The 5-Hour Rule For Life

Think photography might be a cool new hobby? Borrow a camera and try it for five hours. Then see if it’s worth adding to your life full-time.

I like to look at life as being a half-full bucket.

If you get too much water in the bucket it’s going to be difficult to carry around.

But if it’s less than half full you’re going to feel like you’re lacking for something. You will feel like you could carry more.

It’s a constant balance to make sure the bucket is right at or just about at half full.

We’re living in a unique time in human history. We have nearly unlimited options when it comes to how we can spend our time. A new game comes out? Instantly download it to our phones. See an interesting new product on the marketing? Open up the Amazon app, order it and it’s on your doorstep in two days or less.

But as I look around I see people carrying around too much water in their buckets. They’re trying too many things without shedding some of their previous water and it weighs them down. It leads to burnout. It leads to anxiety and even depression.

Here is a rule I use for trying new things.

First – How Full Is My Bucket?

When a new opportunity comes along, first look at your life. See if there is room for something new to come in. A new workout routine. A new hobby. A new side job. Anything, no matter how seemingly minor, will add weight to your life. Before you invest time, assess your bucket and see if there is potential room for something new.

Second – I’ll Give It 5 Hours

Next, a good way to determine if something is worth adding to your bucket, give it about five hours. Want to try podcasting? Do enough episodes so that you do about five hours. After that amount of time you’ll have a pretty good idea if you should add it to your life.

Five hours seems to be a sweet spot. It’s enough to really dive into something without just dipping your toe into the water. You really get to dive into it without really committing a whole lot of time. Five hours in the context of your life isn’t that much time. But it’s more than most people are willing to give something.

Final Thought

Another side of this rule is that you might feel bad about possibly wasting five hours of your life on something that may not affect you. You could spend, for example, five hours working on a podcast idea and decide not to do it. You could view that as wasteful and it might deter you from giving another five hours to something.

But that’s kind of where I find five hours to be that sweet spot. You won’t really feel like you’re wasting time when it’s just five hours. Heck, most of us have spent that much time in one day watching a show on Netflix.

Give something new five hours. If it proves to be something that you like and want to explore more, make sure you’re willing to remove something else from your bucket. Otherwise you’ll just be adding more weight to your life and you likely won’t get value from the new activity and other areas of your life will also suffer.

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