🗓️How Routines Help
People sometimes ask me how to be more productive. They really want to know how to fit more of the things they enjoy in their schedule. And while this trick has nothing to do with productivity, it helps to solve the mentioned problem.
Scheduling is hard. It is already hard when you want to fit something into your calendar. It becomes even more challenging with each person you wish to schedule an activity with.
Going for a walk is something you can do spontaneously. Going for a walk with 3 of your friends may prove to be almost impossible. Each of you has conflicting schedules and no time satisfies all of you.
This one trick
The trick I've mentioned earlier is to make a routine of something you enjoy. This means putting an activity in your calendar not only for now but also for the future.
Say you enjoy listening to music with your friends. How to make sure you won't have problems with scheduling? Dedicate the first Wednesday of the month for music listening sessions.
OK, but what if some of your friends already have plans for the next meeting? Well, there's always the next one, right? Giving the routine an easy to remember mnemonic (first Wednesday of the month), everyone who's invited can make plans around it. Maybe they won't join this meeting, but they'll be able to plan for the next.
This is not restricted to activities with others, by the way. You can set a weekly walk routine ("every Sunday I go for a two-hour walk at 6 PM"), fitness routine ("I exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 AM"), or leisure routine ("I play games every two weeks on Monday").
More time for you
If too many people require your attention, you can also limit when you accept invitations ("I only do meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, I have another work to do all the other days").
This approach was also suggested by Nir Eyal in his book "Indistractable." The author mentioned how they have a bi-weekly meeting with their friends. They have the dates scheduled ahead, they choose the venues upfront, so all they have to do to maintain the bonds with their close ones is to show up at a given place at a given time.
And when you spend less time scheduling, you have more of it to do the things you enjoy. Cheers!
P.S. When someone asks you for help, ask them why they need it. Sometimes their actual needs may be different from what they say. Solving the underlying problem is often much better!