I have always been a workaholic, putting in on average 12 hours a
day, 5 days a week, plus a few more on the weekend if the mood
As I rapidly approach my 60th birthday, some people ask how I am
able to keep up this level of productivity and hard work at my
There are 3 simple secrets that keep my reasonably respectable —
though not stellar — productivity intact:
FIRST, for it to be tenable, I have to love what I do — and I
If you hate your job, as so many 9 to 5 wage slaves do, then you
want to get out of the office or plant as soon as the five
o’clock whistle sounds, go home, pop open a cold one, and watch
the boob tube.
On the other hand, if your work is so fun that it feels like a
hobby rather than a job, as I do, you never want to leave your
SECOND, because of my waning energy, I can still go full steam
for 11 to 12 hours a day — BUT ….
… as soon as I am done for the day, I collapse into my favorite
easy chair in the living room where I read a ton of stuff —
business books, science books, history books, novels, the New
York Review of Books, and the Star Ledger.
Or, if I am so pooped I can’t concentrate on reading a book or
the paper, I mindlessly channel surf until I find a cheesy SF or
horror movie like Final Destination or Wrong Turn or one of their
(I think they’re already up to Wrong Turn 8 — the Musical.)
THIRD, I do not go out on weeknights, as my father did at least
two nights a week — bowling, poker, B’nai B’rith — but stay in
and go to bed early every night.
I strongly believe Michael Masterson, Brian Tracy, and others who
say that many (not all) people who are dedicated to their work
need at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
I have quoted Noel Coward many times in these essays, who said,
“Work is more fun than fun.”
I could not agree more.
Leisure time was most precious to me years ago, when my kids were
younger and wanted to do things with us. But now they are in
their 20s and have their own lives. Sigh.
My advice to all parents: spend time with your kids when they are
still young and still want you. They will age out of that in a
blink of an eye.