How To Avoid FOMO and Get Focused

The fear of missing out can get you off track

Not once have I changed my plans to work during the weekend so that I could be part of something my friends wanted to do. I used to hate missing out, for me the fear of missing out, on short FOMO, was real and getting into my way a lot.

What is FOMO, exactly?

The uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out — that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you’’. Under this framing of FoMO, nearly three quarters of young adults reported they experienced the phenomenon.

— defined in the Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out, study

Have you ever scheduled an evening for training, or working on your hustle, project, hobby, or for learning something? Then you get a text saying Come for drinks! or Let’s go there, do that… and you get completely derailed and in the next 5 minutes you are dressing up to go out. I know I am not the only one.

I struggled with this FOMO and my other priorities for a long time until I’ve got clear on what I wanted. Living for longer periods of time in other countries helped as well, as I missed a lot of things happening at home.

While spending time with my friends and family is one of my top priorities, it’s not one that needs to happen every day or even weekend. I need to transfer that FOMO to my other ambitions. For instance, if I miss out on this writing session, how would that affect my progress?

To do that in a sustainable way, without becoming super stressed if I actually miss a writing session or a workout for that matter, I use 3 questions. Here they come:

1. What Was My Initial Plan?

Having some sort of plan for your week, which means social time will have its slots as well, will minimize the FOMO effect. But, if some offer for a party or trip comes up I look over my calendar. Sometimes, nothing will be planned, so if I really want to participate in something I will integrate the most important tasks around that and catch up after as well.

If there are some clear tasks for the day I’ll usually refuse, knowing the day was already reserved. If I would have another commitment to someone else I would respect that, so I will do the same if it’s a commitment with myself.

2. What Am I Grateful For?

FOMO can come up in various forms, from not buying the latest trends to not going to that new music festival. But in the end, a good way to dissolve all that fear is to think about what you are already grateful for. I know, it’s a bit cheesy, and lately, gratitude seems to be the answer for everything. I don’t think it is, but it definitely helps put things into perspective.

3. How Can I Progress?

If I am always pushing back on learning, working, and training, there will be no progress ever, no matter how much fun I have with my friends. So, I think about that before canceling my things for some extra fun. And yes sometimes I’ll go and that’s ok because next time I will say no and I’ll catch up.

For a lot of people, FOMO was discovered to appear from unhappiness and constant comparison with others’ lives on social media. If you catch yourself fearing missing on activities on a daily basis you have to do a lifestyle re-evaluation. A digital reset might be needed, a list of priorities and then keep asking those three questions or come up with similar ones that suit you better.

Published in The Orange Journal

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