For many of us, the thought of being without our phones is terrifying. We’re used to having constant connection to our friends and family, 24/7 access to work emails and calls and up-to-the-second information and news.  

The fear that we’ll miss out on an email or text, not know about a new must-have product, or miss a party invitation, or worse, not be invited at all, leaves many people feeling anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. We scramble to keep up out of fear of missing out (FOMO) and it’s leaving us tired and stressed out.

So how do you reverse the effects of FOMO? Put down your phone and enjoy some quiet time. A movement called JOMO – or the Joy of Missing Out -- is a deliberate effort to step back from the always-on mentality.

JOMO lets you take care of yourself by saying ‘no’ more often and embracing opportunities to unplug. It’s a chance to make more deliberate decisions about what you do with your time -- including spending more time with family, learning a new skill, or just enjoying being alone. 

Here are some suggestions to bring more JOMO into your life.

Track your mental and digital activities
Just like tracking your nutrition, it’s helpful to monitor exactly how you spend your mental resources over several days. Pay attention to how much time you spend doing things that are just time wasters – like mindless scrolling, constantly checking social media and monitoring emails. You’ll start to see patterns and identify areas where you can cut back on unnecessary habits.

Manage expectations
Colleagues, family and friends may expect you to respond almost immediately to their emails and texts (you trained them). The reality is, it’s not always necessary to respond immediately. Most emails aren’t that urgent. Try waiting a bit longer and notice how the pressure drops.

Do things with intention
When you choose to do something, consider whether it’s really what you want. Is there something else you’d rather be doing? How could you spend your time better? For example, instead of checking email during the evenings, you could be hanging out with family or friends, or even learning a new skill.

Think before you say ‘yes’
There’s a lot of pressure to attend events and parties, join book clubs, volunteer with the right organizations. We say yes too often. To embrace JOMO, think about what you’re giving up whenever you say yes – it could be extra sleep, a chance to read a book, or an evening to hit your favourite fitness class. Saying yes often has a price, and it helps to define that price before you make any more commitments.

Say no more often
Which leads to the next logical step. Practice saying NO. Too many of us are afraid we’ll cause trouble by saying no. When it comes to time sucking requests, think carefully about which ones you accept. If it’s not something you want or have to do, then politely decline. That extra time will enable you to focus on things that matter to you.

Try these tips on a regular basis and you’ll find you have more time to reconnect with what really matters – yourself, your family and friends. A little JOMO goes a long way!