How often do you feel like you just don’t have enough time? Do you often feel you have more to-do’s than time? Do you stress out over unfinished tasks? This could be time anxiety.
Time anxiety is the terrible feeling that you never have enough time and aren’t doing enough with the time you do have. In our productivity-obsessed culture, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with your schedule and workload from time to time.
But time anxiety is more than just a momentary spike in your workday stress. It’s an emotional threat that haunts your days, causes you to procrastinate on important tasks, and can even lead to burnout.
Unlike other aspects of our lives, time can never be controlled. So how can you move past the anxiety of time’s uncontrollable nature and learn to feel good about yourself and your work?
Now more than ever we have more pressure to make our time meaningful. This can translate into anxiety about how we spend our time today, but also about how those actions impact our future.
Obsessing over any aspect of your life will lead to anxiety and stress and time is no different. However, being unaware of where your time is going is just as stressful and can be one of the causes of time anxiety in the first place.
Think of it like the dieter wanting to lose weight. Obsessing over every calorie and carb is stressful and unsustainable. But ignoring what you’re eating won’t bring the results you want. It’s all about finding a balance between awareness and action so you can continue living your life.
If you want to remove time anxiety and feel better about your days, here are a few strategies to try.
- Acknowledge the reality of time
It’s probably been a long time since you thought about the reality of time.
But time anxiety builds when we ignore or try to manipulate the ways that time impacts our day. To start, you need to accept some truths about time:
- Time exists
- You can’t stop time from moving or slow it down
- All you have control over is what you do today
- Ask what ‘time well-spent’ means to you
Time anxiety comes from feeling like you’re not spending your time in the best way possible. But do you really know what the ‘best possible way’ is?
- Start by asking yourself what does a good day look like?
- At work, what sort of tasks makes you feel accomplished?
- Outside of work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy in the moment? Not just because they help you ‘turn off’ your mind, but activities that you truly enjoy.
- Make space for the things that matter (and just do them)
Time anxiety can feel paralyzing. But the worst thing you can do is sit back and wait for motivation to spend your time in a better way.
Look at your time well-spent activities and decide how they will fit into your day. This doesn’t necessarily mean scheduling a specific time for them, Instead, think about how your most meaningful tasks will fit into a real day.
- Will you do them in the morning before work?
- On your commute?
- After dinner when the kids are in bed?
Make space for the things that are important to you and time will sort itself out.
Thinking through your day like this can also help you cut out the timewasters and distractions that add to your time anxiety. When you come to terms with your limited supply of time and what truly matters, it’s easier to turn off the TV, log off social media, and do things that make you feel good.
we can’t control time
We all want to spend our time in the best way possible. But stressing out over the seconds and minutes we have does us more harm than good.
Be realistic about your time, focus on what makes you feel happy, and the rest will take care of itself. If you enjoy this article, post a comment below and let us know.