New York is a funny place.
I have friends in the city I haven't seen in weeks, not because I don't want to hang out with them, but because everyone in Manhattan is busy and works all the time. It doesn't have to be this way, though. I usually put in six days a week, but not brag, I have a rich life outside the office.
Here's how you can feel the same way about your non-professional existence, even if you're constantly logging in hours at your desk and go a long time without socializing with people who are only a train ride away.
1. Take a class in an activity of interest
It's like being in school, only fun! I recently enrolled in an improv class to revisit my old love of performing, and I've enjoyed having an opportunity to meet new people and push myself in an area outside of work. Look into weekend courses in activities you like, and if you're into sports, research local teams or groups that come together and practice during the week.
2. Know when to say no
Sometimes you have to work late, but if you have plans one night and are asked to do a few extra things for your manager, just be firm and say that you're unavailable.
3. Get up early to make time for something you like
Back when I was less lazy, I would wake up at 5:00 a.m. to go to the gym. I don't enjoy doing that anymore, but if you ever feel you don't have time to work out or do something you love at the end of the work day, make time for it in the morning. It will energize you and jumpstart your day, and when you get home after work, you'll be able to relax without feeling guilty about not taking advantage of your free evening.
4. Offer to put in some extra hours/time in exchange for a long weekend or vacation
If you want to go away for an extended period of time or have a long weekend, it would be polite of you to offer to put in some extra time beforehand. You'll feel better about totally unplugging and no one will be able to say you don't do enough.
5. Go out with a friend at lunch every once in a while
Most of us eat at our desks during the work day, but if you go out to lunch with a friend once or twice a month, you'll not only escape the office for a bit, but catch up with someone you care about. I'm all for bringing back lunchtime in America, and you can help get us there by prioritizing midday meals with your friends every once in a while.
6. Go to happy hour
Because you definitely need it, and so do your friends!
7. Limit your fun so you're well enough to enjoy yourself for more than just one day
I understand the temptation to "live it up" during your few nights off, but the last thing you want to do is feel sick when you have a bit of downtime. Indulge and enjoy yourself, but if you overdo it, you won't be in any shape to do even more cool things with your friends.
I hate the word "brunch," but it universally works for crazy busy 20-somethings. It represents a time for us to gather and talk over good food, which makes everyone happy. Warm weather is headed your way, so take advantage of it by hanging out at brunch.