#9: The Fear of Missing Out [FOMO]: An Amusing (But Very Real) ‘Lockdown’ Anxiety

Sliding Doors Podcast Cover Artwork
Sliding Doors Podcast
#9: The Fear of Missing Out [FOMO]: An Amusing (But Very Real) 'Lockdown' Anxiety

The COVID-19 lockdown has us swinging between paralyzing anxiety and a gnawing feeling that we should be ‘doing more’ with our newly gifted time at home. But what exactly are we afraid we’re missing out on? And will we really be happier once we find it?   

  • 00:00 – Opening question: How do you make the most of this COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ time? 
  • 01:45 – Reason #1 for FOMO: The curious reality that with the lockdown, we suddenly have more time in the same 24-hour day! 
  • 3:17 – Self-improvement FOMO: Shouldn’t I be busy making a better ‘version’ of me?
  • 04:22 – Ways of dealing with lockdown stress: Tune out the news, binge-watch shows, immerse yourself in work (Susheel experimented with the voice-over business), etc. 
  • 07:46 – How it helps to be able to ‘do’ something when you’re anxious. E.g., Rohan’s father, Dr. Prathap Tharyan immersed himself in studying the COVID-19 phenomenon. (Refer Episode 5 of The Sliding Door Podcast.) 
  • 11:22 – Reason #2 for FOMO: When anything is possible via the internet, how do you choose what to do? 
  • 12:00 – FOMO and internet gaming: Susheel’s system to not getting addicted to games. 
  • 15:57 – Reason #3 for FOMO: With everyone working at home, there’s no ‘lost time’ at work. So, people are being creative with their free time, and you’re constantly reminded of how ‘productive’ they’re being.  
  • 17:06 – WhatsApp overload! What to do when you’re being flooded by messages. And how to handle people getting annoyed that you don’t reply to them quickly.
  • 20:10 – Dealing with FOMO, Solution #1: Digital Minimalism — a concept explored by Cal Newport. Main takeaway: Be deliberate about what you do. Try to decide what specifically you want before looking at the options you’re offered. 
  • 23:05 – Dealing with FOMO, Solution #2: Let the anxiety ride itself out without acting on it. 
  • 24:06 – Introverts don’t have to worry about social FOMO! 
  • 25:50 – FOMO and Netflix. Susheel binge-watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, Castlevania, and Locke & Key. 
  • 30:06 – Conclusion [How to handle lockdown FOMO]: The lockdown is stressful, and that’s okay. Let yourself be confused for a while. Just think of a few goals, break them down into bite-size chunks, and work on them a little bit every day.