Time Issues For Highly Sensitive People

Hurry up!  Hurry up!

Do you ever feel that many people around you are too quick and too impatient?

I know that I do.

It’s a weird problem, because as slow as HSPs may seem to non-HSPs, non-HSPs seem superficial to HSPs.

It can be a challenge to handle it.

Time Issues: A Conflict For HSPs

Non-HSPs tend to operate at a faster speed than HSPs.

Non-HSPs are usually extroverted and have a more competitive orientation. If you are going to be a successful competitor, you need to be fast.

HSPs have a holistic orientation. They take in everything and sort out the information they receive before making decisions and taking action. HSPs tend to have an organic approach to life which creates different relating and problem-solving approaches.

Put an HSP and non-HSP in the room and it will be difficult for them to work together unless they create a way to do so. Their interests, values and working approaches will be very different.

How HSP Biology Creates Time Issues

Highly sensitive people are born with nervous systems that soak up all sensory information around them.  HSPs are like sensory sponges.

Because highly sensitive people are also holistic they need to process the information they take in before choosing how to direct their energy. Having a holistic orientation complicates things because

  • you have to consider all of the factors that are relevant to any task at hand
  • you do not have the excuse that you are not aware when you take in so much information
  • you take in information that includes factors from the past, present, and future.

The reality is that highly sensitive people have a complex mental processing problem on their hands, that is not shared by non-HSPs. As valuable as HSPs are, non-HSPs may not appreciate the awareness that sensitive people bring to the table and become impatient with us.

Getting A Handle On Time Issues

The first thing that highly sensitive people need to do is accept that they will not change non-HSPs nor do we have to take care of their impatience.

At the same time, you cannot simply conform to a competitive world which often does not suit your values.  Compromises need to be made, however, it is better if they are not with your values.

It may sound like a simple time management problem but it is really more important that that. Competition is a serious factor in social respect. People who are gentle are often not well regarded. Therefore, finding a way to come into your own value and take care of your own needs in a world that may not appreciate your strengths is a challenge.

Start by identifying where in your life you are having the greatest difficulty. To get a handle on time issues, start with an assessment:

  1. family life: am I the only HSP or are there others in the family?  Am I supported in being different and having different needs and going at a slower pace?
  2. work life: am I in a competitive or collaborative environment?  Do I feel good about going to work or do I dread each day?
  3. friends and social life: do I experience friendship and acceptance from the people around me or do I often find myself bullied and put-down and expected to keep up with everyone else?
  4. health: how is my health?  how much stress can I withstand before I become debilitated or ill?
Once you have the big picture it is easier to make some intelligent adjustments in your daily life and do some planning.
  • are there places that offer you comfort and joy?  Can you expand them?
  • are there places where the interpersonal situation is extremely unpleasant for you?  Can you reduce it?
  • can you work for yourself in order to create a more satisfactory life for yourself?
As Peter Messerschmidt, popular HSP blogger writes: “Unfortunately, many HSPs struggle with planning, as it tends to be a rather “left brain” (analytical) type of thinking process, where most HSPs prefer “right brain” (intuitive/subjective) thinking. However, in the interest of self-preservation, planning is one of those areas where we are well served by stepping outside our comfort zones.”

Steps For Planning

Consider taking some steps to do more planning by answering the questions above to give yourself a picture of where you are in you life. Depending on your situation it may be easier to start small with one life area and make improvements before moving on to other challenges.
Here are some small planning steps you can take:
  • conduct an assessment
  • identify the areas you want to change
  • pick a place to start
  • identify what you need to make the change: support, information, tools etc.
  • pick some ideas for making changes and pick a strategy that suits you
  • make changes and notice the results
  • journal about your progress.  It is a good way to think things through as well as release frustration safely.
Planning can help you will put yourself on a path to a more satisfactory life. If you take it one step at a time, and make small changes, you will be able to combine the left brained planning functions with your intuitive sense and gain a new life skill that can serve you well.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program using cultural and personal development frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers The Magic Of Joy program for quantum healing and the Emerging Sensitive Community focused on living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is a Certified Theta Healer and certified in Spiral Dynamics. She is an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. Heidi B. on September 3, 2018 at 8:12 am

    I like the Planning Steps.
    I am going to start a journal.
    I work well with lists and have a new list daily.
    Now, the list will be about me.
    Ready to dive in!
    Thanks for your great ideas!

    • Maria Hill on September 3, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Thanks, Heidi – I am glad the article was helpful. I like lists myself and use them to keep on track. It helps me to avoid distractions. Good luck with your new work strategy.

      All the best,

  2. Hilary on May 12, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Yes thanks Maria. I am often annoyed by people who want to rush through things, tick in the box, and then miss out on savoring the experience. It can ruin the fun of some activities to rush. And I prefer to tame my conditioned “hurry up / try hard’ mentality, of pushing myself.

    • Maria E Hill on May 12, 2021 at 3:37 am

      Thanks, Hilary. I hope you are well. I work on the impatience also.

      Warm regards,