If you’re like most people, you probably have a diary that is full of both work- and non-work-related business appointments, but few if any appointments with yourself, your family and your friends. That’s because the latter tend to be fitted in when we can spare some time, rather than being deliberately factored into our busy days. The only trouble with this arrangement, however, is that it doesn’t necessarily lead to much quality time, because in reality much of our downtime just gets frittered away.

If weekend activities with your partner and children or nights out with friends are what you feel are missing from your life, try planning and scheduling them in advance to make sure that they happen. Not only will writing them down in your diary or on the kitchen calendar make them more likely to happen, but also you and your loved ones will have things that you can actively look forward to during the course of or at the end of a busy week.