Feel like you never have enough time? Try these 5 ways to cope with the anxiety

Feel like you never have enough time? Try these 5 ways to cope with the anxiety

via Fast Company by Jory Mackay

How often do you feel like you just don’t have enough time? Despite trying every time management technique and productivity strategy in the book, do you find it impossible to shake the feeling that time is slipping away? This is called time anxiety.

Similar to productivity shame–the feeling that you’ve never done enough–time anxiety is when you feel you never have enough time to meet your goals or that you’re not maximizing the time you do have.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” — William Penn

In our productivity-obsessed world, 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 specter 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?


Time anxiety is the terrible feeling that you never have enough time and aren’t doing enough with the time you do have. But to understand why you feel this way, you first need to understand your relationship with time.

As children, time usually doesn’t mean much to us. Yes, we follow a bit of a schedule. But for the most part, we’re left to fill long, unstructured days with games and learning.

As we become teenagers, however, time starts to gain importance. We have school and sports and hobbies and friends to fill it. Not only that, but we’re often told that “wasting time” now will ruin our future.

Then, suddenly, time becomes our most important and scarce resource. As adults, we have college, work, families, and all other sorts of serious responsibilities that demand our time and attention.

As we get older, time becomes something we not only have to consider but try to control.

But here’s the irony: The more we focus on the limited time we have, the more limiting our time feels.

In other words, the more you worry about time, the more time feels like something you need to worry about.

In this way, time anxiety is a lot like the Pink Rhinoceros problem.

If I ask you not to think about a pink rhino, it’s going to be the first thing that pops into your mind.

Psychologists call this ironic process theory–the process where the deliberate attempt to suppress certain thoughts makes them more likely to surface.

That’s why you can’t tell someone to just stop worrying about time. The more you try to stop time anxiety, the more you’re likely to worry about it.


Instead of ignoring time anxiety, you need to understand how it impacts your thoughts, behaviors, and even habits. That’s because time anxiety impacts our thinking beyond just feeling stressed over your daily schedule.

In fact, time anxiety shows itself in multiple ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Daily time anxiety: This is the feeling of never having enough time in your day. You feel rushed. Stressed. Overwhelmed.
  • Future time anxiety: These are the “What ifs?” that ravage your brain. You feel paralyzed thinking through everything that may or may not happen in the future depending on your actions today.
  • Existential time anxiety: This is the overall anxiety of only have a limited time to live your life. No matter how much you race ahead or push forward, there’s only one finish line.

Now more than ever we demand that we make our time meaningful. This translates into anxiety about how we spend our time today, but also about how those actions impact our future.

The common answer is to focus on what you’re doing right now.

Create a schedule that supports all your goals. Build better habits and remove distractions that waste your time. Get better at estimating projectsPrioritize important work, so you feel accomplished at the end of the day.

And while all those strategies work to help you use your time better, they don’t address the underlying issue.


Overcoming time anxiety comes down to awareness, understanding, and action.

In this sense, RescueTime was built to help people deal with time anxiety. We saw how our friends and colleagues constantly got to the end of the day and asked “Where did my time go?”

RescueTime observes how you spend time in apps, websites, and projects and gives you in-depth reports on your habits. It helps shine a light on where your time goes, which is a massive help in reducing time anxiety. The RescueTime dashboard shows you how you spend your time in apps, websites, and tools. But can too much observation of where your time goes actually add to your time anxiety?

The short answer is yes. 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…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #happier #time #anxiety