Another time I said that I never learned English at school (that’s the reason my English is so bad). Instead, I did study French.
Sometimes I feel I’m really dreaming when I look at this blog of mine (in pseudo English) because I never thought possible that I could learn English by myself. For me most of the Romance languages are very familiar: French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Aragonese, Galician, Portuguese, Occitan-Provençal, Asturian... But English, though it contains a great percentage of Latin words, always has been difficult for me. Yet I must say that now I read a lot in this language and even listen to audiobooks or watch movies as often as I can. English is the “lingua franca” of these days, so... But “my house” are Romance languages, as I’ve said; there I feel at ease, at home...
I remember that years ago I went on an English Course, six hours a week during four months. That has been the only English course that I’ve ever attended. Truly my “School in English” has been the Internet, because most of the sources I’ve always read on the net are in English.
I’ve next to me the “Student’s book” that I used for that course (“English File”, by Clive Oxenden and Paul Seligson, Oxford University Press). Time runs frantically, so most of the materials are outdated, letting aside grammar, vocabulary, and the like.
Some of the readings on that course catched the attention of the students (all adult people). In particular, this story, surely authentic, about Mark McCormack’s time management skills. We were all shocked in seeing how a person could control all his life in such a manner, apparently without a second out of control.
At that time, Mark McCormack’s approach on time management seemed to me unnatural and excessive. But the excerpt that I reproduce below of him has always interested me, in fact I’ve read it many times. Actually, I don’t think now his ideas are inadequate or even exaggerate ones. In today’s world full of temptations, distractions, possibilities... surely is not a bad thing to try to control our life, severely, rigorously and at the same time with love, wisdom and compassion (compassion for ourselves as well as for others).
I will return very soon to that very interesting (and even exciting) subject.
1.- Mark McCormack is American. He’s sixty-three. He’s the manager of many famous people, including the Pope, Monica Seles and Alain Prost. He’s married with two sons and a daughter. He has forty-two offices in twenty countries, and homes in London, New York, Cleveland and Florida.
2.- I get up every morning at 4.30. If my notebook says “Do exercise”, I do some exercise. My secretary arrives at about 5.15, and she brings the newspaper. Then I have a shower and I get dressed. I usually have coffee and cereal for breakfast at the Carlton Tower Hotel (if I am with a client) or I just have a coffee at home.
3.- First I look at my yellow notebook. On the left are my meetings, on the right are my phonecalls. I’m a very good time-manager. I always plan my life exactly for the next six months. I write down everthing I do: how many hours I sleep, how many hours I see my children, and how many hours I spend in each city in the world. I have business meetings in my office from 9.00 a.m. until lunchtime. At 1.00 I usually have lunch at the Carlton, and I always sit at the same table. After lunch I call the USA, and after that I sleep until 6.00.
4.- At 7.00 I often have a drink with a friend or client in the bar. I usually have a Jack Daniels whisky. Then I have dinner at a restaurant. I never cook. In the evening, if my wife is with me, we sometimes go to the cinema. We have meetings to plan our life together. I go to bed at about 11.30. Sleeping is not a problem for me. It’s in my yellow notebook _so I go to bed and I sleep.