Skip to content

Make This the Summer of Missing Out

Do you suffer from FOMO, the “Fear of Missing Out?”

What’s happening? Who cares. Meet JOMO, FOMO’s benevolent younger cousin.  The Joy of Missing Out is essentially enjoying what you’re doing, and who you’re doing it with – right here and now.  Not on social media broadcasting what you’re doing or seeing what everybody else is doing.

Let this summer be about JOMO, the “Joy of Missing Out.”9 (

JOMO, is not a misspelling of “mojo” but, rather, stands for “joy of missing out.” The antithesis of FOMO (fear of missing out), JOMO is about disconnecting, opting out and being O.K. just where you are.

Like it or not, we need our technology devices; we just don’t need them as much as we think we do. JOMO is about finding that balance.

When I read this article by Haylen Phelan of the New York Times I knew I had to share it with you all.  I have taken some liberty and shortened the article — here is the link to the full article.

Research has been building on the impact of our constant tech use, including one study that suggests the rising suicide rate among teenagers may be linked to smartphone use and social media.  I also believe our steady diet of notifications, update-every-second feeds, social media and sensationalized headlines are contributing in a large way to the rise in depression, anxiety, panic attacks and social isolation.

“We see time and time again that the constant distraction is making people feel very unhappy,” according to Ashley Whillans, a behavioral scientist.

All of which means missing out can be a good thing. But how best to do it?

Know that you likely have a problem.

If you’re wondering whether you may also be engaging in unhealthy tech habits, here’s a helpful pop quiz:

Do you own a smartphone?

That’s it. Because if you answered yes, you’re essentially carrying around a “slot machine” in your pocket. Play it enough times, and you’re bound to get hooked. This isn’t an accident. This is big business.

“Tech companies have spent the last 10, 20 years building internet and mobile products that are addictive on purpose,” said Dan Frommer, the editor in chief of Recode. “There is a threshold where utility becomes addiction, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of the most popular products today have taken it too far.”

Monitor your digital diet
as you would your food diet.

Today, many of us are mindful about what we put into our bodies because we know how certain foods make us feel: Gluten may make one sluggish, say, while sugar can worsen anxiety. But what about when it comes to our minds? Imagine what that extra hour of mindless scrolling is doing to it.

Try making a mental note (or keeping a diary) on your digital habits. Apps like Moment, which help you track your app usage.  Then experiment with eliminating or limiting the amount you engage in each one. See what you learn.

Instead of focusing so much on the contents of our food, we may do better to cultivate awareness around which mental and digital activities actually nourish us — and which send us into a tailspin of anxiety and despair. Gorging on clickbait content and empty-calorie YouTube sessions probably isn’t doing us any favors.

Don’t think of JOMO as a detox, but more like an integral part of a healthy, well-balanced nutrition plan for your brain. You may not always want to do it, it may not always feel natural or fun, but, like that kale smoothie you choke down or the probiotics you spring for – you do it because it’s good for you.

Manage people’s expectations of you
(and set them low).

Begin to cultivate the expectation that you may take a while to respond to text messages and emails. If you feel undue pressure from family and friends, you can let them know ahead of time that you may not always be available.

Certain people like to respond to things right away, while others take their time. The problem is, friends and colleagues may have certain expectations no matter which camp you’re in. If you don’t respond quickly, they freak out. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“I think we all have the friend or the boss that takes days to respond to an email,” Mr. Murphy said. “We can all strive to have that freedom.”

Do things with

Next time you find yourself about to binge-watch that next series on Netflix, remind yourself what you could be doing instead, like catching up with a friend on the phone, or simply getting more sleep. Of course, the last episode of say, “The Staircase,” may win out — but at least you’ll be choosing it with intention.

“A lot of the time, we fail to recognize the moments in our lives actually become our lives,” Ms. Whillans said. “The moments that we’re spending on our computer checking email slowly accumulate to hours and days, time we’re not spending living our lives.”

Ms. Whillans’ research suggests that we’re pretty bad at recognizing the opportunity cost that comes with spending money, and even worse at seeing the opportunity cost when it comes to time.

“We don’t spontaneously recognize all the things we’re not getting by saying yes to something.” However, if people were reminded of what they were giving up to spend that extra hour online — namely, time they could be spending with family, friends or learning a new skill — they often choose to give up on the time-sucking activity, and feel happier in the process.

Hold the tech industry

There’s a reason abstinence often doesn’t work: It’s too difficult.

So, as long as we’re not all going to collectively delete our social media accounts or chuck our phones out the window, we’ll need the tech industry to cooperate.

Ultimately we really need changes like the one’s Apple and Google are just starting to explore. We only have so much willpower to resist.

Both Apple and Google benefit from consumers using their product to the point of addiction, Mr. Frommer said, “but they also are probably starting to have people burn out and stop using their device altogether,” which no business wants.


There you have it – a brilliant article by Haylen Phelan.  The points and questions raised are numerous, here are some things I would like to share;

  1. You may not realize the cost of your constantly-on habits until it’s too late.  You only get so many birthdays, so many days with your children and aging parents – Do Not squander them.
  2. Real relationships are messy and take work.  However, when you consider the fruits of your labor (time spent holding a baby, holding a dying loved-one’s hand, sitting around a campfire telling stories) – will any Twitter Feed or Facebook post ever come close?
  3. Will posting your latest political rant or updating your status make anyone who really matters to you like you more?
  4. How would some of your relationships benefit if you took your online time to; look patiently into your loved-one’s eyes as they are speaking, pick up the phone or write a friend a brief note saying “hey I miss you, let’s do lunch or I don’t think you know how much you mean to me?”

Life is short, every moment matters and you are loved more than you could ever possibly imagine – so go share that love with someone special today!


Doc Hanes

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.