FOMO and Your ProductivityJun 16, 2021
When most people think of FOMO, the fear of missing out, they equate it with staying connected via their devices and to social media, instant messaging, and other apps so that they are always in the know.
As someone who grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s when the public had no access to the Internet, I find this quite interesting. Back then, if something happened, you had to wait until the evening news or for the paper to be delivered in the morning.
Of course, there was the "we interrupt this program to bring you this special news bulletin" but that was for really important news.
Nowadays, it seems as if everything is important.
FOMO is real and can be a productivity killer.
If you suffer from FOMO, you value staying up-to-date (via the plethora of apps on your phone) over being productive.
Who can blame you? How are you supposed to get stuff done when there is so much going around in your town, state, country, world, and beyond?
As a productivity expert, I can tell you that FOMO is not just affecting your productivity, it's killing it.
There are two problems at play
First, there are the notifications.
Most people I've coached or have interacted with in some way have WAY too many notifications enabled.
I'm not a fan of zero notifications but instead, I believe the key is for strategic use of notifications.
For example, having notifications enabled for:
- instant messaging
- credit/debit card
apps are fine. I consider these essential to my productivity and my life.
However, social media, email, news (including sports), and similar apps should have their notifications disabled.
Pro tip: remove all news and sports apps from your phone.
Second, there are the devices themselves: phones, tablets, laptops/desktops, wearables, etc.
Consider this question: are these devices serving or distracting you?
I get it.
You love your devices.
As do I.
But we've got to keep things in perspective: we are in charge (or should be) over our devices. Not the other way around.
Tell me: how much power do your devices yield over you if they're turned off?
How to deal with FOMO
Step one: perform a notification cleanse on every device you have.
Go through every app you have installed and disable every notification that is a distraction.
If it doesn't serve you, turn it off. (Don't hyperventilate: you can always turn them back on.)
When you start to feel FOMO, resist enabling the notification as long as you can. The point here is to break the grip this is having on you.
Step two: intentionally spend time without your devices.
- go for a walk without your phone (unless you use it to track your walk, in which case you can put it on Do Not Disturb (DND) and leave it in your pocket until your finished)
- when you watch TV, enable DND and place your phone face down and be fully present with watching the show and/or whomever you're with
- when you're hanging out with friends, ask everyone to put their phones on DND (can you tell how much I love DND?) and leave them in their pockets or purses
Pro tip: disable vibration mode on your phone.
I don't believe you can completely remove FOMO from your life. Human beings are curious creatures. We enjoy novelty. That's why we're always checking our phones.
BUT...FOMO is a productivity killer.
Do whatever you can to minimize its effect on you. Start by implementing what I shared with you in this article.
I'd love to know what you think
So send me a message and share!
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