Work On What Works

At least 80% of most people’s work day is spent on stuff that doesn’t matter.

Stuff that doesn’t product income, freedom, or real joy.

In business, specifically, 80% of most people’s workday is spent on things that simple don’t “move the needle”.

What if you switched the equation. What if you just woke up one day and only worked on stuff that made a difference?

Many of my peers ask me how I got so much insider access in this business so quickly. How is it I can pick up the phone and talk to Mike Filsaime, Armand Morin, Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, Alex Mandossian – or any of my other superstar clients?

(By the way, I don’t mention these names to impress you – I’m just trying to impress something upon  you: you’re closer to success than you think).

I started this copywriting/marketing business at the same time a few of my peers started theirs. Yet many of them still struggle to just scrape by, while I’ve had an entirely different experience. Why?

Is it because I’m some kind of genius, with magic powers they don’t have?


It’s mainly because I’ve been able to work on the things that work.

I focused on the 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results.

Example: I don’t let a single day go by without doing something to generate future revenue. So there are all these seeds I have planted along the path behind me – and I’m always harvesting seeds I planted months, in many cases years in the past.

And here’s an admission: I’m not as good at this 80/20 discipline as I’d like to be. Meaning: you don’t have to be perfect at it – you just have to be doing it.

So today, maybe it’s worth asking yourself: am I working on what works? Am I doing something that moves the needle? (HINT: if what you’re working on is Twitter, Facebook, email, or random web surfing… you’re probably not working on what works!)

Just a thought.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Hi Ray, I fully support the 80/20 rule but I have always wondered what to do about it. If this rule ALWAYS apply, then whatever change I make will still follow the 80/20 pattern.

    Do you believe that one can work outside the 80/20?


    • I think it's a process of continual refinement and improvement.

      Ray Edwards

      • Definitely! However I find it to be little strange that this 80/20 principle gets that much attention if it is never possible to break free from it. I'm sure that many others have stated that one needs to improve consistently long before Pareto came up with his principle.

        • I don't think it's something to “break free” of – more that it is something to be aware of and use to one's benefit.

  • Ray. You disappoint me. I have always thought of you as a copywriting genius, I see with 80/20 now you have become a transformational genius. I truly appreciate you 🙂

    • Rob – you made my day with this. Thanks!

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