Below is another excerpt from my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week — this time on how to have a social life in this busy world.
This is from the Friday chapter:
“One of my biggest complaints about adulthood is that it’s difficult to simply hang out with friends. In high school, you could call up your friend and say, ‘Hey! A bunch of us are hanging out at Kara’s place. Stop by if you want to hang out.’ No one scheduled ‘hanging out’ on their calendar. No one knew at the start of the night what might transpire by the end of the night. And no one ever left at eight thirty, tapping at her watch, saying she had an early day tomorrow.
When I graduated college, I was completely unprepared for having to schedule time to hang out with friends. The first time one of my friends told me that she had to check her calendar to see when we might be able to grab lunch together, I laughed so hard I made myself cry. Oh, to have so few responsibilities that we could hang out whenever we want!
Review your list from the Foundations chapter that identifies the things that matter to you most. Is spending quality time with friends and family on your list? What else is on your list? Schedule the time now to live the remarkable life you desire.
- Don’t turn your back on your routines. A little time every day spent on basic routines will provide you with more time in your schedule to pursue the things that truly matter.
- Plan at least one social event a week. Make a date with your friends or loved ones and keep that obligation. If the people in your life are really a priority, then you need to respect the time you spend with them. Say no to less important requests for your time and keep your date.
- Plan at least one stay-home event a week. If you’re already a social butterfly, make a commitment to staying home at least one evening a week and taking care of yourself.
- Keep a list of things you want to do, and do them. Have a list on your smart phone or carry a small notebook with you, and record things you want to do. I have lists of wines I want to try, new restaurants that are getting good buzz, day trip locations, bike trails I’ve discovered, and dozens of other things that have caught my attention. When you’re organized and focused on what really matters, you’ll never have the opportunity to say, ‘I’m bored.’
- Pay money to take a class. When you spend money on a class, you’re more likely to make a commitment to attending it. If you want to have more variation in your meal plan, take a cooking class at your local cooking school to give you ideas and confidence. If you have always dreamed of going to Rome, sign up for Italian language classes at the local community college to get you prepared. If you wish that you and your significant other would go out dancing, take a ballroom dance class together. If finances are tight, look for free classes listed in your newspaper and make the extra effort to attend.
- Stop making excuses. You can come up with reasons for why you can’t do something until you’re blue in the face. Instead of wasting the energy coming up with those reasons, use that same energy to find ways to make it happen. You’ll be surprised by your ingenuity.”