As we move into what feels like week 48 of lockdown, I find myself re-evaluating my relationship with time right about now. Like many of us, a very short time ago, I was moving through the days without even a minute to spare. I can remember some days where the clock hit 4 pm before I realized I had not eaten a thing yet. Days were filled with work, e-mail notifications, text notifications, errands, meetings, workouts, driving the kids around – usually while yelling or stressing about something – and so much more. I spent my spare time filling my schedule for the next day or week to ensure I didn’t waste a minute of this precious resource we call time. My daily race against the clock to make sure I fit everything in was not only getting worse by the minute – no pun intended – but, it was also making me sick both physically and mentally. It would be safe to say that I had developed “Hurry Sickness”.
By definition, hurry sickness is a mixture of anxiety and continual feelings of urgency. Its symptoms include high-stress levels, declining quality of work, tiredness, and eventually serious health problems. No matter how hard we try, hurry sickness is not sustainable. At some point, it breaks us either physically, mentally, or emotionally. Hurry sickness was uncovered by Cardiologists Dr. Meyer Friedman and Dr. Ray Rosenman. After noticing that many of their patients suffered from a “harrying sense of time urgency,” they defined hurry sickness as “a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.”
“Working at breakneck speed for extended periods of time does not enhance productivity; it reduces it,” says Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! “When we work too fast for too long we get tired, become inefficient, make mistakes, and become unable to think clearly and sharply.”
So now that I have had more time then I know what to do with on my hands, I find myself evaluating and reevaluating so many things – especially my relationship with time. What in the world was I so busy with before? And why was I so stressed? Clearly this is still a very stressful time in many ways, the uncertainty alone has many people overwhelmed and feeling defeated but have we stopped to evaluate our relationship with time? Have we considered the things we could do without when life goes back to some sort of normalcy? I have recently been thinking a lot about his and the results have me quite shocked!
Over the years, it seems as if we have less and less time even though we have the same 24 hours in a day we’ve always had. Although the introduction of technology has improved and made more efficient so many aspects of our lives by keeping us connected and up to date in so many positive ways, it has also created a sense of needing to be constantly “on” and knowing what is happening sometimes even with people we don’t even know. From our work to our friends, to people we have never met in our lives. Checking e-mails, social media feeds and so much more had left any spare moment we may have once spent face to face with our loved ones with our faces in our phones leaving no spare time for anything.
This time has allowed me to reflect and appreciate the real moments. It has allowed us to have conversations about so many things and grow in ways we would have never been able to with our busied, hurried lives pre-pandemic and although the world is beginning to get back to some sort of new normalcy, my hope is that people will now more than ever check their phones at the door when they walk into a restaurant and put them away when they go to bed at night. My hope is that this time we’ve had away from so many people we love has taught us how important human connection really is for us and that when we reunite we never forget it.
It’s Really Clear that the Most Precious Resource We all Have is Time.
~ Steve Jobs
With all my love…..Eleni xo