Time anxiety: is it too late? - Deepstash

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“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT.

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What is time anxiety?

While death anxiety is the fear of running out of time, time anxiety is the fear of wasting your time. It’s an obsession about spending your time in the most meaningful way possible. And when society tells us—or when we interpret signs from society as saying—that it’s too late to achieve a particular goal, we don’t perceive it as meaningful enough. We need—we demand—that what we do with our lives actually matters.

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Time anxiety can take several forms

Time anxiety can take several forms:

  • Current time anxiety: the daily feeling of being rushed that makes us feel overwhelmed and panicky.
  • Future time anxiety: thoughts about what may or may not happen in the future, which are the cause of worry and “what if” types of internal questions.
  • Existential time anxiety: the sense of lost time slipping away and never to return, which many people experience in a more acute way when thinking about death.

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Am I creating the greatest amount of value with my life that I can? Will I feel, when it comes my time to die, that I spent too much of my time frivolously?

DR. ALEX LICKERMAN

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“And if we continue asking why, like the child we once were, trying to excavate down to our most rudimentary ambition—a time-worn exercise—we’ll eventually find all reasons lead to the same place, to the one core reason for living we’d sought all along, the core reason against which we measure the value of everything we do: to be happy.”

DR. ALEX LICKERMAN

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three steps you can take to reduce time anxiety

  1. Define what “time well spent” means to you: sit down, and think about what really makes you happy and gets you in the flow, without overthinking about how feasible the final outcome would be.
  2. Make space for these moments: Think of where you will incorporate these moments into your life.
  3. Cut out time-consuming distractions: Do a quick audit of your content consumption patterns and try to cut out the amount of time you spend in an input rather than output mode.

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CURATED BY

nesslabs

Ness Labs provides content, coaching, courses and community to help makers put their minds at work. Apply evidence-based strategies to your daily life, discover the latest in neuroscience research, and connect with fellow curious minds.

Time anxiety is something I’m still struggling with, and may keep on struggling with for the rest of my life. If that’s something you’re also struggling with, I hope you find these strategies useful.

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