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What to Do When Time Makes You Anxious

October 12, 2021 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

One of the things that will often trigger my anxiety is feeling as though there isn't enough time. Lately, I've taken on quite a few tasks. As a result, I've felt the pressure of feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day. When this happens, I start to notice that I feel irritable, that my thoughts race, I have a hard time sleeping, and I feel generally overwhelmed.

When I start to notice this, I know it's important to take a step back and evaluate what my responsibilities are, what I am spending my time on, and what I need to do to manage my time more effectively so that I don't feel swamped with things I need to do.

On the other hand, I know that if things continue the way they are, I will begin to feel even more overwhelmed. This leads to behaviors that I know aren't helpful for me, such as focusing on cleaning my house or spending too much time on my phone instead of things I need to finish. I'll end up avoiding what I should be doing, doing what I shouldn't, and then feeling even more stressed because I have a ton of things I still need to do.

How to Overcome Anxiety Related to Time

But I've also found there are things I can do to keep me from feeling this overwhelming sense of panic that I can feel when I'm suddenly faced with everything on my plate. This involves being proactive about time management strategies so that I'm not suddenly trying to do manage control when I have a million things to do and not enough time to do them.

I try to do these things:

  1. Put things into perspective. Sometimes, I'll find myself under stress when things don't go as planned. I arrive a minute or two later than intended, I rush to get somewhere even though it isn't necessary, or things don't happen at the planned time. Is it the end of the world when this happens? No, it isn't. Do I sometimes feel like it is? Yes, I do. But taking a step back to identify how I am feeling in these situations, and whether or not it is warranted, has become a critical step in deciding if I need to take action to remedy a situation or if it is something I can let go of.
  2. Find balance. As I stated earlier, there are times when I feel so overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be completed that I will find myself hyper-focused on something that doesn't need my attention. So, I know I must find a balance. Worrying about planning everything to a precise second can make me feel anxious, but, on the other hand, not completing tasks I need to complete can also make me feel anxious. Therefore, my calendar -- with a healthy dose of self-awareness -- has become my best friend. I intentionally periodically analyze where my time is spent, and I prioritize and schedule tasks, work, and personal time in my calendar. I also commit to focusing on tasks only during the time I have allotted to them and not multi-tasking.
  3. Look for time wasters. Examples of time wasters are things like spending too much time on the phone, social media, chatting with coworkers, etc. These aren't negative activities by any means. However, it's important to be aware of whether or not these activities lead to distraction from other things you need to get done. Once again, reflection and being aware of how your time is spent can help reduce the anxiety you feel about time. Think about how you may feel if you spend a good portion of your day skimming through social media when you know you have a project due at the end of the day. This might result in increased anxiety and that feeling as though there aren't enough hours in the day.

Try these strategies to help you overcome anxiety related to time. Share any strategies that help you manage your time in the comments below.

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, October 12). What to Do When Time Makes You Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, October 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2021/10/what-to-do-when-time-makes-you-anxious



Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

Lizanne Corbit
October, 13 2021 at 1:15 pm

This is such a common one! There are few things that can really ramp us up like time can. I love your suggestions for working with it. Each one is simple to put into practice but can be so effective - especially when we do it consistently. Sometimes the most important thing we can do is take a deep breath, remind ourselves that this happens, and give ourselves that space for perspective.

October, 15 2021 at 11:05 am

Hi Lizanne,
It is such a good point that consistency is key! Taking the time to pause and reflect - and consistently do so - can be such a simple but impactful strategy for dealing with anxiety.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Hope all is well,
Rizza

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