How to Let Go of FOMO and Adopt a JOMO Attitude


Last year I made the decision to take a sabbatical.  For many years I thought sabbaticals were only for academics to be able to have a school year free from teaching to allow them to devote time to rest, research, travel, and write. This sounded like an ideal life to me and it was one of the reasons I wanted to become a professor.   

The word sabbatical  is related to  sabbath, which refers to the Biblical day of rest, or the seventh day.  

The concept of paid sabbaticals, separate from vacation time, personal days or parental/family leave seeped into for profit companies such as Charles Schwab, Adobe and PayPal. Even McDonald’s (every 10 years) and REI (after 15 years) offer sabbaticals

Last year, I realized I’ve never been on a sabbatical. After being in my profession for 15 years, and owning my own business if I didn’t approve a sabbatical for me, no one else would.  

So I approved it and went on a two month sabbatical in November and December.  

I rested (slept! slept! slept!), researched (does surfing the web count?), travelled to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica (yes, a lifetime dream made real), and wrote.  

The result of all this is that I learned all about JOMO, the “joy of missing out.” It was a bit scary and unsettling at first not having the anchor of my smart phone in my hand and regular contact with the world, but the joy I experienced by simply looking up and looking around me reminded me of the importance of looking outside of me.  

I know not everyone can take this type of a sabbatical, but here’s how I’m carrying the impact of mine into my life.  

  • I put my phone in another room when I sleep so I’m not tempted to read emails/texts/news when I wake up.  
  • I don’t touch my phone until I have spent time in my morning ritual which I created on my sabbatical.  This ritual is written down and reminds me to continue to practice it.
  • For a minimum of four hours during the day I shut my phone off. It can be four hours at a time OR ½-1 hour spurts. I’ve learned EVERYTHING can wait for this amount of time.  I have also learned what an amazing amount of things you can accomplish without being disturbed.
  • I take one day out of the week to be oblivious to all that is social media and web surfing related.  In other words, I practice JOMO.

How do you take an everyday sabbatical in your own life and experience JOMO?


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