TWIL: This Week I Learned


A few years ago I read an article about The 5-Hour Rule which is a method a lot of successful people follow to keep improving themselves. The idea is to spend 5 hours a week (or one hour each working day) focused on deliberate learning. During that daily period of time, you dedicate your full attention to some form of learning. Sadly, I lost the link to that article, but there are plenty others that explain it, such as this one by Michael Simmons: 5-Hour Rule: If you’re not spending 5 hours per week learning, you’re being irresponsible.

Since this requires some self-discipline, I found it easier to implement the rule as a team principle in the company I was working for at the time. And that is how TWIL was born. TWIL stands for “This Week I Learned” and it was a weekly email that each team member had to send to all other members with the list of things he/she had learned that week, with links to the source material (if applicable). These things could be anything, from deep technical things to cooking recipes, as long as it was something new for that person. Also, nothing is too basic or too simple to be allowed on a person’s TWIL. There is no shame in posting something everyone else in the team already knew.

TWIL was created with two main goals:

  1. Act as a motivator for the 5-hour rule. Since you need to send your TWIL each week, you feel pressured to actually spend those 5 hours learning something new.
  2. Improve knowledge sharing amongst team members. Many times, I would spend some of my learning time reading stuff that others had included in their TWIL from the week before.

Together with my friend Manuel T. Gomes, which was also part of that team, we have decided to make our TWIL public in our websites. Maybe we’ll end up creating a weekly newsletter or video but, for now, I’ll post it as an article in this blog.

Let me know if this helps you.

Photo by Shiromani Kant on Unsplash