Skillsoft Blog

Take Time Every Day to Improve

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 own.

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.

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

By Chris Thompson, Director of Business
Development, Skillsoft

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

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