1. Read the following text from the The Guardian and locate the words you have been working on in the Before-reading Activity.

Why do this? You will be able to see the word "operate" in a wider context.

Glenn Rice
Monday January 17, 2000
Taken from the Guardian Unlimited
(adapted version)

Remember when the usual answer to 'How are you?' was 'Fine?' Now, the reply most often given, by everybody, is 'Frantic'. If there is one experience we all share at the beginning of the 21st century, it's the desperate feeling that there's never enough time.

Dr Donald Wetmore is a time-management guru at Connecticut's Productivity Institute. It's a single decade, he says, that has taken us from 'fine' to 'frantic'. 'Between 1982 and 1989 I taught 600 people time-management courses at the Institute. From 1989 to now, that number rose to 30,000.' And it's no good hoping the next 10 years will be easier as technology finally frees us all from our frenzied existence.

How much more can we take? Is it possible to keep up in a speeded-up world without giving up our private lives and personal passions? In his book Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, James Gleick coins the term 'hurry sickness' to describe this modern malaise. He points out that although we may be desperate to step off the treadmill, it's also true that we thrive on the speed and adrenaline of modern life.

' If you're really ready to begin taking your time back, the strategies below can help. Many of the principles are common-sense. Yet how many of these simple axioms do you currently apply to your own time?

Dr Wetmore recommends that you start by taking a few minutes to plan your day in advance. Making long lists of all the things they want to get done, is not the same as a realistic plan of what you will do, and how and when you will do it. ' One of the best and most powerful ways to take back time and reduce your stress levels, according to Dr Wetmore, is to maintain good relationships with others: 'an often overlooked but uniquely effective method of minimising stress, staying happy and reducing the amount of time wasted on counter-productivity'.


According to Dr Wetmore, 'Five years ago it was assumed that e-mail would make postal communication redundant. Last year, the highest number of e-mails ever were sent, and the highest number of letters too.'Learning to balance the pros and cons of the digital age is vital for achieving control over our own time.

Don't dismiss technology - or take it for granted

Technology, is in no way neutral. You have to appreciate and address the fact that you have a relationship with it. Examine that relationship thoroughly and ask yourself what you really need from technology and what you can do without. Very few people do this.

Identify the psychological consequences of technology

Technology shapes our sense of time. The speed of response it now requires from us has contributed to the desire for instant gratification.

We need to lose both our awe and our fear of technology, and see it with clear eyes

With a conscious approach, its true benefits and deficits become apparent.

Time at Work

Time Management and energy management are essentially the same thing. If you are tired and stressed, stop. Be realistic about how much you can do. You may have to ask yourself, do I want this job, or my health and family?'

Be realistic in defining yourself

Atkinson likes to tell what she calls 'a true, cautionary tale:A small business owner's marriage and health were dissolving. His bank manager suggested he pay himself less and hire an employee. He refused, because he defined himself by what he earned. If you realise work is most important to you, acknowledge it, at least to yourself, if not necessarily to your family or partner.''

Appreciate working processes, not just results

Don't ask yourself relentlessly "what have I achieved?", but "did I enjoy the process of doing it? Did I learn from it?" This alleviates guilt and anxiety over work.

Tailor the quality of your work to the time available

Excellence is not a prerequisite for all tasks. Realise that good enough is still good.

Time at home

Slumping in front of the TV creates lots of 'dead time' and usually ends up making you feel more tired. Atkinson recommends that you simply use a VCR and set aside specific time to watch what you really want in a block.

Satisfy your inner needs

Atkinson says that it's extremely unlikely that work gives you what you need to satisfy your innermost requirements, so having an occupation or a hobby that does, is a prerequisite for achieving that balance.

Sorry, you still have to vacuum the carpet

If you've accepted that pre-planning is essential, it's easier for you to recognise the optimum time for attending to the nuts and bolts of home life. Be self-disciplined, do the work at a pre- governed time.

Time alone/relaxation

For so many of us, time alone is either a luxury we can't afford or something we fear and try to avoid at all costs. And yet it can be an enormously powerful way to get back a feeling of owning your own time, destressing and balancing the pace of your life. 'There's no set requirement or method for spending rewarding time alone,' Atkinson says. 'A person's basic need for time alone is based on the individual's need for stimulation. The trick is to relax properly, not necessarily just do nothing.' You can do so at any time with meditative and relaxation techniques that can be put to good use in just a few moments either at home or at your desk. For instance you can do yogic nostril breathing exercises, assume erect and good body postures, and so on.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

What if you recognise the need for personal space and to relax but are uncomfortable with the idea of being alone?Start by making friends with yourself. Stop criticising and belittling yourself. Treat yourself kindly and politely as you would another, and recognise that flaws of character and making mistakes are normal.



SWIM HomeActivities Upper-Intermediate