Chronopathy: characteristics of people with an obsession to take advantage of time

Productivity and use of time are necessary for personal growth. However, obsessing over them never leaves us with anything good.

Last update: 21 January, 2022

We live in a society that pushes us to be productive at all times. Therefore, we insist on saturating the agenda with tasks and responsibilities. We are invaded by the anguish of not having taken advantage of the time as it should. If this is your case, you are surely a victim of chronopathy.

This obsession with taking advantage of time has detrimental consequences for physical and mental health. Let us see what the condition consists of and how we can overcome it.

What is chronopathy?

The term chronopathy comes from chronos, which alludes to time, and pathos, which means ‘disease’. Its popularization is due to the psychiatrist Marian Rojas Estapé, who develops it in her book How to make good things happen to you.

There, the author defines the chronopathy Like a new syndrome characterized by an obsession with time and difficulty stoppingeven in the face of exhaustion. In addition, it highlights the role that contemporary society has had in its appearance, when immediacy, speed and task overload outweigh rest and enjoyment.

The art of rest is a part of the art of working.

~John Steinbeck~

Although the chronopathy not yet classified as a mental disorder, we must bear in mind that the condition brings with it a lot of discomfort and usually causes other severe problems, such as chronic stress or emotional numbness.

Even in sports the obsession with time has been established. An example of this are sports watches that are increasingly popular among amateur athletes.


Characteristics of people who feel that they cannot waste time

People who suffer chronopathy They usually have the following characteristics:

  • They feel a deep need to satisfy the social demand for productivity. Therefore, they fill their agendas with responsibilities and obligations to fulfill.
  • They live life fast, as if they were in a competition that they must win.
  • They present a extreme difficulty stopping and restingdespite his exhaustion.
  • They do not know how to enjoy the present moment, the company of their loved ones and the small pleasures of life. The hustle and obsession with time causes them to miss opportunities special and unrepeatable.
  • when they have free time they think they will be judged for being lazy and disorganized.
  • Feel anxiety, frustration, or guilt when they are not doing any productive activity.
  • they are impatient and they want to solve everything immediately.

Consequences of chronopathy

Contrary to what we are led to believe, the fast pace of life and tight schedules never leave us with anything good. As we have already said, it is fine to aspire to productivity (in fact, it is necessary), however, obsessing about taking advantage of time and overloading oneself with obligations significantly harms our well-being.

Among the most common consequences we can list the following:

  • Exhaustion physical and mental.
  • State of constant acceleration and hyperactivity, which prevents us from thinking clearly.
  • Distorted perception of time. We feel that it passes in an accelerated way, which contributes to our being more obsessed.
  • High levels of tension, stress and anxiety. If they are prolonged, they can cause other alterations, such as insomnia, muscle pain, hypertension, weakening of the immune system, fatigue, increased heart rate.
  • In severe cases there may be a disconnection with own emotions. People pay more attention to how to spend time and neglect how they feel.

Speed, which is a virtue, breeds a vice, which is haste.

~Gregory Maranon~

Tips to overcome chronopathy

If at this point you think you are a slave to time and feel a deep discomfort about it, here are some tips that will help you free yourself.

Leave free spaces in your agenda

It is essential that leave spaces in your weekly schedule to dedicate them to leisure, to rest and enjoyment. We all need moments of calm to recover from the hustle and bustle. As long as we are overloaded, we will never perform at 100%.

Look for obligations that you can enjoy

There is nothing more satisfying than doing what you love. Therefore, try that your obligations are in tune with what really fulfills you. This can be complicated on some occasions, but if you achieve it, you will be more satisfied with life and the feeling of making the most of your time will be enhanced.



Avoid planning everything

Having the time measured and destined for an activity (even if it is for enjoyment) increases the feeling of wasting time. Therefore, give up control a bit and leave spaces with nothing planned.

When that time comes stop to think about what you would most like to do at that precise moment. This will make you more aware of the present moment.

It is good to have an agenda, but it is also correct to leave spaces without planning to just enjoy the moment.

Enjoy the road

People who do everything running never enjoy the processes, because they only think about results. What’s more, in the face of any inconvenience they feel frustrated because they see nothing but a delay in reaching any objective. In the long run, they finish their projects unsatisfied and reproach themselves for not having had more time to do better.

What they don’t know is that the key is to be aware of the path and learn from any mistakes that may arise. This learning is what will give us the feeling that we are not wasting our time.

seek help

In many cases, the ideal will be to attend with a psychotherapist who gives us the necessary tools to overcome our battle against time. Although the chronopathy is not a clinical entity, its consequences are very harmful. So do not hesitate to go to a specialist if you think the situation is out of your hands.

let’s learn to stop

We need to know how to give high to the fast pace of life. Only then can we perceive and enjoy the beauty of life. In addition, rest, pause and silence are key aspects to undertake new projects with enthusiasm and enthusiasm.

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