When in our business or working lives are we at our most productive?

Is it in our 20’s when we’re single and can travel the world? Is it in our 30’s when we have the energy and the focus? Is it in our 40’s when we have the experience to work smart? What about in our 50’s when we have the seniority and gravitas?

In most working environments we tend to be – or are at the very east hoping to be – tapering our work commitments and efforts in our 60’s, yet as is well documented, a constantly increasing section of the global population is working for longer. As the population shifts and it becomes increasingly unsustainable for the younger working people to support the funds that the older retired people draw from, so the retirement age increases and the state pension reduces.

For my generation, with the exception of those who have won the lotto, hit the jackpot, or robbed a bank, the equation is obvious. Take slightly older parents of kids who will probably go to college, add a couple doses of pension fund and property value collapses, and you have a retirement age of at least 70. Ouch.

As a man whose father retired at 50, it comes to me as something of a shock, I don’t mind telling you.

What this means is that the bell curve of productivity is going to have to move significantly to the right – where age is on the x axis – in order for the macro sums to add up. In terms of our age, just like in business, this means that our personal Q3 is going to have to be a big one. Even our Q4 too, if we live that long. What we have against us of course is our age and our dwindling physical and mental capacities. Failing this fairly crude maths coming up trumps, something fundamental is going to have to change in society and how we work.

I’m not downbeat though. I think technology will continue to help us save time, save energy, and reduce distances. It will change the game, invent new paradigms, banish the old ways of doing things, and any other cliché you can’t think of.

I don’t know how it will, but it will, it has to. If I did know, I’d be retiring in Q2…