In 2015 I hiked my first ADK High Peak, Skylight, followed shortly by Colden. I did not come back for almost four years. The first hike had me hooked, but I could never figure out how to make the time. If you're like me, you have to almost force, jam, the event into your life to make it happen, and really that is what it comes down to. Some advice to make that part a little easier...
o Plan ahead, which seems obvious, but a person I absolutely fucking hate once told me prior planning prevents piss poor performance. Plan 2-3 possible trips, to compensate for closed trails or bad weather OR what is far more likely packed trailheads.
o Either get there REALLY early, or get there REALLY late. What do I mean? I mean wake up in Lake Placid from your dope room at the Quality Inn at 330 or 4 am and head to the trailhead, because they fill up by six typically, well... ever since COVID happened at least. Alternative, pick your friends up in Jersey at 6pm and get to the trailhead at 10 or 11 pm. There are usually spots opened from dayhikers who returned to their cars around 8 or 9, and get to your shelter 5 miles from the trailhead at like midnight or one am. Sounds bananas right? well, it really isn't that bad, knocks out a few approach miles for the next day, and hell you are already in the woods. That being said, the shelters may be occupied, so have a tent/bivy contigency.
o Pre stage your equipment. Get back from the trip, and back your bag for the next one, minus perishable food and water. That way when you get out of work the day you leave for your next trip, grab your bag and get steppin'.
o No babysitter? plan a contigency trip where you can bring your kid. I hiked Cascade with a four year old.
That's what I have for now. Feel free to post good/better ideas.