How The 80/20 Principle Can Transform Your Life

When I was in university, I had a new roommate almost every semester. The school recruited new students every semester and nobody could really claim any room before registration.

Apart from learning to live with new people every couple of months, I learned that every roommate had a different studying style. As a struggling Software Engineering student, I tried to adopt anything that could help.

Most of my course mates, like me, would spend hours studying daily while others would seemingly just breeze through their notes and ‘get it’ after partying all through the weekend.

There was this guy everyone thought of as being unserious. He was studying Petroleum Chemistry, which was also one of the toughest courses in school. All his classmates spent most of their time either studying or in the lab but not him. He would sleep all day after classes, play football in the evenings, and party at night. Yet he was one of the best Pet-Chem students.

Somehow we ended up being roommates during a short summer session. That’s when I figured him out. What people didn’t know about him was that he would wake up early around 4am and study up until 7am then get ready for class.

That’s all he needed – 3 hours of studying leaving him with 21 hours of play and sleep.

I would later learn that our brain performs best in the first few hours of waking up. I don’t know if he knew that then or not but it worked for him.

That was him applying the 80/20 principle without even knowing. 20% of his efforts studying produced 80% of his achievements.

We all know those students that we call ‘Gurus’ because of their outstanding academic performances. As adults, we still carry on that notion that some people are naturally gifted in their field, in business, lucky to have certain body types, or whatever.

What most of us don’t see is the work those people put in. They work smart.

As a student, find the best studying technique that works for you. You don’t need to put in 10 hours a day studying like everyone else. Only 20% of the hours you put in will actually benefit you.

As an employee, give priority to the most important tasks that have the most impact on your employer. 80% of what you on work daily has little impact on your career. Delegate or eliminate any tasks that have no impact and no consequences for not doing them. You can spend the rest of your day gisting with your colleagues if you want.

As a business owner, focus on getting the right numbers (revenue, expenses, & profit) and the right customers (those with the ability and willingness to pay). The right customers will bring in the right numbers.

As a student of personal finance, it’s the little things (20% of your habits) that determine whether or not you will be financially independent. Stop worrying about those flexing on social media and start tracking your expenses. Once you understand your spending habits, you can then begin putting money aside for savings and investments.

Work smart, not hard!

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