What is time anxiety
Each of us at least once in our lives thought: “It’s too late.” Too late to write a book, too late to start a business, too late to learn a new language. And everything would be fine if this thought did not prevent us from achieving what we wanted and moving forward.
The fear of wasting your time and living life in vain is called time anxiety or fear of wasted time.
What forms does time anxiety take?
There are three types of this condition:
- Anxiety about the present – a daily feeling that you need to run somewhere and do something right now, otherwise life will sweep past you. In some cases, this can lead to full bouts of anxiety and stress.
- Anxiety about the future – thoughts about what may and may not happen today, tomorrow or in a week. These include any questions that begin with the typical “What if…”.
- existential anxiety – the feeling that time flows through your fingers and it is impossible to return it.
Physician and author of The Invincible Mind, Alex Lickerman, notes that the fear of wasted time stems from two simple questions:
- Am I making my life as valuable as possible?
- When my life comes to an end, will I feel like I wasted a lot of time on nonsense?
Paradoxical as it may sound, such an obsession with the value of every minute can prevent us from making our lives truly useful. Anxiety about time makes us subconsciously calculate the potential of this or that activity or event through the prism of the possible and impossible, and this only fetters.
How to deal with the fear of wasted time
Psychological consultant and author of Inner Peace. 101 Ways to Cope with Anxiety, Fear and Panic Attacks Tanya Peterson believes that in order to control time, it is important to understand two truths.
First, time exists and we cannot change it. The second is that time will move forward, and we should move with it. Understanding these two facts will help you take the first steps in dealing with time anxiety. And then you can try three strategies.
1. Define what “time well spent” means to you
What makes you happy? What takes you to a special atmosphere where there are no thoughts about productivity and efficiency? Don’t think about how cool it would be to write a book. Think about whether you like to write at all.
Make a list of activities that bring you real pleasure and make you feel confident and valued in the world around you.
2. Set aside time for useful activities
This does not mean that they need to be added to the daily schedule. Get creative with the process – make useful activities a part of your life. Let’s say you still like to write and would like to become an author. Do this during lunch at work or after you put the kids to bed.
If you have very little time left, no big deal. The key is to pay attention to the items on your Time Well Done list.
3. Eliminate everything that distracts you from your life
The hours we spend watching videos on social media can be one of the factors that cause stress. Analyze how you spend your time and do a little “cleanup” – replace aimless pastime with useful hobbies and activities.
Of course, these strategies will not help from the first second as if by magic. But they will allow you to move in a new direction – forward to a more conscious life and away from meaningless experiences and anxieties. Yes, time moves inexorably forward, but it is important to remember that it can always be caught up and even overtaken.