The author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series
writes about KBO, cocktails, code-breaking, and red lipstick.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Winston Churchill and KBO

Despite the alcohol, despite the naps, despite the baths, Winston Churchill was a work horse.

All accounts have him rising at eight, reading newspapers and attending to paperwork all morning from bed, taking the first bath of the day, then meetings and dictation, then luncheon. After lunch, a nap, then writing, second bath, dinner, and work often long, long past midnight. It was in this way that he was able to "... press a day and a half's work into one," as he's quoted saying.

During the Second World War, his constant refrain to his female typists was KPO, or "Keep Plodding On." (His male associates often heard KBO or "Keep Buggering On.") Allegedly, he would start the day saying it and end telephone conversations with it.

That tenacious attitude is integral to anything important — winning a war, finishing a novel, raising a child, battling illness, making a living, running a marathon, learning the violin.

Looking at Churchill's schedule, you can see an interesting balance — long hours of work, true, but balanced by rest and meals. (And having a staff certainly must have helped!) So, KBO, but take care of yourself as well. Then, back at it. Every single day.

KBO, everyone.


  1. Thanks for clearing this up! An elder Brit friend of mine mentioned that it was a favourite saying of Sir Winston, and I'd never heard it before. You're so right! Anyone needs to heed that motto. :-)

    Best wishes from Asia, ~ Sil