Back when I was just a little baby copywriter, I used to have lunch most days at a bar and restaurant called Reno Barsochini's on Battery Street in San Francisco. Reno was a former baseball player and friend of Joe DiMaggio. He also had one of the great all-time names.
I don't know what kind of ballplayer Reno was, but he wasn't much of a restaurateur. He made a good hamburger, though, and that's all I needed.
Most days while I was eating my hamburger, Hal Riney would wander in and sit at the bar. He rarely looked at anyone and even more rarely talked to anyone. He would order a bourbon or two and sit there with a yellow pad and write. For all I know, he may have written "Morning In America" at that bar.
At the time, it seemed like a strange way to work. Now I find myself also having strange work habits.
First of all, I do most of my work at home. I go to the office every day, but mostly I can't concentrate there. The office is for meetings, and chatting, and lunch, and planning, and talking about work, not doing it.
For every hour I spend at work I spend at least an hour working at home.
Second, I do most of my work lying down. At home I do it lying on a sofa or lying in bed in the middle of the night. In the office, I do it lying on a sofa in my office. If I have mindless work to do -- answering emails, or doing time sheets -- I do it at my desk. But if I have to think, I need to get away from my desk.
I have developed a fondness for strange work habits. To my permanent dismay, however, doing good work seems to take more than just strange habits.
Wouldn't it be great if all it took was some bourbon and a yellow pad?