In this time-pressured world, it is often not new ideas that work to manage your time, but old tried and tested remedies………..

I remember my Great Aunt Kathleen Alice (Auntie Kitty to her family, and as an actress, Albert Tatlock’s aunt in Coronation Street, many moons ago) telling me why she always kept a blue hat near the front door of her home.

When someone knocked on the door, she would walk towards it and – taking the hat from the peg – put it on before opening the door. If the person standing on the doorstep she liked, she would swiftly remove the hat and put it back on the peg, smiling and saying ‘How lovely to see you, I’ve just got in ‘ and open the door wide and welcome them in.

If, however she didn’t like the person on the doorstep, she would pull the hat a bit more firmly around her ears and say with the same wonderful smile ‘I’m really sorry, it’s lovely to see you, but I’m just on my way out and I’m rather late. Can I catch you another time?’

Clever Auntie Kitty! I began to realise why she had more time than anyone else I knew!

I use this technique as people approach my office – I don’t have a blue hat – but I stand up, sometimes don my jacket and decide if I’m staying or not – and to deflect them I often say ‘I’m really busy at the moment – can I catch you at lunchtime/end of the day?’ (and I do catch them later!)