TONY THE WORKAHOLIC

My name is Tony and I am a workaholic. There you go, the first step is the big one, the admission that there is something wrong with me. Now I’ve gone that far I guess I should explain myself.

A couple of days back I made the declaration that I was not going to post a blog until the middle of the week and all would be explained at that time. This is now the time to take that next step.

I consider myself a person of moderation in most things, except for some strongly held opinions which you have had the misfortune or otherwise to share with me in this column. I noticed that not everyone works like me, and thought that entirely natural, after all each of is built differently. In fact I think I’m lazy, and never doing enough to justify any kind of hard working description.

My grandfather Gershon worked hard, “like a donkey” my father used to say of his father. Sometimes 18 to 20 hours a day, every day for years too numerous to bear, almost dancing up and down the hard floor of his little room as a tailor’s presser in Soho’s D’Arblay Street he strived to look after his family for year after year of unrelenting effort.

I remember watching him as a young boy as he worked himself into his early grave. Despite his almost superhuman East European strength eventually the never-ending work took its toll on this pocket dynamo.

That was hard work, but it was my late father, Michael, who really worked hard. I never saw anyone start earlier or work later than him, and although he worked with his brain and not his brawn it was no less hard. Of course they also had something else in common, these two wonderful men who were so different in many ways; they both died too early.

So when my wife, kids, friends and even strangers started to tell me I was working too hard I, being the son of my father, at first took no notice. To me writing a book or a blog or working on a film script is pleasure, not pain. It just doesn’t seem like work. A phone call about a deal is like a stroll in the park, and doing a bit of research on the net or handling my e-mails is mostly fun and a pleasure. I’m happy working on my laptop during the evening. I am keen to be in contact on my BlackBerry most of the time.

Then it dawned on me, I have become a workaholic, I never stop working, or thinking about work, or writing, or doing deals. This became obvious to me when I intentionally cut back on my workload and felt withdrawal symptoms that were almost physical.

As a result I decided to see if I could turn off all my machinery before and after office hours and to intentionally not post these columns for a couple of days.

The world didn’t come to an end, it still revolves, and apart from a few kind souls worrying if I was OK because they had come to anticipate my columns every day, everyone and everything survived.

This has taught me to attempt the previously impossible, to try and do a little less working and a little more living. I trust you will all agree that this is the right way for a now admitted workaholic to go.

I suspect that I am not alone as a workaholic; I think that there are people reading this column who could learn from some of my mistakes and how would benefit from a spot of rest and recreation. Spoil yourselves; you’re only on this planet a very brief time.