Today’s the day! As of 11pm tonight (GMT) the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the EU – sort of – and we will be the masters of our own fate.

And guess what? The Earth and the clocks will continue to turn regardless. They will turn at the same rate that they have done for millions of years (Earth) and since 1511 (clocks – I checked). Yet for some reason, time these days seems to go slower in some cases, and faster in others.

Let me take Slow. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland. War was declared, although a bit of a phony war took place for a while. By the middle of 1940 it was in full swing. By 1942 it was all over the world, and by 1945 it was over. Entire countries recruited, trained, transported, equipped, managed, tended, repatriated and de-militarised in about 4 years. Computers, the internet, robot-based mass production – none of those existed, yet when it had to be done, it was done in the same 24-hours-a-day we have in 2020.

We are told that negotiating a treaty with the EU will take 10 years. With ALL the aforementioned infrastructure.

Now, Fast. When I was young I recall that a programme timed to last an hour, nearly did. Now a programme that lasts an hour on commercial TV takes just 43 minutes when streamed. Yes, you can save 17 minutes an hour by NOT watching adverts. A trip to London took 4-5 hours, now it’s about three – two and a bit if there’s no traffic. Buying unusual stuff took planning – now it’s at your door in 24 hours or less.

Same. Time. Available.

Which raises the question, when you say you haven’t got time to do something, are you in 2020 or 1944? In 1944 they must have had looooaaaaddddssss of time because they created and executed so much. In 2020 everyone is in a rush to achieve bu66er all.

Truth be told, when we say to someone we don’t have time we are usually lying. Not always, because if you genuinely don’t have time for something asked of you, you should, if telling the truth, be able to state exactly what it is that’s stopping you, and why.

If you can’t state that, then what you are really saying is, “I don’t think that what you want is important enough to me to justify my taking part.”

Why not just honestly, sincerely and where necessary apologetically, say, “No”? It’s not against the law.

It’s because we don’t like confrontation and we perceive that a simple No will invite comment, usually negative. I don’t think it’s because we don’t like to offend – Twitter suggests that offending is all most of us want to do. But it might be. 😊

Next time someone asks you to do something that might slightly delay or divert you but which would, in all honesty, allow you to provide a small service that really isn’t that inconvenient, just say, “Yes.” It’ll surprise a lot of people, mind, so use it sparingly.

If you genuinely cannot, respectfully decline and explain why.

In time, you’ll find people only ask you to do important things. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you become effective.

Have a great weekend.