Chronopathy: Characteristics Of The Obsession With Taking Advantage Of Time


We live in a society in which we can affirm that we are governed by the tyranny of the clock. From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep we think about how to take advantage of our time, occupying all the possible spaces to feel that long-awaited subjective sensation that we are productive, that we are not wasting time.

The problem is that, although the ideal is to make the most of 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 like grains do along the walls of a clock. sand.

The obsession with time and making the most of it has a name: chronopathy It is not a mental disorder, but it is a very current problem that brings with it several mental health problems. Let’s find out below what it is about.

Chronopathy: the obsession with time

Chronopathy (Cronos, “god of time; time” and pathos “suffering”) is the name given to the obsession of certain people with making the most of their time

We say “true”, although depending on how you look at it, the truth is that everyone has this problem to a greater extent because in our Western society the maxim, almost tyrannical, that one should perform to the maximum is well established. It is instilled in us from a very young age that we must do everything possible so that the 24 hours that make up our day are used to the best of our ability.

Although there are people who make better use of their time than others, There are many who end up developing an unhealthy worry thinking that time is slipping through their fingers This worry causes them stress, anxiety and emotional tension, as well as feelings of worthlessness and perceiving themselves as less responsible than others.

Obsession with time

Although chronopathy is the source of discomfort, it is not considered a mental disorder. If we look for it in a diagnostic manual of mental disorders, such as the DSM or the ICD, we will not find it.

Nevertheless, Just because it is something that does not appear in these manuals does not mean that it should not worry us or deserve treatment Some people’s chronopathy can have the ironic consequence that they actually waste time obsessing over making the most of it.

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Within this problem is not only the need to satisfy the social demand to be constantly productive, but also includes the problem, the enormous difficulty of stopping and resting. People who suffer from chronopathy are not able to stop despite their exhaustion and, furthermore, it is difficult for them to enjoy the moment, their family and the small pleasures of 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 every day can end up being harmful, causing the individual to sacrifice their mental health in their quest to try to squeeze more hours out of the day than they have. Rojas Estapé talks about the false idea, widespread in our Western society, that “hurry and acceleration produce greater and better results”

In our society we consider that the right thing, what is good, is to be busy. If by chance we recognize that our agenda is a little free, it has some space, we get the feeling that they are going to judge us, that they are going to consider us a person who does not take advantage of their time or who is a little hedonistic and disorganized . You may even be surprised and judge negatively the person who tells you that they have free time and don’t know what to do with it.

Consequences of obsession with time

Although it is normal to want to make the most of your time a little more, Becoming an obsession with performing at your best can have serious consequences for our well-being and mental health This can be evidenced in multiple ways in our daily lives, which ironically can cause us to waste time, feel overwhelmed by not being able to perform at our best, and lose the opportunity to spend meaningful and pleasant time with important areas of life, such as family and friends.

By constantly thinking about how to make the most of our time and believing that if we stop we lose a lot of time, the state of constant acceleration and hyperactivity prevents us from thinking clearly. Since we do not stop and think calmly, we cannot think coldly and, therefore, we cannot conscientiously reflect on what we do or pay attention to how we do it. To think clearly we need to take our time, and rushing is the opposite

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Ironically, the obsession with making the most of time causes the perception of time to be accelerated. As we have the feeling that time is slipping through our fingers, it ends up happening. In other words, the more we become obsessed with making the most of time, the greater the feeling that we are wasting it, that it passes faster than it should and that the days are shorter. It gives us the feeling that it doesn’t work for us.

The concern about being productive can reach such a level that we disconnect from our own emotions, something that can be considered one of the main pathological aspects of chronopathy, despite the fact that, as we have commented before, it is not a disorder. mental. Chronopathy distances us from our own emotions, and makes us pay more attention to how to make the most of time instead of paying attention to what is happening to our psyche and our body.

We do not have the time or the necessary pause to listen to what our body, our own emotions, are telling us and to identify relevant emotional events. However, sooner or later we will notice them, not because we have stopped but because these emotional states will have become so intense that we can hardly continue ignoring them Excess tension, anxiety and stress are common emotions in people trapped in chronopathy and, although they go unnoticed consciously, our body and mental health will end up suffering from them.

How to free yourself from chronopathy?

Although we once again insist that chronopathy is not a mental disorder, its impact is certainly psychological and must be overcome to enjoy a full life and emotional well-being. If you suffer from a great obsession with making the most of your time and suffer for it, it is necessary go to a psychologist to see what can be done about it. Psychotherapy can help people with chronopathy to stop and enjoy the moment, get away from the programmed agenda and understand that not making the most of the day is not synonymous with incompetence.

To combat the obsession with productivity and the use of time, here are a few tips.

1. Don’t overwhelm the agenda

It is essential that, in order not to fall into an obsession with making the most of time, the agenda is not saturated As far as possible, tasks should be removed from the schedule so that those that remain can be completed calmly. In this way, one will become more aware of what he does and will not feel so overwhelmed by the feeling of lack of time.

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2. Look for enjoyable obligations

It is essential to look for some obligation that we like, a task from which we cannot free ourselves but which has something that can be enjoyed, as if it were a hobby

This can be complicated at times, but if achieved, the level of enjoyment of life and the feeling of making the most of time will grow noticeably.

3. Leave spaces unplanned

It may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that leaving unplanned gaps will help combat that feeling of wasting time.

It is highly recommended to leave a blank space in our schedule or agenda, an unplanned portion of time dedicated exclusively to our rest, an anarchic rest, casual and in which the best we can do is absolutely nothing. By stopping for an hour we will find a way to take advantage of the rest of the hours of the day in a healthy and productive way.

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4. Enjoy the process

Trying to enjoy the process more than the result is a good measure to convert that desire to take advantage of time into the subjective feeling that that desire has already been achieved. If we think about how much we want to finish what we are doing so that we can immediately start the next task, when we finish It will give us the feeling that we have done it in an already bad hurry and, therefore, we have not known how to use our time properly

It is better to do one thing well than two things badly and that is the feeling it gives us. Enjoy the process, be aware of it and learn from any mistakes that may occur during the process. It is through this learning that it will give us the feeling that we are taking advantage of the time, and on top of that we will enjoy it.