10 Signs Your “Fear of Missing Out” Is Keeping You From Being Productive


You are constantly checking social media, the news, and email.

You can’t stop answering your phone when you should be working.

Is the “Fear of Missing Out” keeping you from getting your work done?

Is the “Fear of Missing Out” Interrupting Your Life?

The other day, a co-worker answered a phone call in the middle of a meeting.

This action interrupted everyone and after a few minutes we got back to the task at hand.

Afterwards, I was curious and asked if the call was an emergency.

He said no.

I pushed a little further and inquired as to why they interrupted the flow of the meeting to answer it.

They gave a rather revealing and honest answer, “I was afraid I might be missing something important.”

Letting FOMO Control Your Actions

This particular individual let their FOMO interrupt not only their life, but the productivity of those around them.

What is FOMO?

FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out.

FOMO is the thought that if you miss something that you will be missing something important or great.

However, usually the opposite is true.

It is not important. It is not exciting or great.

Your FOMO leads to interruptions from the mundane and non-urgent.

Here are 10 Signs That FOMO is Interrupting Your Life:

  1. Answering the Phone When You Shouldn’t – Do you answer the phone anywhere you are? No matter what you are doing? (In the bathroom?)
  2. Joining the Watercooler Gossip – Do you spend endless hours chatting it up so that you don’t miss the latest office gossip? The average office worker puts in less than a half day of actual work.
  3. Watching Meaningless TV – Do you stay up late watching the latest reality TV show or the nightly comedian? Instead, spend that time on sleep or something productive.
  4. Endlessly Surfing the Internet – Hint: You cannot read the entire Internet. It is not possible. So, next time resist clicking through to 20 more websites.
  5. Checking Email Incessantly – Do you pull out your smartphone at every free moment you have? Are you checking email in elevators, in meetings, and yes, even in the bathroom? Resist checking your email.
  6. Dropping Your Priorities to Do Something “Else” – Do you drop your priorities and plans at the first sign that something else might be going on? Stay on your priorities and get them done first.
  7. Texting When You Shouldn’t – Whether it is in the car, during dinner, or in meetings, you can’t stop texting at a moment’s notice. Holster than smartphone and concentrate on the present.
  8. Going Out When You Should Stay In – You know you should stay in and work, but your friends are going out. And of course, you don’t want to be left out… (See #5)
  9. Endlessly Reading the News – The news dominates our lives. How many times have you checked it today Yet, most of it is inconsistent, unimportant, or inconsequential. Yet, you want to be “in the know.”
  10. Social Media Overload – How many social networks are you on? What was your friend’s last status update? Do you check it at work when you should be working? Sometimes, I wonder if Facebook’s entire business model is based on FOMO.

Fear the FOMO

Beware the fear of missing out.

Don’t let FOMO control your life and actions.

Chances are you are not missing anything important or exciting.

The only thing you are missing out on… is your life.

Question: Does FOMO affect your productivity?

6 thoughts on “10 Signs Your “Fear of Missing Out” Is Keeping You From Being Productive

  1. I see FOMO affect people but I do my best to avoid letting it have any bearing on my productivity. So many of these distractions can be eliminated by turning off your phone for an hour or two… 🙂

  2. I know FOMO does affect my life. I want to be everywhere at once since I never know what being at that “one talk” or “one dessert event’ will change my future.

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