How frequently do you feel as though you don’t have enough time? Do you find it difficult to escape the impression that time is slipping away despite attempting every time management approach and productivity plan in the book? This is known as time anxiety.
Time anxiety is defined as “ongoing emotions of unease and even dread around the passage of time.” It is similar to productivity shame in that you believe you never have enough time to fulfill your goals or that you are not optimizing the time you do have.
What does time anxiety look like?
Worry about being late: You could spend a lot of time checking the time or figuring out the best route to your next location. This may provide some comfort, but it comes at a cost: it distracts you and impairs your ability to concentrate on what you’re currently doing.
Feeling of missing opportunities: If your time anxiety is related to concerns about big opportunities, you may feel as if you’ve missed the turn for certain paths. If you haven’t completed key milestones that you planned to accomplish by your present age, such as marriage, international travel, or a professional change, you may begin to fear that you’ll never catch up.
Unease on missing planned events: You feel anxious while on vacation. You can feel the time ticking away until you have to return to work or school, and every instant you don’t complete your to-do list feels wasted. When you go home, you don’t even feel happy with what you did accomplish since there was so much more you could have done.
Types of time anxieties
Time anxiety manifests itself in a variety of ways. Here are a couple such examples:
Daily time anxiety: You feel like there is never enough time in the day. You feel pressed for time. Overwhelmed all the time.
Existential time anxiety: This is the general fear that you only have a limited amount of time to spend in your life. There is only one finish line, no matter how fast you dash forward or push forward.
What could be the underlying cause of it?
Existential dread: What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? These questions may swarm your head. It makes you feel like failing to live up to your full potential. You may have a feeling that your life is useless, or that you aren’t doing anything to add value or leave a lasting impression. These emotions are frequently linked to a desire for control. Some things of life are under your control, but others are beyond your grasp.
People-pleasing tendency: One manifestation of people-pleasing tendencies is a fear of being late. When you want others to like you, you may go to any length, even being on time, to make a good impression. Worrying about what you do with your time might be linked to people-pleasing behavior. You believe that wasting your time would disappoint your parents, partner, and other loved ones.
How to deal with time anxiety?
Accept the reality of time: You’ve undoubtedly been thinking about what time means to you for a long time. But time anxiety grows when we ignore or try to alter how time affects our day. To begin, you must accept several time-related truths:
This may appear to be a ridiculous initial step, but realizing the influence of time on your life is a powerful approach to reducing anxiety and begin moving forward.
Practice mindfulness: Cultivating increased mindfulness, or the capacity to focus on the present moment, can also be beneficial. All you have to do is concentrate on what you’re doing right now rather than thinking about what will happen later.
Mindfulness may appear simple, but for most people, it requires practice. It’s natural to consider the future, especially when future possibilities might influence life results.
Make room for the important things: Time anxiety can be crippling. The worst thing you can do is sit back and wait for inspiration to use your time more wisely. Instead, psychologists have shown that motivation does not come before action, but rather that action comes before motivation. In other words, in order to feel driven and joyful, you must take action. Evaluate your time-efficient activities and determine how they will fit into your day.
Consult a therapist
If time anxiety begins to impact your mood and prevent you from enjoying your typical activities, a therapist may assist you in examining the reasons for these feelings and exploring solutions to overcome your anxieties. Therapy might be especially beneficial if you suffer from existential dread or worry about not living up to your full potential. In therapy, you can begin to explore strategies to effect significant change and accept what you cannot control.
Time anxiety caused by people-pleasing impulses or social anxiety can be difficult to overcome on your own, but expert guidance can help you take the initial steps toward overcoming these issues.