Modern women want it all; the right house, a fulfilling career, time with the girls and someone special to share it all with. But finding time to find that special person is hard and dating can become onerous and exhausting. There are, however, new ways to approach the dating game that take in to account the 21st century lifestyle that are every bit as fun as traditional methods.
Here are seven tips to fitting in dating in to a busy woman's agenda.
Invite your date along to one of your engagements. Especially in the New Year our calendar leaves very little time for an actual one-on-one date. Provided it's not an important work or family function, you should consider inviting your potential beau along to a plan that you've already made like visiting a friend's exhibition, or seeing your favourite band. It's also a good way to see if they 'fit' in to your life as it stands.
Embrace lunch and coffee dates. Who said dating needed to be confined to the evening? If you've got a few moments in-between meetings, why not pop out of the office for a quick get-to-know-you session? The beauty of lunch and coffee dates is that there is a strict time limitation of basically an hour, and if it you aren't enjoying yourself you haven't wasted a whole evening trying to make a dash for it.
Avoid alcohol. It's no secret that alcohol can be a huge time vacuum; you can be on your first glass of wine, and then suddenly – poof! It's 1am and you're hailing a cab. By avoiding booze on a date you are not only staying conscious of the time, but you're able to make better decisions and avoid a potential hangover in the morning (and absolutely nobody has time for those!)
Try a phone date. There must be hundreds of Hollywood movies where two people get on the phone and have a wonderful conversation that ends hours later; phone dates are such a romantic way to get to know someone new. Even if it goes particularly well and you chat all night, at least you can do other things while you're on the line, like sort out your files or hanging out the washing!
Be clear. A lot of time could be saved during the dating process if both parties were transparent with their intentions. There is no harm in expressing that you're a busy woman who doesn't have the time to play games. Honesty limits a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
Book them in. Once you've agreed to going on a date, lock it in your diary as you would an important meeting - because that is what it is. It can be very tempting to flake on meeting someone new, but once you've got it down in black and white -- commit to it. 'Having it all' means achieving balance in all areas, so continue to remind yourself that dating is worthwhile, especially if you do it in a way that suits you and your schedule.
Anna James is a freelance writer.