Skillsoft Blog

Take Time Every Day to Improve

By Chris Thompson, Director of Business
Development, Skillsoft

I learned of a concept that I strongly believe will be extremely beneficial
to everyone, regardless of what type of career you have. It’s called “Five
@ 5:00.”

The concept is actually pretty simple. It’s all about personal daily
improvement by taking five minutes out of your day to both learn something new
and conduct a little self-reflection.

The concept was created by Taavo Godtfredsen, an Executive Producer at
Skillsoft. Taavo is responsible for much of Skillsoft’s leadership development
offerings and regularly works with executives at some of the world’s largest
and most successful companies.

It’s fair to say that we all want to get better at our jobs and grow
personally and professionally. But there is always one challenge we all have,
and it’s a lack of time. The Five @ 5:00 concept squashes the lack of time
excuse pretty quickly. After all, who can’t afford to dedicate five minutes a
day to doing something new?

So here’s how it works. Every day, you block out five minutes on your
calendar. It’s recommended to set up a recurring meeting on your Outlook
calendar so it’s locked in every day and stays there. During this brief five
minutes, you start with self-reflection and ask yourself three questions. The
questions can be whatever you want. The key is to ensure they are related to
improving yourself in and outside of work.

The three questions that I have started asking myself every day are:
“Did I provide positive feedback to someone I manage today?”
“Did I give someone feedback and coaching that will help improve their
skills?” “Did I do my best to ensure the time I have with my family
is quality time?”

For me, these three questions are relevant, but again, you should make your

After you’ve finished reflecting on the questions, use the remaining time to
learn something new. This can be done through quick videos, online tutorials or
simply reading something relevant to your world in a book or other publication.

During my “Five @ 5:00” recently, I watched a three-minute video
clip of Stephen Covey explaining the “sharpening the saw” theory.
This is known as Covey’s seventh habit of highly effective people, and it
supports the “Five at 5:00” concept well. Covey said that taking time
to improve yourself is one of the greatest investments of time you can make.
For me, this video was extremely helpful, as it hit on topics that are timely
for me.

In the video, Covey said to pretend you just had a heart attack and are
dieting and exercising accordingly. He then said to pretend like everything you
say about someone can be overheard by that person and to speak accordingly. He
suggests pretending like two years is the half-life of your current job and to
plan accordingly. And lastly, he said to pretend like you have a quarterly
meeting with your creator and to live your life accordingly.

In this brief video, I took away a few solid ideas that will help me
improve in my professional and personal life. And best of all, it only took
three minutes out of my day. While the concept of “Five at 5:00” is
simple and fairly easy to do, the key is to make sure you are spending time
every day to enhance and improve your skills and also to do some
self-reflecting so you are able to make constant improvements in your life.

don’t try the time excuse. We all have an extra five minutes in our day.

Learn more

Watch Taavo Godtfredsen explain the Five @ 5:00 in his own words.

Chris Thompson’s article was originally published in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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