Lately, I’m enjoying better conversations when I ask, “How have you been spending most of your time?” It’s not a typical “How are you?” It’s a fun question to modify in that you might try, “What took up most of your time today?”
You’ll often discover what people choose to focus on, what causes them stress, or what functions as a distraction. I’m also finding that when people enjoy their activities or their work, they don’t perceive these as “taking up time.” Rarely will people say something positive when you ask what took up their time. They’ll explain what stole their time because they’d rather not have done that thing.
Spending time feels empowering; taking up time is a loss. Try varying the question, and you’ll learn new things about your friends.