Time Anxiety: What is it and how can you deal with it?

Do you often feel like there isn't enough time in the day? Do you feel rushed and stressed out, even when you have plenty of time to spare? If so, you may be suffering from time anxiety, or also called, chronophobia. Fear of time is a very common psychological condition and it can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.

Time's uncontrollable nature may be the biggest factor contributing to a time anxiety disorder. Just as we cannot control the weather or other natural disasters, we also can't control time. This lack of control can be very anxiety-provoking and it can result in feelings of powerlessness.
16. July 2022  • 8 minute read

What is time anxiety (chronophobia)?

Time anxiety, also known as chronophobia, is a fear of time. It is a very common psychological condition that causes people to feel rushed, stressed out, and anxious about time. Time anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including the fear of being late, the fear of not having enough time to do things or the fear of not being able to control time.

Chronophobia can manifest in many ways, examples include:

  • Daytime anxiety - feeling rushed and stressed during the day, feeling like you have to hurry up and do things, and putting off tasks.
  • Future time anxiety - worrying about the future, constantly checking the time, and feeling like you have to do things perfectly.
  • Existential time anxiety - feeling like your life is going by too fast and you're not doing anything with it.

What are time anxiety symptoms?

Time anxiety symptoms can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include a terrible feeling that there is not enough time in day-to-day life and a feeling that you're in a constant hurry. Other symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, sweating, and heart palpitations.

Note: If you feel like you're suffering from time anxiety, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.

Concerned about being on time

One of the most common causes of time anxiety is the fear of being late. This can be a tender fear because it can cause you to miss important appointments, meetings or deadlines.

Finishing your daily goals makes you uncomfortable

Another common cause of time anxiety is feeling stressed about not having enough time to do things. This may be due to a busy everyday life, or it may be due to an unrealistic view of time. Some people suffer from stress after finishing all daily responsibilities, as not having more goals or tasks makes them feel anxious.

Having trouble delegating tasks can be another sign of time anxiety. When having time anxiety, you may feel like you have to do everything yourself in order to get it done right, which can increase stress and anxiety.

Fear of missing out on life opportunities

Chronophobia can also be caused by the fear of not being able to control time. This may be due to a variety of ongoing feelings, including the fear of death, the fear of aging, or the fear of losing out on important life opportunities.

Time anxiety attack

Time anxiety can cause panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden onset of fear that causes physical symptoms, such as sweating, heart palpitations, and difficulty breathing. If you have time anxiety, you may find that you have panic attacks when you are under a lot of time pressure or when you are facing a deadline.

How can you deal with time anxiety?

There are a few things that can help you deal with time anxiety. Some people find that relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation help to ease their symptoms and improve well-being. Others find that therapy is helpful in dealing with their fear of time.

Conquer time

One of the best ways to deal with chronophobia is to try to understand what you can and cannot control about time, and then accept it. You cannot control the amount of time that you have, but you can control how you spend your time. Accepting this can help to ease your anxiety about time.

When do you spend your time effectively?

In the productivity-obsessed world we live in, lots of people believe that time is well spent when it is used to accomplish goals, while others believe that time is well spent when it is used to enjoy life. Regardless of how you define time well spent, it is important to use your time in a way that makes you happy. If you are unhappy with how you are spending time, it may be time to make some changes. Allocate your time to work, family and friends, hobbies, and relaxation in a way that works for you.

Live in the present

Another way to deal with chronophobia is to live in the present. Living in the present means that you stop worrying about what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. You are simply enjoying the moment that you are in. It is important to acknowledge the impact that time has on your life.

How to avoid time anxiety attacks

There are a number of things you can do to make your relationship with time better. It is important to recognise the signs of time anxiety. If you find yourself constantly worrying about time or feeling rushed and stressed out, take a step back and evaluate your situation. Are you really short on time? Or are you just perceiving that you are?

Keep track of your anxiety in a journal

Another helpful tip is to keep track of your anxiety in a journal. This can help you to identify patterns and triggers for your chronophobia. Once you know what triggers your anxiety, you can try to avoid those situations.

Less is more, prioritize the most meaningful tasks

It is important to learn how to manage your time effectively. This means learning how to prioritize your tasks and understanding that you cannot do everything at once. It is also important to delegate tasks when possible. Prioritize your tasks and focus on them based on importance. This will help you in two ways: Firstly, it will help you to focus on things that are actually important. Secondly, it will give a sense of accomplishment which will help to ease anxiety.

Calm yourself by imagining the worst case scenario.

One of the best ways to deal with time anxiety is to calm yourself by picturing the worst scenario. For example, if you are anxious about an upcoming meeting, picture yourself being late or not being able to find your materials. This may seem counterintuitive, but picturing the worst-case scenario can actually help to ease your chronophobia because it helps you to realize that the worst-case scenario is not as bad as you think.

Create goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound)

Creating SMART goals can help you feel motivated to better manage your time and reduce stress. When creating goals, it is important to make sure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you to create realistic goals that you can actually achieve.

Concentrate on a single task at a time

Multi-tasking is often mentioned as a valuable skill, but can in reality be quite stressful and cause you to lose focus. When you are trying to concentrate on a single task, it is important to turn off all distractions and give that task your full attention. This will help you to complete the task more quickly and reduce stress.

4 methods to improve time management

The following strategies can come in very handy if you want to improve your time management.

The ABC Method

This technique helps you to prioritize your tasks by assigning them a letter grade. Tasks that are graded “A” should be given top priority and completed first. Tasks that are graded “B” should be given second priority, and tasks that are graded “C” can be given third priority. This technique can help you to focus on the most important tasks.

The Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique can help you break down work into manageable chunks. You work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. After four Pomodoros, you take a longer break of 20 minutes. This technique can help you to stay focused and avoid burnout.

The Eisenhower Matrix

This technique helps you to prioritize your tasks by urgency and importance. Tasks that are urgent and important should be done first, followed by tasks that are important but not urgent. Tasks that are neither urgent nor important should be delegated or eliminated.

The Time Blocking Method

This technique involves creating a schedule for your day and then blocking out time for each task. For example, you may block out two hours for working on a project, 30 minutes for checking email, and 15 minutes for taking a break. This method can help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list. This gives you more control over time and gives you maximum benefit.
Try out different methods and find the one that works best for you. And remember, time management is a skill that takes practice. The more you use these techniques, the better you will become at managing your time..


Time anxiety/chronophobia can be daunting, but it is also something that can be managed with the right tools and strategies. If you find yourself feeling anxious about time, try to identify the root cause of your anxiety. Once you know what is causing your anxiety, you can begin to implement some of the above strategies to help ease your stress. And remember, it is important to ask for help when needed.
Agota Vonya
UX designer/ researcher

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