productivity tips · Mar 30, 2021

3 Practical Tips for Overcoming Productivity FOMO post-COVID-19

Productivity tips

FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out, can be a serious issue when it comes to team productivity. There’s the standard drain of time that is constantly checking social media and news sites which FOMO causes.

But it’s more than that. FOMO also applies to fear of:

  • Not being able to attend a meeting (whether online or physically) to contribute with your thoughts on an issue.
  • Not being asked to attend a meeting.
  • Not being part of a fun lunch break group chat in the office break room.
  • Not being invented to an office party or company retreat.

In a post-COVID-19 world, it’s understandable why this may cause FOMO. What with the huge—and necessary—shift to remote working, FOMO appears to be at its strongest.

There is also the fear of not getting enough work done. That, somehow you could be even more productive than you already are. And because you aren’t, you’re missing out on something.

That something could be pay rise, bonus, promotion, or better projects. And it’s this fear of missing out that can negatively impact productivity.

Productivity FOMO post-COVID-19

A general sense of workplace FOMO starts to decrease your productivity. And, on top of this, checking social media and news sites throughout the day also contributes to information overload.

Now, information overload and workplace FOMO go hand-in-hand in significantly impacting productivity. Which then leads to productivity FOMO.

With so much technology, and so many tools, people are expected to be more productive and efficient than ever.

The idea that you should be able to do more than ever because technology has provided you with all the tools. And, for some reason, people think you have more time.

While we’re not yet in a post-COVID-19 world, it does look like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


And many are not sure what it’s going to be like when we eventually get there. One thing many people do seem to agree on is that things will never 100% go back to the way they were. This pandemic has challenged many long-held assumptions, and shown a lot of them to be wanting.

Remote workers can be just as productive—and effective—as in-house staff. Indeed, many businesses that were able to adapt to this model are the ones that have managed to stay afloat.

And it looks like some of these changes will stay. Especially remote work, as some employers find it is a cheaper solution that having a large office space. Also: virtual meetings are probably here to stay. They are, in some circumstances, much more convenient than physical meetings.

But what about productivity FOMO in the post-COVID-19 world?

The pandemic forced many businesses into remote work situations. And while they have made this work, there are some activities better done in person.

Some activities better done face-to-face include:

  • Critical business decisions
  • Negotiations
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Providing sensitive feedback

Which is where productivity FOMO comes in.

Brainstorming sessions are best done in person—they’re more productive and faster. Onboarding new employees is more personable, allows the trainer and trainee to get a sense of each other, and reduces back and forth after the onboarding.

While these can be done remotely, it’s a much slower process. And so, employees become worried that they’re not doing as much as they could be (aka: productivity FOMO).

Read more on 8 best tips for remote teams to boost productivity at virtual office.

3 practical tips to overcome productivity FOMO in a post-COVID-19 world

The goal should always be to do as much work as possible as efficiently and effectively as possible. But sometimes expectations—your own, and others around you—can create a false sense of failure.

It’s that idea of: if only you had an extra hour here or there, you could get more done. Or, if this was a certain way, I’d get more done.

The truth is productivity, and the expectations around it, can be managed to overcome fear of missing out. Because FOMO is a mindset, and that mindset creates the reality. In order to escape that productivity FOMO mindset, here are three tips:

1. Have clear expectations around goals and KPIs

To escape productivity FOMO, the first tip is to get grounded in reality.

What are you expected to complete each day, and how much leeway is there for those unavoidable tasks that sometimes pop-up?

The only way you’re going to know the answer to this is by having a conversation with your manager.

The other way is by having a system that organizes your tasks and projects so you know what needs to be done and by when. Ideally, you want a collaborative platform that lets you see how the role your tasks play in how a given project is completed.

Having set daily, weekly, and monthly goals and KPIs lets you plan and organize your days so you can ensure you complete the necessary tasks each day.

This can be done with the right software that allows everyone on a project to: work collaboratively, comment on tasks in real time, and organize tasks into lists of varying priorities to help keep you focused.

With clear expectations, and constant communication between team members, project leaders, and managers, you can start to manage—and even escape—the trappings of productivity FOMO.

2. Automate what can be automated

This is one of the key benefits of modern software tools. Automate what can be automated so you have more time to do the important tasks.

Features such as add-ons, browser extensions, and integration options, make most project management software tools an effective solution for automating what can be automated.

Project management tools make it easier than ever to integrate and keep everything in one place to ensure ease of communication, and workflow.

Which saves a lot of time, and ensures everyone is on the same page and that a project can be finished on time and to spec.

The less time you spend organizing folders, and tasks, and compiling data from different sources, the more time you have to complete actual work. Which is another way of escaping the trappings of productivity FOMO.

3. Focus on what you can control

In some ways this is the most important tip. And it’s also—probably—the hardest.

You can only control what’s in front of you. That is, the task you’re working on right now. If you get hung-up about how much there is to do, and lose sight of what you’re doing right now, it will affect your work.

And you will fall behind.

By focusing on each task until it’s completed. You have a far better chance of staying focused and so completing the task properly the first time.

Read more on how Sublist can help you focus on the right things at the right time.

Rushing work so you can do more work is how mistakes are made. And mistakes are costly. Not just in the potential money lost if a client’s unsatisfied, but also in time.

If you do a task properly the first time, you won’t need to revisit it, and you can keep working through your tasks.

Rush a task, and don’t do it properly, you have to stop what you’re doing and fix it.

Which raises the question: if you had done it properly the first time would it have been faster?

You can control what’s in front of you. You cannot control what’s in front of you tomorrow or even this afternoon.

To escape productivity FOMO, it’s better to fear a sloppy job that will have to be redone, than a job done properly that you don’t need to revisit.

Escaping post-COVID-19 Productivity FOMO

When the pandemic is over, it’s unlikely the world will 100% return to how it was. Too many businesses have seen the financial benefit of remote workers to ever truly want to increase their costs.

But, as noted, there are just some things that are better done in person.

Project management software

This mix of wanting to return to how things were, and the data that says remote work for some industries is here to stay is going to be interesting to watch play out.

As stated above, to escape productivity FOMO it’s best to focus on what you can control. To use the software tools available to manage your work—and your expectations—to ensure the necessary work gets done on time.

And to maintain communication. In the heavily remote working environment of the pandemic, communication with remote workers has been vital for success.

Project management software helps ensure everyone working a project can talk with each other, share files, documents, and tasks, as well as monitor KPIs and goals.

With the right project management software tool, you can manage productivity FOMO—even maybe escape it—and ensure you achieve all your work without fear of not getting enough done.

And without fear of missing out on important things going on in your company: whether that be with colleagues, business meetings, or work outings. If you would like to know more about how project management software can help you overcome productivity FOMO now, and in a post-COVID-19 world, enquire with us today.

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