Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Chances are that this rule is impacting you right now even if you aren’t aware of it or how it works. The good news is that by becoming aware of the rule and how it applies to you right now will allow you to manipulate it and use it to help you get some awesome results! And we all want awesome results don’t we?
The 80/20 rule (which was created by Vilfredo Pareto by the way) 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).
This rule applies to more than just our “actions”; it actually applies to everything (according to Pareto). So let’s have a look at some very straightforward examples to help demonstrate this. I’m willing to bet that you spend 80% or more of your social time with 20% or less of the people you know (friends, family, acquaintances). What about 80% or more of the time you spend online is on 20% or less of all the websites you’ve ever visited? What about 80% or more of the phone calls you make are to 20% or less of all the contacts in your phone? Seriously, you can apply it to anything.
The first major thing to take away from the 80/20 rule is to understand that there is no point focusing on the 80% of things you do each day that are creating only 20% of your results. You need to do the opposite! Forget the 80% that is impacting 20% of your results, you want to focus only on the 20% that is impacting 80% of your results! Are you following? Clear as mud?
Clearly, there is no reason to spend your time doing things that account for only 20% of what you achieve, especially if that 20% takes up 80% of your time! Instead, you should focus on the 20% that is impacting 80% of your results. Focus on drastically improving your results by changing those areas that are having the most impact. For example, if you find that your biggest challenge is being disorganized then if that area was transformed you would find it would have a massive result wouldn’t it? So you change one thing but it impacts lots of things.
You’re probably wondering what your 20% areas are? You probably want to know which small areas you can change that will totally transform your results? The trick is that it could be many areas – each person is different. While we can’t cover them all, let’s look at three areas that impact all students because there is a good chance one or all will apply to you.
Your habits are a key 20% area. Your habits dictate your thoughts and your actions. Bad habits lead to bad results. Good habits lead to good results. It really is that simple! If you have gotten yourself into poor habits then unfortunately you will get poor results. The good news is that by identifying the bad habits and then changing them you can completely transform your outcomes. Small area, massive impact!
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. We all know how much we get done when we have no motivation – nothing! So again we can see that one small area (motivation) is greatly impacting on a big area (your results).
The next area is memory recall. If you can’t remember data and information very well then unfortunately you are going to struggle to get top marks. Tests and exams become far less daunting when you have honed your memory recall ability – and they are terrifying when you haven’t! You must be able to recall mountains of information in order to be successful because education tests memory as much as it tests knowledge. You would think they would have a subject called “memory” given how much focus there is on your memory recall ability! So again, we can see that a small area (your 20%) is impacting a huge part of your outcomes (your 80%).
Clearly, there are many areas that impact your results in schooling and your results in life for that matter. But by figuring out which areas are having the biggest impact you will be able to quickly change your results. Identify your personal 20% areas that are having a big influence on your outcomes and do something about them today. If you do, your grades will shoot up quickly. If you don’t, you should expect more of the same. Good luck!
View this article and many more here: How To Study | The 80/20 Rule