Learn to focus on your priorities without getting FOMO about missing other opportunities.

How to Get Over FOMO: Focus on Important Priorities

Instead of focusing on the all the things we have gotten done in a day, why is it that we often think about the things we didn’t do or the opportunities we missed out on? FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a term first coined in 1996 by Dr. Dan Harmon. Although the term has been around for a while, I feel like it’s more at the forefront of society right now. It can really take a toll on our every day lives and greatly affect our productivity and our priorities!


How We Perceive FOMO & Opportunities


To combat FOMO, we need to first understand where it comes from and how we perceive situations or opportunities around us. After we review our perceptions, I’ll go over how to combat each one so that we can manage our time, priorities and be more productive instead.

  1. We don’t want to miss out on good opportunities – sometimes we feel that pressure to just go for it even if it’s not the right fit.
  2. The basic sense that you should be in total control over your life and capabilities. Sometimes we feel like we can or should be able to do everything.
  3. We think that since everyone else is doing it all, we should be too. Social media and the internet in general shows us what others are doing constantly. So sometimes we feel like we need to do the same things or better.

“If you’re taking advantage of too many opportunities, none of them are really going to move you forward in what you want.”


How to Combat These Perceptions & Focus Instead


I talk about FOMO in episode 014 of the podcast and there’s some great detail and stories that may help you understand these perceptions and how to get over FOMO. A great example I use is how Steve Jobs was able to cut products from Apple and how that was the RIGHT move for the entire company.

Jobs said, “Deciding what not to do is just as important deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.” I want to take Steve’s quote a bit further and say this is true for you and your priorities as well.


  1. Learn that it’s okay to say NO: Opportunities may seem innocent enough or exciting because they’re new, but we often forget the commitment, time, energy and money that comes with them. In reality, we may need to focus on goals and plans we already made for ourselves. If you’re taking advantage of too many opportunities, none of them are really going to move you forward in what you want. If you take a friend up on their offer for a beach trip, that may be a much needed vacation, however make sure you take a look at your priorities too. Is there something you’re trying to save for? Is it a good time to leave your work, family or personal goals for days? Ask yourself a few questions in order to figure out where you stand. Be realistic in your mission to get over FOMO – focus on what you know is important.
  2. You don’t always need total control: We’re often thinking that we need total control over our lives and capableness. That’s why there’s the hashtag #allthethings! But in reality, when we try to treat everything as a priority, and get it all done, nothing is important anymore. Stop and reflect on your priorities. It may be that you only need and want one single priority. In fact, the word priority came about in the 15th century – only up until the 1950’s did we start using the plural form – priorities. We thought that by changing the word, we could bend our reality to make us equally focus on many things. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you try to do it all, you feel burnt out and not nearly as accomplished as you hoped. Getting over FOMO means letting go of controlling everything, and focusing on the important thing.
  3. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything: Flipping through Instagram or Facebook, we’re exposed to other people’s lifestyles, achievements and more all around the world. It makes our social comparison broader – meaning we’re now comparing ourselves to others more than we used to. It seems like these people have it all. I hope you’ll remind yourself that we’re definitely not getting the whole picture though. We may see someone’s beautifully cooked meal – but not the pile of dirty dishes and messy kitchen. Keep in mind that no one person can do everything. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Don’t spread yourself thin. Remember how important it is to get past the feeling and fear of missing out.

Get Over FOMO: Trends & Practices


A study found that 70% of adults in developing countries experience fear of missing out to various degrees. They found that the ability to cope with that fear directly relates to financial and social success. It’s about managing FOMO and learning how to turn it into a positive experience. The study also found that 40% of the the 70% experienced negative feelings because of FOMO. Feelings about the could-have-beens, being out of control, trapped, etc.

Accepting that you have this fear of missing out and then dealing with it accordingly is the best way to get started. Realize you actually won’t be doing the coolest thing ever at every single moment. There’s nothing wrong with a little pajama time on Friday night watching Netflix. Know that if you’re constantly going, you’ll constantly be exhausted.

Trying to keep up appearances and win an unwinnable game is too much for anyone. I bet most of the people who have those enviable lives on social media, also have a hyperactive fear of missing out. Make sure you’re consciously prioritizing meaningful things in life – like relationships – before you go after more material items and experiences.

Try turning off notifications. They are one of the things that can derail your day. Limit your screen time and focus in on the time that you have with people who are important to you. Know that in your journey to getting over FOMO and focusing on the important things in life. You are not alone! Obviously 70% of the developing world feels this too.


What’s Next?


Lastly, ask yourself: At the end of my life, what do I want to be remembered for? Do you really want it to be the number of Instagram followers you have or the time you spend working or the size of your bank balance? The one regret many have is not having the courage to live a life true to themselves instead of the life others expected of them.

I encourage you to live the life you truly want, and not what others pressure you to do, feel, be, etc. When you use these tips to cut out the unnecessary clutter, you’re making room for priorities: important friendships, goals and your passions. With FOMO, it’s all about streamlining, time management and prioritizing so that you don’t let that fear control you!

Comment below and tell me how FOMO has affected you in your life. What can you start doing today to manage it and combat your need for joining all opportunities?

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton