Why we are afraid of not having enough time and how to combat the fear of lost time

What Time Anxiety Is

Every one of us has thought at least once in our lives, "It's too late." It's too late to write a book, too late to start a business, too late to learn a new language. And it would be OK, if this thought did not prevent us from achieving what we want and moving forward.


The fear of wasting your time and living your life in vain is called time anxiety or the fear of wasted time.


What forms does time anxiety take?

There are three types of this condition:


Anxiety about the present is the daily feeling that you have to run somewhere and do something right now, or else life will whiz by. In some cases, this can lead to full-blown bouts of anxiety and stress.

Anxiety about the future - thoughts about what may or may not happen today, tomorrow, or in a week. This includes any questions that begin with the typical "What if..."

Existential anxiety is the feeling that time is flowing through your fingers and there is no way to get it back.

Physician and author of The Invincible Mind, Alex Lickerman, notes that the fear of lost time originates in two simple questions:


Am I making my life as valuable as possible?

When my life comes to an end, will I feel like I've wasted a lot of time on nonsense?

As paradoxical as it may sound, this fixation on the value of every minute can prevent us from making our lives truly useful. Anxiety about time causes us to subconsciously calculate the potential of an activity or event through the prism of the possible and the impossible, and this only hinders us.

How to fight the fear of lost time

Determine what "time well spent" means to you.

What makes you happy? What transports you to a special atmosphere where there are no thoughts of productivity and efficiency? Don't think about how cool it would be to write a book. Rather, think about whether you enjoy writing at all.

2. Allocate time for useful activities

This doesn't mean you have to add them to your daily schedule. Get creative and make useful activities a part of your life. Let's say you enjoy writing after all and would like to be an author. Do it during lunch at work or after you put the kids to bed.


If you don't have much time left, that's okay. The important thing is to pay attention to the items on your "time well spent" list.


3. Eliminate all distractions.

The hours we spend watching videos on social media can be one of the factors that causes stress. Analyze how you spend your time and do a little "mopping up" - replacing aimless pastime with useful hobbies and activities.


Of course, these strategies won't help you magically from the first second. But they will allow you to move in a new direction - forward to a more conscious life and away from meaningless worries and anxieties. Yes, time moves inexorably forward, but it is important to remember that it can always be caught up and even surpassed.


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