In between work, house, kids, friends and family, life can get extremely busy and stressful. Some days I even wonder how I have time to think or even breathe! Although all these things are extremely important and which cannot be ignored— but—another important aspect is maintaining a social Life when you are busy.
When we were kids, one of the reasons we made friends so easily was that we had more time to play. That unstructured time gave us space to be ourselves and connect with others in a very genuine and authentic way.
Even now that we’re adults with jobs, families, and obligations, doing something with friends that feels like play is nourishing to both ourselves and our relationships.
So how do you do that when you have so much going on?
Well, well it is just possible with these tips that I follow religiously.
SCHEDULE TO THE ‘T’
As I am almost always busy, a planner is my best friend. I try and be pretty organized between having work, home and kids or classes for that matter, but I do use my planner to schedule a social life, too.
MAKE TIME DURING LUNCH BREAKS AND COFFEE DATES
Although I have a very busy schedule, I do take lunch breaks.
I feel there is no better time to meet up with friends than during something you usually do every single day. Even if it is just an hour in the middle of the day.
Keeping those relationships alive is extremely important for me. As well, instead of having my usual lunch at home in the afternoon, I plan it for a time and place where I can meet up with a friend.
That way I can keep my normal routine to some extent but still work around other people’s schedules.
WORK OR GO SHOPPING WITH A FRIEND
There’s no shame in killing two birds with one stone by inviting a friend along to do something we both need to do anyway.
If I usually stay cooped up in my apartment doing my work, I try heading to a local coffee shop with a friend instead. Or if I am doing my weekly grocery shopping, I try meeting my friend in the market or mall and shop together. This way I can have some company while still doing all the work that I need to do.
This arrangement is also an onus as if I have to go to the washroom and don’t want to leave all my stuff alone. It really is a win-win situation.
PLAN AN EVENING OUT AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
Every week I ensure that I am saving at least one evening to see a friend. Even if it is just for coffee.
Spending some time with real people outside of the office or home is extremely important.
Also, switching up my routine keeps things fresh, new and keeps the boredom away.
If you are always doing the same thing week after week, it is quite possible that it’ll get boring even if you love it.
TRY LOCAL CULTURE
For most places, no matter how small the city, there is always probably at least one thing going on.
I try to find some local bands, a festival, anything, and use it as a reason to get out.
Any part of my busy routine can be changed just enough to enjoy the local scene.
All it takes is being a bit flexible and forthcoming.
A social life, work and family? Couldn’t ask for more.
TRY TO BE FLEXIBLE
Because I am very busy, I am used to everything planned.
But also because my free time to socialize is so very limited, I try and adjust accordingly if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Being flexible is a huge key to staying successful and having a thriving social life.
Although I may be free, my friends may not be, or they might have other plans. So I don’t just assume that everyone is going to drop everything for me the moment I am free to hang out.
When your schedule is always packed, it may feel like you will never have time to hang out with friends or have any social life at all.
But one of the keys to making this possible is finding people who understand you and your busy schedule.
FIND LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR LIFESTYLES TO YOURS
I realised early on that maintaining a social life with a busy schedule is finding people who have the same values as me.
If you are very career driven, finding others who are the same allows for more flexibility and understanding.
If I have to cancel a lunch date because of a work meeting that came up, I find people who will totally understand.
KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO SAY GOOD BYE
For me another very important thing is understanding when a friendship is not working.
Although you may be flexible on your part with your scheduling and change of plans, some of your friends may not be so.
If someone I was once close with is frequently annoyed with how busy I am, I rethink on what I am gaining from this friendship if there is always negative energy.
Overall, the truth is that maintaining a social life when you are always busy is hard. It means scheduling everything down to the last minute and being a stickler about time. But at the end of the day, it will make you so much happier to have a life where you are surrounded by the ones you care about as well as reaching your career/job/family goals. You really can have it all as long as you put in the effort to make it happen.