If you do, it can wreak havoc on your time management!

UPDATE: A little under four years ago, I blogged about FOMO, now today I highly recommend you read this awesome article on JOMO. I loved it!

I was introduced to this phrase “FOMO” about six months ago when my 12-year-old son used it. FOMO stands for “Fear of Missing Out”. He told me this fear was real to him. I was thinking, “Really, how could a pre-teen already sense he was lacking things, events, opportunities and information?” But I guess this is our new plugged-in world even to children.

teens_on_phoneJust the very next day after I learned this expression, I heard the DJ’s on The Morning Mash Up radio program, talk about this exact anxiety that was populating our culture.

As I digested the phrase, my organizer brain surmised that this concept of missing out can lead us to:

  • Overloaded schedules
  • Potential poor planning of priorities
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of “down time” as well as exercise
  • Lack of quality time with loved ones

In my “Life Management 101” class I often tell my students we are of course living in an overloaded technology world. Everyone knows this already, but psychologically it creates opportunity overload as well, where our brains feel the need to make many decisions daily about how each of us wants to spend our time. Since there is so much to choose from “To Do”, weekly planning can become almost like time management triage.

I think we all pretty much have FOMO in one way shape or form because of the immediate access through our devices. Instantly we know what’s new, exiting, inviting or even sad and bad. Either way our screen sucking is usurping our time creating a sense that we need to manage, own and do it all.

The FOMO clinching moment was really driven home last month for me when I had to take my 14-year-old daughter to the emergency room. She has Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) which is when her heart’s electrical system doesn’t work right, causing the heart to beat very fast. I was pretty darn scared watching her heartbeat go up to 200 beats a minute and her EKG looked like scrambled eggs. As the emergency room doctor worked to bring her heart rate back to normal I noticed her cell phone stayed strategically placed on her stomach amidst the medical wiring.

phone_in_hospitalAs soon as the staff left her body alone she immediately started typing on her iPhone. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “I’m doing my homework.” Now even I, Ms. Productivity, didn’t think it was necessary for her to be doing academic work in the hospital and it must have shown in my facial expression. “Mom” she said, “If my homework is done then maybe I can go to Deck the Halls tonight at the High School. It’s Spirit Week and I want to help decorate.”

See, we all have FOMO…


Tips to Alleviate Your FOMO:

  • Prioritize and Plan Your Day in Advance
  • Minimize Distractions and Maximize Your Focus
  • Time Block Your Electronic Devices

Learn to Say “No” and Say it Often