If you have a busy scheduled filled to the brim with work, hobbies, and chores, carving out some time for your friends can be difficult. But your pals are one of the most amazing parts of your life, so it's important to find ways to make time for friends, even if it seems like your planner can't handle another engagement.
I get it, it's difficult to try and fit in fun outings when you're stressed with your career or are trying to work on a project that takes a lot of your focus and attention. But rather than burning yourself out with nothing but work, you need to pepper in a couple of breaks in between all of that — and that's where your friend hangouts can come in. After all, it's not like you're living in your cubicle, you definitely have moments of rest in between all of that mad hustle.
So during those times, call up your friends and get something going. But now the issue is, how do you actually stick to those plans and not crash on the couch from exhaustion? There are a couple of tricks that will help you to follow through; below are 11 tips on how to make time for your friends when your schedule gets busy.
1. Make It Low Pressure
Instead of thinking you need to meet up your friends for a big to-do, keep the socializing low pressure and just invite them over to hang out. Lifestyle writer Abriel Cleaver from lifestyle site The Odyssey suggested, "Get your friends to bring drinks, order in some food, and it makes for the best night. You even get to wear your pajamas!" Spending some quality time relaxing before having to go to bed and starting work again is a perfect solution — who says you need to meet up for food and drinks every time?
2. Pay For Your Get Together Ahead Of Time
You'll be less likely to bail on something if you've already paid for it, so hop onto Groupon and get yourself a voucher for a restaurant or activity. Lifestyle writer Kat Griffin from lifestyle blog Corporette explained, "It’s harder to postpone a get-together or cancel plans when you’ve already spent the money. Now you’ll have no excuse not to meet a friend to take a barre class or check out a restaurant you’ve never tried." You'll have no choice but to go.
3. Put It On The Calendar
Just like when you see the words "Dentist Appointment" in your planner and you make it a priority to keep it, pen in "Dinner with Kate" and treat it with just as much importance. Women's lifestyle site Girlfriendology suggested, "Put it on your calendar. Schedule time together — and don’t change plans." By having those plans added into your schedule, you're literally making sure you have enough time to go and keep it. It obviously won't be interfering with anything or else it wouldn't make it into your diary.
4. See If They Want To Do Chores Together
No, I don't mean invite them over to scrub the groat on your bathroom. Rather, see if they want to do something practical together, like do laundry or meal prep for the week. Lifestyle writer Emily Mitchell from lifestyle site Verily advised, "Plan a cooking night together to catch up and create a delicious meal that will last you throughout the week."
Think about it: You'll have wine, your best friend, hours of catching up, and all your meals prepped for the week.
5. Make Use Of your Lunch Time
Do your friends work near you? If so, use your lunch break as a chance to catch up over some noms and see what the other has been up to that week. Lifestyle writer Christine Bailey from woman lifestyle site She Knows offered, "Sometimes, finding time in your busy day is nearly impossible, but experts say that taking time for lunch (away from your desk) is good for you. So, consider scheduling a fun lunch date with a friend or group of friends." And if they don't work any where near you, see if you can schedule a phone date at that time instead. A half hour to laugh on the phone is better than a half hour eating lunch at your desk.
6. Weave Them Into "Me Time"
We all have those moments in the day where we let ourselves relax and indulge a little, so invite your friend over for those moments. Whether that's just to laze out and watch TV or meet at a coffee shop and read a book, the experience will only become more relaxing. Mitchell recommended, "Find a cozy spot, and bring a book for fun. Better yet, get started on the same book, and make it an impromptu book club." Sounds like a total win!
7. Make It Routine
It's so much easier to show up to something when it's routine rather than a one-off, which is why you should make a routine friend hangout in order to ensure you see them enough. Business writer Laura Vanderkam from entrepreneur site Fast Company advised, "One-off events take a lot of effort to plan. Recurring ones don’t." Whether it's getting brunch every Sunday at the same restaurant or grabbing coffee Wednesday nights, make it weekly and you won't have trouble showing up for it. It'll become standard.
8. Combine Your To-Dos With Hang Outs
Just because your schedule is booked back to back doesn't mean you can't squeeze a hang out session in there. While it might sound imposssible, all you have to do is invite your friends out to your tasks. Bailey pointed out, "To free some up, consider mixing and matching some of your to-dos."
If you have to go work out, invite a friend for a bike ride or your yoga class. If you still need to do some late night prep work, ask if your pal wants to meet up at a coffee shop to keep you company. You kill two birds with one stone that way.
9. Send Them A "Thinking Of You" Gift
Say you really can't break away this month and you've been a terrible friend to your closest pal. To make it up to them, send them a little "thinking of you" gift that hints that you'll be back in their lives very soon. Lifestyle writer Topaz from lifestyle blog Art of a Beautiful Life offered, "Send an unexpected gift in the mail to a dear friend. Amazon makes this ridiculously easy." This lets them know you haven't forgotten about them and that they're on your mind even if you can't manage a coffee date just yet.
10. Hang Out Right After Work
Rather than being tempted by the siren song of your couch, make plans with friends right after work since you're already out and about. Griffin pointed out, "An object in motion stays in motion, so if you’re trying to squeeze in socializing on a Friday after a busy workweek, make sure not to stop at home first before going out (if possible)." Grab dinner together or happy hour — you'll be happy you made the time.
11. Use The Phone While You Multitask
If you need to tackle chores or clean out your inbox after work, use that mindless time as an opportunity to do some double tasking: Tidying up and calling your bud. Griffin offered, "Call a friend to chat while you make dinner or clean up around the house, or have a conversation with someone while you take a walk around your neighborhood." Talking to your friend will make the task more fun too, which is a bonus point.
In these ways you can totally stay close and in touch with your friends, even if your schedule is super busy. There are no excuses!