FOMO. It’s an acronym and stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It has always been present but with proliferation smart phones it means no one, of any age, has to miss out on pretty much anything.
A couple of recent examples have made me ponder this phenomenon. There was a near mutiny in a dental practice when the principal insisted that mobile phones were to stay in lockers during clinical hours. The two nurses started taking turns to leave him during procedures to check their smartphones. This meant a distraction for him at the very least. Their rationale was that they needed to be available in case of emergencies, although it was never clear who in their families was at risk.
Their employer was made to feel as if they were somehow impinging on their personal liberty by limiting their access to their e mail and social media. A bit of hard-faced coaching sorted that one. “Your place, your rules, tough.”
Next up is a practice manager who is incapable of holding a conversation for more than 30 seconds without touching their phone. The smartphone sits on the table between you and their eyes constantly flicker to it. The reassurance that, “it’s OK, I can multi-task” only garnered my response, “remind me never to book in for brain surgery with you then” which went over their head.
There are three things going on here.
Firstly – it’s poor behaviour. That makes me sound old-fashioned so let’s try, it’s disrespectful of the other person and sends the message that you don’t value them.
Next – multi tasking doesn’t exist. The research clearly shows that every time you switch from concentrating on one thing and turn to another there is a time lapse where you lose concentration totally before you can start again. It’s inefficient and reduces performance.
So don’t let the fear of missing out stop you from focusing on the here and now.
This article was written in conjunction with Alun K Rees BDS is The Dental Business Coach