How to balance dating with a busy work and social life

It seems like people are busier these days, which make it harder to date. It feels like more people work longer hours, spend more time on side projects, and generally have less free time to spend on the laborious task that is dating. I’ve heard from so many people who say they’re way too busy to date because of school, work, and social obligations. I still don’t quite grasp how people who work 60+ hours a week manage to find time to hang out with friends, date, and get restful sleep, but more power to them. I’m a planner by nature, so when I feel like I’m too busy to date, I need a bit of structure to figure out how to balance an active dating life with a busy social life. Add work into the mix, and I need way more structure.

Here’s how I typically balance a busy dating and social life (and work life, and blog life, and so on and so on):

Take a big picture view of your time

Most people tend to look at time in a segmented way, working from smaller increments of time to larger increments in sequence. How busy am I in a day? How busy was I during the work week? How busy was I over the weekend? What about this month? It’s normal to think of how much free time you have this way, but when you’re looking at how much available time you might have to date, try to take a big picture view of your time. Do that by working in reverse. If you have 104 days in a year to go on dates, that means you that you have 4 or 5 days in a month to go on a date, which means you only have about 1 day free a week to go on a date. Rethink how you think of busyness and time.

Set aside time

Once you figure out how much free time you do have, set aside time for to date. Think of it as tentatively blocking your time off for a potential date. I know that this post is about dating, but if you’re really busy you should also try to set aside time for a social life too. If that means setting aside one weekend with friends a month and one weekend for dates a month, so be it. It’s about finding balance, not just using up all your free time. If you end up not having a date scheduled during the time you set aside for it, just do something else.

Be open about potential busyness

Look, I get it, some people have jobs or other obligations where their hours change. One day they’re busy for 8 hours, and the next, 16 hours. The thing is, you already know if you have the sort of obligation where your hours change on a whim. You might not know how busy you might be on a given day, but you do know whether  it’s a possibility. You wont be able to predict when changes might happen, but if you’re upfront about the potential for busyness, people will appreciate that. I’ve been on dates with people who have told me “let’s plan for this time, and if I have to work late I’ll let you know so we can reschedule” and it’s not a big deal at all. Just be upfront about your potential for busyness, and how much free time you may or may not have.

You should also be upfront about how much time you can actually spend on a date. If you only have 1 hour of free time for a date, say that before you go on said date. If you leave a date after 1 hour without prefacing your availability, it might give off the wrong impression.

Schedule and confirm

Use a calendar, use a good old-fashioned planner, use a snazzy mobile app. Whatever your method, if you’re truly busy, you should plan ahead. It’s easy to for you to forget plans, especially so when you’re a busy person. If you make plans, you should jot them down in some way to make sure that you don’t forget them. Then, confirm your plans. I’m a big believer in confirming plans at least a week before they’re coming up (if you planned something longer than a week in advance) and confirming the day before or day of. Nothing will bother you more than when you take time to schedule a date, plan that date, and your date flakes on you because you didn’t confirm.

There you have it. Not fool-proof, but these tips are a good road map for how to balance dating with a busy social life. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to read this 😉

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.