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How to Deal With The Anxiety Of Running Out of Time

By: Brian Kim - January 13, 2013

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One of the easiest ways to let fear dictate your life is to be pressured by these "time landmarks" that society has ingrained within us. We feel we must do ABC by age XYZ.

As everything in our society gets faster and faster due to technology, we forget the ability to slow down.

This idea of needing to hurry and finish because you'll run out of time - it's a fear based idea. If you don't finish, then you think this'll happen and that'll happen.

How do you know that to be true?

How do you know this'll happen and that'll happen?

What are those beliefs based on?

You might have an example with people you know but that small sample size can't speak for everybody.

Then there's the whole idea of a sense of urgency in that you need it to get you going.

How do we reconcile all this with the idea of slowing down?

First off, the answer to this is the answer to a lot of things - balance.

Yes, you should plan ahead and have these timelines mapped out to "contain" what you're going to do and then to backtrack and see what you have to do by month, week, and finally by day.

But once you have that and go on to do it, to focus on the day and to do what you're supposed to that day and complete it, there shouldn't be any anxiety or fear or what if this happens, or what if that happens going on in your head.

Because if you do your job daily, what's there to be anxious about? If you consistently do your job, aren't the chances of completing by your scheduled date pretty good? And if you run a little late, is it the end of the world?

Then the counter to this is that it gives you permission to be lazy.


If you do what you plan to do, where does the laziness come from?

If you're present and focused and have that desire, then there's no reason to be lazy other than the fact that you may not really want it.

That sense of urgency is there but in another form in that you understand that the day's work must be done in order to build the foundation. It's not a sense of hurry but a sense of understanding that you can't build that house you want without carefully doing your best to lay down the bricks everyday.

All this anxiety about running out of time is based on this crazy need for us to be in control of the outcome, to have it done by a certain date, OR ELSE.

And then fear multiplied by our imagination takes over.

The desire for control and fear are inherently linked because if you think that you don't control everything, then everything is going to get out of control and get messed up.

You can't control everything. The only thing you can control is what you do on any given day and how well you do it.

To be always wanting to be in control and fearful - that's a dangerous place to be mentally.

Look around you at the people who want to control everything and everyone in your life. Do they seem happy?

Everything has to be right. Everything has to be perfect. Nobody is good enough. Nobody can EVER be good enough.

They're always fearful something may go wrong.

Don't let that need to control and that fear drive you.

We need to learn to differentiate between what we can control and what we can't and then go on to do our best on what we can control.

And we need to learn when we're making our decisions based on fear.

Because decisions made from the root of fear tend to yield fruits that aren't to our liking as fear is a contracting force that doesn't allow you to fully blossom.

The calm knowing that your desired outcome will come if you do what you set out to do daily - that calm knowing should drive you, not the fear, not the sense of urgency. The calm understanding that you are doing your best on what you can control and that you're letting the rest of the cards fall where they may.

In short, to do the best job you can and to let the rest go.

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