Fear Of Missing Out
People that know me know that I like to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry, new technologies, and so on. Mostly this is because I have a passion for technology and for learning. However, there is almost certainly a part of me that also, as many people do, has the fear of missing out (FOMO). That is, you are afraid to get left behind so you keep sipping from the fire hose constantly, because you believe everyone else is doing the same.
So Much Content!
There are many many fine podcasts out there. I used to listen to Packet Pushers, Software Gone Wild, Talk Python to Me, Clear to Send, and many more. These shows are extremely good at producing content consistently. Unfortunately, that means that you have maybe 4-5h of content to consume each week. That’s too much for me.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
I’m a very analytical person. Both by nature, and in my job role as an Architect. My brain is constantly analyzing, thinking, trying to solve problems. This makes me very efficient, but it also adds stress, and can make it difficult to wind down. As anything I do, I consider what is the return on investment (ROI). How much worse will I be at my job if I cut down on podcasts? Probably marginally, if at all. I have to consume a lot of content, for possibly a small increase in skill. Once again, this is not because the content is bad, it’s very good, but where I’m at, it’s not adding much.
What I’m Doing Now
I still listen to podcasts. Occasionally. However, I don’t feel bad when I’m not up to speed with all of the content. Now, I only listen to podcasts when I’m doing something boring, such as a chore, cleaning, folding laundry etc. The shows I listen to are mostly on what’s going on in the industry. If I find a show that covers a certain topic that I’m interested in, or relates to something I’m working on, then I’ll listen to it. I won’t listen to all of the shows just because. For example, automation, wireless, security etc are interests, but they are not my main focus, I don’t need to consume all that content unless there is a specific topic of interest.
Being the person I am has taken me far, but it also creates its own set of problems. At a certain age, you also realize that there’s more to life than ONLY technology, although it’s still my main passion. Especially now with the pandemic going on, I have prioritized to be more mindful. I try to make a little time each day for some meditation. I have also stopped listening to podcasts or music when I’m outside, with the exception being running. Instead, I try to listen to the sounds of nature, kids playing, feel the sun on my face, the wind on my skin. If that sounds like mumbo jumbo to you, that’s perfectly fine, I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t care. However, I know that mental health is a big problem today, especially in IT, so please do me the favor of considering your habits. I know changing mine has had a positive effect.