You hear many things over the years from so-called experts about things we all should do to improve our lives.

I have historically been stubborn enough to ignore such advice for much of my life, believing that I know best.

However, as the years have clicked by, and I have undertaken to modify my thinking and heed some such advice, I have also learned that maybe some of these so-called experts may know what they are talking about.

Take for instance the advice that we are actually more productive if we take regular time off, say a week off every month or two.

In the past, I’ve concluded that I just can’t take that much time off. Either the people I have worked for in the distant past, or myself in the recent decades of my self-employment, would think that that is just too much down time. One or two weeks a year out of the office is all I can afford.

And I still fight that feeling.

But what I have learned in recent years is that during those times where I do take more time off – a week here, a week there, every month or two or three, I find that I am more productive. And, it seems that in the months in which I take time off I actually get more accomplished than the months in which I don’t.

I find myself adopting this attitude that “I have to get this stuff done so I can get out of here” and I rip through my work like a man obsessed.

But, during those times I have eschewed time out of the office, when I have nothing to look forward to in terms of time off, I tend to slog along at a different pace, and in fact I’m often less productive in the months in which I don’t take time off, than those in which I do.

Other advice I’ve ignored and regretted: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that does not include a giant tankard of black coffee, which was what passed for breakfast for me for about 35 years of my life.

As it turns out, charging through life on a stomach that has only been nourished with uncut caffeine until noon each day is not a good thing. Seems it’s hard on your pancreas, for one. It’s also not conducive to a svelte profile.

And here I thought that drinking light beer would offset any such concerns.

And, as I like to say, I really don’t look too bad for an old guy, until you look at my blood under a microscope. With that come all these readings and numbers and charts that say I should take better care of myself, and probably should have been doing so all along.

And yes, for many years now, I’ve looked better in clothes than without, particularly loose-fitting clothes that mask my true physique.

I still judge myself by the standard that when someone sees me for the first time, “My God that guy is FAT” is not the absolutely very first thing that pops into their mind. So I’m comfortable with that.

But alas, as bad as things may seem, I’m comforted by the thought that surely there’s someone out there in worse shape than me.

Now that guy should be concerned.

Take my advice about it.

Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at