We live in a society where we can claim to be ruled by the tyranny of the clock. From waking up to falling asleep, we think about how to make the most of the time, filling all the possible gaps to experience that subjective feeling so desired that we are productive, that we do not waste time.
The problem is, if the ideal is to get the best out of it at the same time, if we become obsessed, we will not only feel like we are losing it, but in the end the minutes will end up slipping through our fingers. as the grown-ups do by the walls of an hourglass.
The obsession with time and its use is called chronopathy. It is not a mental disorder, but it is a potentially fatal problem that results in various mental health issues. We find out below what it is.
Chronopathy: the obsession with time
Chronopathy (Chron, “god of time; time” and pathos “suffering”) is the name given to some people’s obsession with making the most of their time.
We say “true”, but depending on how you look at the truth is that everyone has this problem to a greater extent because in our western society there is a very established maxim, almost tyrannical, that must be abandoned in the past. maximum. We are taught from an early age that we must do everything to make the most of the 24 hours that make up our day.
While some people use their time better than others, many end up developing an unhealthy preoccupation with the thought that time is slipping through their fingers. This worry causes them stress, anxiety and emotional tension, as well as a feeling of worthlessness and sees themselves as less responsible than others.
Although chronopathy is a source of discomfort, it is not considered a mental disorder. If we look for it in a mental disorder diagnostic manual, like the DSM or CIE, we won’t find it.
However, Just because it doesn’t appear in these textbooks doesn’t mean we don’t have to worry or deserve treatment.. The ironic consequence of some people’s chronopathy is that they really waste time obsessing about enjoying it.
Within this problem is not only the need to satisfy the social demand to be constantly productive, but it also includes the problem, the enormous difficulty of stopping and resting. People who suffer from chronopathy cannot stop despite their exhaustion and also find it difficult to enjoy the moment, the family and the little pleasures in life.
The concept of chronopathy has been popularized in recent years thanks to the book by psychiatrist Marian Rojas Estapé, “How to Make Good Things Happen to You” (2018). The tendency to try to make the most of the day-to-day can end up being detrimental, causing the individual to sacrifice their sanity in search of trying to get through more hours of the day than they have. Rojas Estapé talks about the misconception, prevalent in our western society, that “precipitation and acceleration produce ever greater results”.
In our society, we believe that what is right, what is right, is to be busy. If by any chance we recognize that our agenda is a bit free, that it has a bit of emptiness, it gives us the impression that we will be judged, that we will be considered as a person who does not take advantage of time or who is a little hedonistic and disorganized. We can even be surprised and judge the person who tells him that he has free time and does not know what to do with it.
Consequences of obsession with time
If it is normal to want to make the most of your time, Being obsessed with doing your best can have serious consequences for our well-being and mental health.. This can be demonstrated in many ways in our day to day life which ironically can waste our time, we feel overwhelmed that we cannot make the most of it and we miss the opportunity to spend time. meaningful and enjoyable with important areas of life such as family and friends.
By constantly thinking about how to make the most of time and believing that if we stop we waste a lot of time, the state of constant acceleration and hyperactivity prevents us from thinking clearly. Because we don’t stop or think calmly, we cannot think coldly, and therefore we cannot consciously reflect on what we are doing or pay attention to how we are doing it. To think clearly we have to take our time, and rushing is just the opposite.
Ironically, the obsession with taking advantage of time accelerates the perception of time. As we have the impression that time is slipping through our fingers, it ends up arriving. In other words, the more obsessed we are with making the most of time, the greater the feeling that we are wasting it, that it is happening faster than it should and that the days are shorter. It gives us the impression that it is not spreading to us.
The concern to be productive can reach such a level that we disconnect from our own emotions, which can be considered as one of the main pathological aspects of chronopathy, even if, as we mentioned before, it does not. it is not a mental disorder. Chronopathy takes us away from our own emotions and makes us pay more attention to how to enjoy the time instead of paying attention to what is happening to our psyche and our body.
We don’t have the time or the break to listen to what our body is telling us, our own emotions, and to identify relevant emotional events. However, sooner or later we will notice them, not because we stopped, but because these emotional states have become so intense that we can hardly keep ignoring them. Excessive tension, anxiety, and stress are common emotions in people caught up with chronopathy, and even though they may go unnoticed in consciousness, our bodies and mental health will eventually suffer for them.
How to get rid of chronopathy?
While we reiterate that chronopathy is not a mental disorder, it is clear that its effect is psychological and must be overcome in order to enjoy a full life and emotional well-being. If you suffer from a great obsession with enjoying time and suffering from it, you must go see a psychologist to see what we can do there. Psychotherapy can help people with chronopathy stop and enjoy the moment, get out of schedule, and understand that not making the most of the day does not mean incompetence.
To combat the obsession with productivity and time, here are some tips.
1. Don’t saturate your agenda
It is crucial that, in order not to fall into an obsession with making the most of the time, the agenda is not saturated. Whenever possible, tasks should be removed from the calendar so that the remaining tasks can be completed smoothly. This way, one will become more aware of what one is doing and will not feel so saturated with the feeling of running out of time.
2. Look for bonds that you can profit from
It is essential to look for an obligation that we like, a task that we cannot break free from but has something that can be enjoyed, as if it were a hobby.
It can be tricky at times, but if you are successful, the level of exhilaration and the feeling of enjoying the time will increase dramatically.
3. Leave spaces unplanned
It might sound counterintuitive, but the truth is that leaving gaps unplanned will help combat that feeling of wasted time.
It is strongly recommended to leave an empty space in our timetable or agenda, an unplanned portion of time devoted exclusively to our rest, an anarchic rest, laid back and in which the best we can do is absolutely nothing. By stopping for an hour, we’ll find a way to make the most of the rest of the day in a healthy and productive way.
4. Enjoy the process
Trying to enjoy the process rather than the outcome is a good way to turn that desire to take advantage of time into a subjective feeling that this desire has already been fulfilled. If we think about what we want to finish, what we do is start immediately with the next task, when we are done. it will make us feel like we did it in a hurry and as a result we weren’t able to make the most of our time..
It’s better to do one good thing than two bad and that’s the feeling it gives us. Enjoy the process, be aware of it, and learn from any mistakes that might arise during it. It is through this a learning that will give us the impression of making the most of the time, and on top of that, we will appreciate it.
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- Rojas, M. (2019). How to Make Good Things Happen to You (1st ed.). Diane.
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- SA (June 3, 2019). Learn to Do Nothing Are you obsessed with “wasting” time? What is chronopathy. Bugle.