Overcoming the Fear of Missing Out

I’ve always been the type of person to volunteer for things; party planning, steering committees, the group needs a treasurer? Sure! I can help with that. This is probably one of the million reasons I became a librarian.

I’m sure part of this joy comes from the fact that our brain’s give us a little shot of dopamine every time we achieve a goal. But I think it goes further than that, I like to make sure things are getting done and I don’t mind doing hard work.

Recently though, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t keep volunteering. You see, I’m currently 8+ months pregnant and whether I’m ready or not (spoiler alert: I’M NOT READY) the baby is coming in February. I’m realizing all the things I want to volunteer for are going to get done…just not by me.

It’s not an easy thing to come to terms with. When I see announcements in AALL Weekly eNews asking for short submissions, I want to participate. My local district court is starting a new health and wellness committee, I want to take part.

I’ve recently been doing some soul searching on how to overcome my FOMO or fear of missing out. Here are a few things I’ve started doing to feel like I’m not getting left in the dust.

Redefine my goals

I think redefining success and adjusting my personal goals has been the greatest way to overcome the fear that letting go of projects, or committee work, will mean I’m falling behind in my career. It won’t! Taking time to focus on my day-to-day work serving Judges, Law Clerks, and other patrons has reminded me of all the things I love about the profession. I don’t need to be chairing something, or writing an article for law library journal, today. I’m now focusing on making sure my library functions as efficiently as possible and that every research question I answer is my highest caliber work. I think this has not only reinvigorated my passion for my job but has also made me a better employee.

Know when to say yes or no

You’ve got 10 projects on your desk and someone is asking you to add an 11th? It’s time to exercise the polite no. No isn’t usually part of my vocabulary. But I have been learning how to politely pass and then stop thinking about the project I passed on. Would it have been good exposure? Maybe. Does it matter? No. There will be other times in the future when I can say yes. And when those come up I can be sure that I won’t be putting my name on a slapped together project that wasn’t my best work. Saying no doesn’t close the door forever. It is just me saying not yet. I want to attend the annual spring leadership academy – but not yet.

There is always next year

My career is a marathon not a sprint. I may want to do everything right now but it all doesn’t need to happen this instant. So, I probably won’t be able to attend the annual meeting this year, or my submission isn’t ready for the LexisNexis Call for Papers but that is alright! I have time on my side. This next year is going to pass incredibly fast and now I can take the time to be truly ready – and look forward to – every upcoming event.

Overall, I think these strategies for overcoming my FOMO are working. I’m happier at my job and my plate is less full of committee work and more full of the things I feel passionate about. I’m going to call that a win!

This entry was posted in Career, Issues in Librarianship (generally), Lifelong Learning, Time Management, Work/Life Balance. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Overcoming the Fear of Missing Out

  1. Jamie Baker says:

    This is great advice, Emily! So many of us want to do All The Things, which can lead to burnout. We need great librarians to stay in the profession, and knowing how to set boundaries over the span of a career is so important. Also congrats on your impending bundle of joy!

  2. Rachel Evans says:

    Emily I LOVE this post. Did you write it just for me? (I’m going to pretend you did even though I know you didn’t). I struggle with saying no too. This post helped me laugh at myself a little more, and I just copied and pasted your bolded items above to remind myself later. THANK YOU!

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