I hear it everyday from the members of SocialJane.com, they say they don't have time to go to the bathroom, let alone plan a get-together with friends, or even think about making a quick "how are you doing?" phone call. But regardless of all the responsibilities you have, with children, spouses and partners, jobs and general life chores, you can make time for friends -- as long as you are a bit creative.
Here are some tips and suggestions on how to fit "friend time" into your hectic schedule.
1. Do Chores or Pampering Together
You've to get your nails done, go to the grocery store, and even attempt to clean your house every so often, so why not use these times to also socialize with your favorite gal pals? Catching up with friends while doing the otherwise mundane tasks that fill our days makes total sense.
The next time you are tempted to hit the nail salon, send a quick text to some friends to see who can join you. This is the perfect time for a two-for, catching up and getting polished.
While planning your weekly shopping trip, take five seconds to check if you neighbor also has this chore on her to-do list, and if so, run the aisles together. While dishing out the latest neighborhood news, you might also get some great new dinner ideas.
And finally, because only a few of us really enjoy cleaning our toilets (you know who you are), why not consider tag-teaming the task of house cleaning? Everyone can chat and dust furniture, and with an extra set of hands, you'll finally be able to get behind that heavy couch. Your house this week, her's next week.
2. Double Up Food Prep
One of the most time consuming tasks for most of us is making dinner. Day in and day out, it simply is something that must be done. So, why not double up on your food prep to save time in the future? Making two lasagnas takes no more time than making just one! Freeze one for the next week, or give the second to a friend. Either way, you've saved at least an hour -- an hour that can be used to sip a cocktail on your friend's deck, which is so much more fun than slaving over a hot stove.
3. Become Workout Buddies
This tip is a complete no-brainer. We all need at least 30 minutes of physical exercise each day, whether we want it or not. A brisk walk through the neighborhood, a body-pumping class at the gym, laps at the pool, or a quick yoga session in your backyard, breaking a sweat with a friend is as enjoyable as breaking bread, and oh so much more healthy.
4. Carpool (Live or Virtually)
There isn't much that can actually be accomplished sitting in a car on an interstate, each and every workday, except... using the time to connect with friends. Seriously, with average daily commute times of nearly 30 minutes for us Americans, we are wasting a huge opportunity for good old fashion jabber, chitchat and gabbing.
Either swing by and share your commute with an office pal, or plan a hands-free conference call with friends during your individual commutes. No texting or Facetime allowed, these should be voice-only gatherings.
Friendship -- Make it a Priority
No matter how busy we all believe we are, with a little planning and aligning of schedules, we can absolutely find time to spend with friends. The truth is that in order to live our happiest and healthiest lives, we need friends -- plain and simple -- and solid friendships (like a marriage) demand time and attention.
Don't make the mistake of putting your friendships last on the list of priorities, believe me, they should have a permanent home somewhere at the top of your list. So sweep together, stir together, and sweat together if that is what it takes to allow you time with good friends.
Follow Janis Kupferer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SocialJane