How to turn your FOMO to JOMO

Fear Of Missing Out is a real problem that impacts our productivity. Dr Amantha Imber says by realigning our priorities and focusing on what matters to us, we can fear less and enjoy more.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is rife in most offices. We expect to be CC’d on every email that might possibly relate to our projects or our team, we accept meeting invitations that we don’t really need to attend, and we unhappily glance at the huge number of likes everyone else’s LinkedIn posts seem to attract. And by giving in to FOMO, we don’t waste just huge amounts of emotional energy, but time.

“Comparison is the death of joy,” Mark Twain.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is rife in most offices. We expect to be CC’d on every email that might possibly relate to our projects or our team, we accept meeting invitations that we don’t really need to attend, and we unhappily glance at the huge number of likes everyone else’s LinkedIn posts seem to attract. And by giving in to FOMO, we don’t waste just huge amounts of emotional energy, but time.

FOMO leads to living your life by someone else’s standards. Does it really matter that your colleague received over 300 Likes on their blog post? In the grand scheme of things, not at all.

FOMO also increases our anxiety level, decreases our self-esteem and lowers our life satisfaction. But FOMO won’t magically disappear just because you are aware of it. We need to deliberately turn our FOMO into JOMO—the Joy of Missing Out.

A big reason why we experience FOMO is because we are out of touch with what truly motivates us. Instead, we evaluate our lives based on the benchmarks set by others. To turn FOMO into JOMO, we need to get reacquainted with what deeply motivates us, or foster ‘intrinsic motivation’. When we are intrinsically motivated, we naturally tune out the outside world because we are immersed in the task at hand.

Work on an appropriately challenging project

When we find ourselves working on a project at work that is either too hard or too easy, our attention wanders. It often wanders to our social media feed or some other distraction that feeds our FOMO.

However, when we find the ‘goldilocks’ project—a project that is neither too easy nor too hard and is the perfect fit for our skill level—it becomes effortless to stay focused. Working on a project that fits within your challenge sweet spot increases intrinsic motivation.

Focus on your unique strengths

When we recognise our own strengths, we feel more confident in our ability to pursue what truly matters to us.

In research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers asked people to spend 15 minutes writing about their best possible self and then spend time thinking about what their life would look like if everything unfolded as they desired. In contrast, a control group spent 15 minutes writing about a typical day in their life and then imagining their future.

In comparison to the control group, those who imagined their best possible self reported feeling significantly more optimistic.

Foster connections IRL (In Real Life) 

According to self-determination theory, feeling connected to others is a key driver of intrinsic motivation. Not surprisingly, research also shows that people who feel lonely experience FOMO more acutely.

As such, increasing our own connectedness through prioritising face-to-face gatherings
helps us focus on our own life, rather than that
of others.

Make downward comparisons

Mark Twain’s wisdom of “comparison being the death of joy” is actually only half true. It ignores the second type of comparison humans can make: ‘downward comparisons’.

Downward social comparisons occur when we compare ourselves to others who are less fortunate, which leads to us feeling better about ourselves. Research into downward comparison theory found that when job seekers compare themselves against a less qualified applicant, they feel better about their own qualifications. And in turn, their self-esteem increased.

Rather than falling into the upward comparison trap triggered by FOMO, deliberately engage in downward comparisons to help improve your self-esteem and motivation.

www.inventium.com.au

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