I don’t consider myself a particularly anxious person, but if there’s one area I struggle with, it’s feeling overwhelmed about time. I was introduced to the concept of time anxiety through Laura Tremaine’s 10 Things to Tell You podcast. Before this episode, I never considered classifying those nagging little worries, but as with most things, naming it has given me so much more awareness and understanding.
In a nutshell, Laura describes two types of time-related anxiety: 1) the short-term, how-will-I-ever-get-everything-done-today type of panic, and 2) the long-term, I’m already-40-how-will-I-have-time-to-fullfill-all-of-my-dreams type of dread.
My concerns fall mostly into the first category, and when I notice them creeping in, I try not to pass judgement. I use it as a reminder to focus on whatever I’m doing, because I’ve found that when I’m feeling time anxiety, I tend to flutter between tasks repeatedly rather than finishing one and moving to the next.
I’ve also taken Laura’s advice about adopting a time-related mantra, which I use repeatedly throughout the day: “I have enough time.” It does feel a little empty at first — more like a wish than reality — but over time, it’s started to sink in. I feel much less frantic and more in control of my time, like I’m deliberately choosing how to spend it versus letting the clock run all over me.
P.S. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on time anxiety, I highly recommend listening to Laura Tremaine’s podcast, episode 145.
P.P.S. Read more thoughts on how we spend our time. Will we choose guilt, shaming or joy?