22 Mar Dealing with FOMO in a Connected Business World
Internet use went from being a hobby to an international obsession in a flash. Nowadays it seems everyone is buried in some sort of tablet or desktop, walking into poles and traffic in extreme cases, because they can’t look away. In-person conversations are being interrupted by text messages more than ever before. While some of these are frivolous it’s clear that in an ever-connected business world, other messages simply can’t be ignored.
The phenomenon in question, of not being able to look away from our devices and social media pages, is called FOMO.
What is FOMO?
FOMO isn’t new. It stands for “fear of missing out,” and it’s been a part of the human condition for centuries. The only reason it’s become such a big deal as of late is because of the internet. Not only are many of us recreationally addicted to checking social media and the like, the internet has become an integral part of many of our occupations. It’s hard to unplug when your paycheque and your family’s well-being depend on it.
Of course, only being expected to manage online work during regular business hours is manageable. Conflict arises when we’re expected to use it ‘round the clock. This is often the which is the case for those in certain freelance positions or for those starting their own businesses. The truth is that it’s simply unrealistic to be “on” all the time. Your mental health could suffer unless you can find an outlet or have an assistant to balance your workload.
Here are some ways we like to unplug, which can be of benefit to those who use the internet professionally or recreationally:
- Set a schedule. Whether formally or loosely, if you designate set times to browsing or responding to people it’ll keep you from constantly and impulsively logging in every few minutes.
- Set the tone at the beginning of a business relationship. Let your clients know what your hours of operation are so they reach you at appropriate times. Even if they decide to send you a 10 p.m. text they’ll understand that you might not respond right away.
- Track how often you check your social feeds in a day. Doing this can help you see how attached you are to them and can let you determine how many of these visits are necessary.
- Put your phone down when you’re with company unless it’s an emergency. A lot of us scroll through news feeds or chats while trying to hold convos with those around us. It’s more difficult to multitask than we think, so give your face-to-face interaction precedence over what’s on your phone.
- Aimlessly browsing can be draining and overly stimulating. So, do your best to go online to look at the things you truly enjoy instead of refreshing Facebook repeatedly. This will be far more fulfilling, thereby eliminating the sense that you’re missing out.
- Call your friends. We spend a lot of our time texting or eagerly awaiting responses. Cut to the chase by giving your besties a ring. When we talk on the phone (or in person) we’re more inclined to talk about everything relevant at one time instead of indefinitely stretching out the conversation.
Fear of missing out is a legitimate concern in the 21st century. Yet regardless of whether you use internet devices for your job or for fun there are ways to ensure your amount of screen time is healthy.