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IT professionals often have to deal with the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) that can be a threat to their mental health.
Because new tools, frameworks, or even programming languages are constantly emerging, it can be pretty hard to keep pace.
However, don’t believe the hype, as it can turn pretty bad sometimes: anxiety, low self-esteem, perhaps depression in the worst-case scenario.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit counter-intuitive in this IT business. For example, developers are constantly learning new things, and companies encourage them to update their skills regularly.
It’s easy to get distracted, as social platforms push new notifications like all the time.
It may look harmless, but this is actually serious, as the term “digital detox” is now quite common.
The following recommendations are not new but still useful, IMHO:
- Take breaks to relax
- Dedicate a specific time each week to read blogs, watch tutorials, and update your side projects
- You can’t learn everything, so you’d rather set clear and realistic goals
- Stay organized: set alerts and filters to prioritize the tasks that match your goals
- Join communities/attend local meetups to connect with other professionals
- Don’t use the new trendy beta framework at work, and maybe discuss it with your employers if they specifically ask you to do that
- Step back: this article says you “must learn that,” but does it make sense for you?
It’s not that easy to avoid the FOMO, as there are various factors in conflict with your willingness, for example, social validation, money, or pressure on the job.
In these uncertain times, new technologies are coming, and articles love catchy slogans like “people will be replaced” or “this job is already dead.”
It’s debatable, perhaps wrong in most cases.
- Limit the amount of sources (e.g., trusted blogs, authors) and time dedicated to technology monitoring
- It takes time to become an expert, so try to achieve realistic goals instead (levels are usually a good indicator on learning platforms)
- Leverage RSS feeds, and/or pocket, and/or many other credible alternatives to keep things organized and save time
- Set filters and disable unnecessary notifications on social platforms (e/g, Twitter)
- Taking breaks means doing something else you like that does not involve your smartphone, for example, unless it’s for a phone call
- Don’t compare yourself to others: this one is critical but can be hard to achieve, as social platforms will likely highlight trendy projects
- Stepping back means you have to get the big picture: again, it’s not that easy to achieve, so online communities and meetups may help you
Everybody can have the FOMO, especially developers. The constant threat to our mental health and the need for quick results sometimes push us towards risky behaviors.
The good news is you can mitigate this threat with the right approach. Don’t hesitate to test different solutions to find the right one for you.
In any case, you can’t have it all, so be ready to make some choices.