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You have a great chance to suffer from FOMO even if you don't know what it is. I know that I have it. How can you fight FOMO? I'm writing this post also, or maybe even especially, for myself— to remind myself how to fight it. Read on!
FOMO stands for Fear of missing out. Wikipedia defines it as:
"a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent"
I understand it as the fear of missing out on a great opportunity to learn or experience something, the fear of not being able to benefit from circumstances, or of being left behind others who took certain risks or chances.
FOMO makes me check all my inboxes more often that I want to. It makes me fiercely collect all of the pieces of information I find, watch and read the news, collect articles, watch what others do, etc. And this isn’t healthy at all. It makes me anxious.
When talking with others, I hear about other areas where FOMO is visible. In most cases it's a fear of not doing the right things—in other words, if we had focused on something else, something others do, we would have benefited more.
3 ways to fight FOMO
I don't have a miracle solution for FOMO. But I have some techniques and habits that allow me to limit its impact. I’ve described a few of them below:
- Know your priorities and your plan for the near future – One of the most helpful tools for fighting FOMO is clarifying what is most important to you and what you are working on in the context of the next year or even the next couple of years. When that's in place, it becomes much easier to ask these FOMO-fighting questions:
- Is this helpful in the context of my goals?
- Does this support my top priorities?
- What will I have to sacrifice if I spend my time on this?
- Is this something I can do later?If you answer these questions honestly, you'll realize that you aren’t actually missing out on anything. In the majority of cases, you'll clearly see that what you fear missing out on isn't worth your time. For me, this usually helps in letting go of the anxiety and just moving forward.
- Practice intentional learning – For me, one of the biggest areas of FOMO is learning. I never know what I'll need to know in the future. This makes me think that everything is worth learning, and that everything is important. Unfortunately, I can't learn everything! I can't start dozens of new projects at once! I have to choose. Fortunately, I read somewhere about a concept called "intentional learning." This is a very simple concept—focus on learning things that support your current project or task. This is such a simple filter: Will learning this help me in my current assignment? Yes? I’ll read it, study it, try it. No? I'll add it to my "I want to read/learn about" list. This helps make sure that you’re focusing on your current area of interest. The result is that you know more about a given subject and you can put that knowledge into action. It's a very efficient way of fighting FOMO.
- Define a time for the consumption of certain content – If you really feel that you can't stand missing out on all of the news for a certain topic, try to set a dedicated time for going through the media related to that topic. It can be once a day, twice a day—just choose the frequency you are comfortable with. Try to use tools that help you in that process. For example, there are tools that group the most important information from different sources and defined categories (for example, finances, IT, sports, etc.). Bring some order to this information and you'll be able to consume it faster and won't be disturbed by FOMO. You'll know that you have a designated time for going through this information.
These are just a few ideas for how to fight FOMO. They are based on my experiences. I'm pretty sure that you have your own ideas for dealing with it. Can you share them with us? Maybe together we can create the ultimate list of techniques for dealing with FOMO!