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CEO Debate

The key to turning FOMO to JOMO

Mel Kettle

In April 2009 I joined Twitter and I discovered a whole new world of conferences and events I wanted to attend, places I wanted to visit, and people I wanted to know.

It didn’t take long for me to start changing my decision-making processes so I could do more. And it didn’t take long for my husband to start noticing that I was going out a LOT more. When he asked why I told him there were all these amazing things happening around us and I didn’t want to miss out.

I had major FOMO (fear of missing out). 

FOMO is real and can be dangerous. You know you are deep in the weeds with it when you want to do everything and be everywhere.

And if you’re easily distractible, FOMO can result in goals not being achieved, negative health impacts due to a lack of sleep and other not-great habits creeping in, and spending money you can’t afford so you can be seen at all the “right” places.

Researcher Volkan Dogan has found that FOMO is linked to how individuals understand and experience the world, and what they feel they are being excluded from. He identified a clear connection between self-perception on social media and FOMO.

The Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey also found that 12 percent of Australians report ‘issues with keeping up with social media networks as a source of stress.

As many people on social media show false and often inauthentic versions of themselves, it is not surprising that FOMO can lead to feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome, increased stress, social anxieties, and an unnecessary busyness in our lives.

Fortunately, there is an antidote.

JOMO – the joy of missing out – is becoming increasingly appealing. 

JOMO occurs when we consciously decide to make time for other things equal to or better than what we are missing out on. The first step in embracing JOMO is acknowledging that you might need to change how you live your life.

You may need to set personal boundaries so you can be more focused on what’s important to you. For example, not answering the work emails at 10pm before going to bed or not going out with friends on a weeknight when you have to be up early the next day.

Embracing JOMO requires regular practice. You need to unlearn the need to be constantly doing things. It will probably require a recalibration of your view of success and setting some new boundaries.

Simple ways to swap from FOMO to JOMO

  1. Know what brings you joy and take the time to do more of these things – without a device in hand so you can focus on the activity and the joy it brings.
  2. Reduce your screen time, especially your non-work-required screen time. Use the screen time app to access the real-time report that indicates how much time you’re spending on your phone and which apps are being used the most. Set yourself a goal to reduce this over coming days and weeks. When I first checked my screen-time a few years ago I was spending around six hours a day just on my phone! I’ve worked hard to reduce that to below two hours.
  3. Use the screen time app to set a time limit for how long each day you use social media on your phone.
  4. Remove some apps from your phone or unsubscribe from social media accounts that no longer add value to your life. The same goes for unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel unworthy. In his book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world, author Cal Newport suggests a technology philosophy ‘in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else’.
  5. Schedule regular time to take breaks away from technology and completely unplug – this might look like going screen free for the first and last hours of your day; putting your phone in focus mode for a few hours each day; having a tech free day once a week; and turning off notifications.
  6. Incorporate non-screen activities into your daily routine – such as switching back to reading hard copy books instead of e-books.
  7. Choose a mode of exercise that is difficult with a phone – such as a yoga or Pilates class, a swim or a walk with friends you want to have a conversation with.
  8. Be more present with family, friends and when doing activities you enjoy.
  9. Ask yourself what you love more than randomly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok and then go and do that instead.

Moving from FOMO to JOMO is not always easy, but it’s worth it as it means you will live YOUR life, not someone else’s.

Written by Mel Kettle.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Debate - The key to turning FOMO to JOMO
Mel Kettle
Mel Kettle is an internationally recognized expert in fully connected leadership and communication. With more than two decades of experience, Mel is a valuable asset to leaders and teams that want to achieve real connection and sustained engagement. She is the founder of the award-winning menopause blog, Just as Juicy, host of the podcast This Connected Life, and author of two books, Fully Connected and The Social Association.

Mel Kettle is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.