five hours doing three things:
1. Reading. Oprah's dedication to reading is well known, and Simmons says entrepreneur Mark Cuban spends three hours a day reading.
2. Reflecting. This can take the form of meditation, brainstorming alone or with others, journaling, focusing on a particular issue while taking a walk, etc.
3. Experimenting. Simmons traces this back to Ben Franklin, who famously listed the qualities he wanted to exhibit and tracked his success daily. A modern example might be Richard Branson, who starts lots of businesses and quickly drops the ones that don't work out.
These days the unglamorous task of improving your skills, which often is not a lot of fun, tends to be overshadowed by stories of very young entrepreneurs and writers and artists who have huge success right away.
Unfortunately, for me and maybe for you it's too late to be a young genius, and I have to face the fact that i'm not even a middle-age genius. So continuing to try to improve is what's left. I'd better get started on this week's five hours...
PS: How to make sure you do it: I've found that the only way I consistently spend time on these kinds of tasks is to keep track of them day by day. You can do this on your calendar or whichever simple way works best for you.