One of the more popular buzz words of the last couple of years has been FOMO. It’s kind of run its course, but there is still a lingering effect of FOMO in some areas.

In case you missed it (pun intended) … FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out.

It’s that manic state where you may have noticed your friends (and perhaps yourself) going from party to party and event to event just to make sure you weren’t missing out on something.

FOMO can quickly lead to overflow.

Overflow can lead to missed deadlines, neglected friends and family, and can put a crimp in your career plans.

Not to worry. FOMO can be fixed.

Mind the Gap

By paying attention to what you are doing and applying some common sense it’s easy to get a handle on your FOMO tendencies. The challenge is that it’s very easy to step over that line and go from FOMO to overflow.

It can happen really fast and it can sneak up on you. It’s up to each of us to decide what that line is. And, when we can and cannot cross it. If you think you are taking on too much consider that a sign.

Pro Tip:
Look for and listen to signals that you might be in Overflow Mode

Do look for signals and listen for indicators that your might be heading into overflow mode from friends, family and colleagues. It’s not a sign of weakness to heed the thoughts of people that have your best interests in mind.

Why does this matter?

It’s simple. When you’re in overflow mode you can’t cope as effectively. You won’t make the most wise decisions. You’ll be trying to juggle too many things at once. And you’ll be at risk of NOT doing the most important things first.

Overflow Mode can make you to do the urgent while ignoring the important.

You can use Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s Time Management Grid here. It is broken into 4 quadrants. The top left is Urgent & Important – this is Quadrant I and where you want to focus some of your energy. You also want to focus on Quadrant II where things are Not Urgent yet they are Important.

Quadrant I and II are where you want to spend your time.

You’ll want to spend less energy on Quadrant III – which are Urgent yet Not Important (usually things that are not on your To-Do lists), but still align with other goals you are committed to deliver. And, finally, you don’t want to spend any time on Quadrant IV – Not Urgent & Not Important. You will inevitably spend some time there, but don’t spend too much … otherwise you’ll never get your Quadrant I and II things done.

FOMO activities can too often fit into Quadrants III and IV

Here is a link to a graphical version of the Time Management grid from the USGS.

Finish Strong

One of the biggest challenges of FOMO is that it’s so easy to get distracted. It’s easy to go down a path and think that being busy means you are getting the right things done.

That’s the Trap of FOMO. Being Busy does not mean Being Productive.

Care about the Results

Don’t get sucked into the fear of missing out on the next function, the next event, the next thing to do. Focus on your goals. Focus on being a doer, a finisher, a completer of things.

Focus on the End Result. Use the Covey Time Management Grid if that helps. Ask your friends, peers and mentors to provide feedback on what is important vs. what is overflow.

When you can do this your career will take off. When you can do this your anxiety of trying to do everything will drop. When you can do this your FOMO can be put on a side shelf … forever.

Focus on Results. Your peace of mind depends on it. So does your career.