First of all, the 80/20 rule is not about economics or maths (even though it may sound like it), so let’s get that straight from the start! However, this rule does apply to your life (and everyone else’s life) so it’s very important that you are aware of it and can start manipulating it for your own benefit (in the way you study or in any other field you choose).
The 80/20 rule (which was created by Vilfredo Pareto by the way) tells us that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes. In simple English, this means that you create most of your big results (the 80% part) from a small number of your actions (the 20% part). Now, how might this apply to you, your life and your studies do you think? Have you figured it out yet?
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of what we achieve is a direct result of 20% of the actions we take. In this context, what it is telling us is that a small portion of the things we do each day create the majority of our outcomes. Now, the ratio may not really be 80/20 – it could even be 99/1 – but the point remains that there are a small number of certain activities you engage in each an every day which are creating most of your happiness (or unhappiness) and most of your results (whether they are good or bad).
It’s not hard to see how this rule applies to your life so let’s look at some basic examples which will apply to you. Let’s think about your social life (hopefully you have one!) The reality is that you almost certainly spend 80% or more of your social time with 20% or less of the people you know. Think about it. Do you spend most of your time with a few close friends? Or you may spend 80% or more of your time sending texts, calling and chatting online with 20% or less of your contacts. What about food habits? Do you eat 20% or less of the foods that are available or that you could possibly eat 80% or more of the time? In other words, do you constantly eat the same or similar foods each day? I bet you do! We all do it.
We now know that the 80/20 rule is telling us that there are only a handful of things we do each day which are creating almost all of our results (or lack of results!) So, the first point to take away today is that in order to have the most impact you must focus on the 20% that is impacting your 80% – and then disregard the rest. That’s right, find your 20% and then forget everything else.
There is absolutely no point focusing on the 80% of activities that is impacting only 20% of your results. That wouldn’t make sense would it? That’s totally backwards! Instead, you must address all the small areas that have the biggest impact and will maximize your performance. Do what counts. Don’t worry about everything, just focus on those things that create the biggest results for you. So, what are the things that create the biggest results I hear you ask?
In order to answer this we must consider how the 80/20 rule is impacting your study. If we apply the 80/20 rule to our study it is telling us that 80% or more of what we are achieving at High School or College (or any learning activity) is directly related to 20% or less of our actions. But you’d probably still like to know which actions the rule is referring to wouldn’t you.
So, what are your 20% areas? Which small areas are having the biggest impact of your results? Unfortunately it could be many things. For example, time management and a lack of organization are often cited as key problems. Do you think you can you identify what your areas may be? But that’s not good enough because we know you want some answers (and we know you don’t want to have to come up with all the answers all the time!) so let’s focus on three areas that are often cited as problematic (and are definitely 20% areas!)
The biggest 20% area that undoubtedly creates and influences your outcomes are your habits. With poor habits come poor results. There is no doubt about it. You may not even realize it. But they are impacting you right now. Small item, big impact. Change your habits and you will change your outcomes. Full stop. Exclamation point!
The next most cited problem is motivation levels. With a lack of motivation comes a lack of action. So if you can’t find a way to feel motivated it will have a significantly negative impact on your results. And if you do feel very motivated that will greatly impact your results as well. Wont it? So again we can see that one small area (motivation) is greatly impacting on a big area (your results).
Finally, the third most important “little thing” is your memory recall ability. We all know about the importance of tests and exams and how many marks they account for and how much information students need to be able to recall. What students are expected to recall is pretty much astronomical. It can literally make or break you. So again, we can see that a small thing (your 20%) is impacting a large portion of your schooling (your 80%). If you have great memory recall ability you will breeze through tests and exams. Small item, massive results!
There is no doubt that there are many areas that impact your results (and we cover them all!) But you will definitely have a few items that are causing the most impact. Identify your items and get to work on them. Why? Because you should be spending your time working on those areas that have the biggest impact. Why would you focus on those areas that don’t have much impact? That would be a waste of time. So don’t do that! Work hard on those things that have maximum result and your grades will absolutely skyrocket.