I often hear people say, “Don’t worry about taking your time in your 20s because, you know, the 30s are the new 20s” aka, like, that’s when my life will start to be easier and more fun, right? That’s when it’ll be easier for me to make more friends, when I’ll fully find my own identity and who I am? So many possibilities! So why rush… why don’t I just have a good time in my 20s and then I can get more serious about my life in my 30s…?

Even though I’m not 30 yet, I know that if you’re not living life like how you want to live it right now, today, you won’t ever live it. Thomas Crowell, a previous Chemistry professor at the University of Virginia (who was 101!) said, “The years go by, and unless you plan your time, time just passes.” He basically noted that if you never plan for your life now, then time will just slip through your fingers and one day, you’ll look back and think, “What did I do in my life? What were my priorities? How did I stay active? Who were my friends? Did I make good investments with my time?” I remember a guy in one of my studio art classes in college talking about how he had once been unfortunately run over by a car. He lifted his arm to show the scars of this incident, but he stood there proudly and strongly as he announced how grateful he was to be alive today and still have time available to do the things he truly wanted to do. He said he now had another perspective on his time in this world, as he realized we aren’t in control of how much time we are alive, and so he must live it to the fullest right now.

Although this is somewhat of a morbid example, it’s true we have a relatively short amount of time available to make some decisions and plan the things we REALLY want to do right now, and what is important to us. Available time is a treasure and a luxury. We all know that for those who graduate from college and hit the ground running hard, getting in a vicious cycle of working a set 8 to 6 job, or even longer, finding it hard to make enough time to even survive the day and feed ourselves. (But really, how many of us are working 50+ hour work weeks?!)

But, what does all of this have to do with making friends? Everything. Because making friends is a choice and it’s something you have to plan to do or else, it won’t happen. So, why are we having such a hard time making friends nowadays? Because there are more time commitments than ever. With social media vying for our time, being overwhelmed with job commitments and responsibilities, going to the grocery store, cooking food on our own and eating meals, catching up with family, and then of course having some leisure time available for us, it’s no wonder why we have such a small amount of time available for making friends, as well as keeping up with our old friends, especially if they live in a different place. But, friends are an important aspect of our lives. Without community, we become isolated and feel alone very quickly. Humans are social animals and we desperately need to feel connected to others in some way, not just on social media, but in our daily lives. 

So, how can you get better at making the time for things that really matter to you? Here’s a guide you can follow to help you prioritize what’s important to you, plan your life the way you want to live it, and get those things done, without any regret of missing out on them later on. Whether you’re in your teens, 20s, 30s or older, I hope you find these tips helpful for finding a more balanced lifestyle than where you are right now.

Make Your Priority List Today
  1. Start by making a list of your top priorities in your life. Put a max of 10 items on the list. (Hint: Physical exercise should be one of them.)
  2. Next, figure out the approximate amount of time each of those things will take in your life to do every week. (Hint: Physical exercise should take a minimum of 30 minutes a day.)
  3. Now, figure out which priorities are to be done every day, twice a week, once a week or once a month and color code your priorities based on those times.
  4. Then, get out your calendar (either digital or paper) and pencil out each of those 10 priorities over a month, figuring out what is a good time of the day to do all of those.
  5. Do up to 5 priorities a week, testing out how many priorities you can handle and at what time of the day is the best time for you to do them. (Hint: The goal here is to get in a good habit. Once you’ve made your balanced lifestyle a habit, you won’t want to fall away from it, as you'll be used to doing it. It'll be familiar to you.)
  6. Plan an activity on Aloe to get several people together who can be your support group for holding each other accountable for following through with your top priorities in life. Bonding together over a shared experience or a common goal will bring you closer together with those people in that group, giving you accountability, keeping your priorities in check, AND making new friends, all at the same time. If you stick to your priorities and keep showing up to meet with the group of people that hold you accountable with those priorities, then eventually, your balanced lifestyle will pay off and you'll get in a good routine!!

    General advice: Canceling meeting someone at the last minute might not seem too bad for you, but it shows the other person that you don’t care about them AT ALL and that you don’t even care to even try to be friends with them. So, canceling at the last minute will take points out of your balanced lifestyle and will make the other person not want to be friends with you or waste their time with you, if you can’t come through. So, be responsible and show up and go, don’t cancel and ghost.

Did this guide help you? I hope so! Let me know in the comments below!! :-)

Plan Your Life (Track Your Priorities and Habits)