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The Joy of Missing Out

Written by: Tanya Dalton
Published: October 1, 2019


Today's society is obsessed with the idea of "busy." We wear our hectic schedules like badges of honor, constantly juggling multiple tasks and feeling overwhelmed by to-do lists. It's easy to equate busyness with success, yet most of the time, this frenzied lifestyle leads to burnout, unhappiness, and a lack of fulfillment.

Dalton challenges this societal norm, arguing that being perpetually busy doesn't necessarily mean you're productive or successful. Instead, she encourages readers to embrace the joy of missing out (JOMO). JOMO is the opposite of FOMO (fear of missing out), a term many are familiar with in our social media-driven age. JOMO celebrates the moments we opt out of the noise and distractions, allowing us to connect with our true selves, our families, and our goals.

Central to Dalton's philosophy is the idea of intentional living. Instead of letting external factors dictate our daily lives, she encourages readers to be proactive. This involves setting clear goals that align with personal values and prioritizing tasks that directly contribute to those goals. When you work with intention, every action has a purpose. This mindset not only boosts productivity but also ensures that you spend your time on things that truly matter to you.

The book emphasizes the significance of understanding one's priorities. To truly experience the joy of missing out, one must discern between the essential and the non-essential. This clarity allows for the elimination of unnecessary tasks and distractions. With a trimmed-down to-do list, you're no longer a slave to endless tasks; instead, you're empowered to focus on activities that align with your purpose and passions.

Dalton also provides practical strategies to maximize productivity. She introduces the concept of time blocking, where you allocate specific chunks of your day to particular tasks. This technique not only aids in managing time efficiently but also ensures that you have moments dedicated to self-care and leisure. After all, productivity isn't just about working hard; it's also about working smart and finding balance.

Another pivotal aspect discussed is the role of technology. While digital tools have undeniably made life more convenient, they've also become sources of endless distraction. Dalton suggests setting boundaries when it comes to tech use. Unplugging from the digital world from time to time allows for deeper connections with the real world and fosters mindfulness, a state of active attention to the present.

The book is filled with anecdotes and real-life examples that many readers will find relatable. These stories serve as a reminder that everyone, regardless of their status or profession, struggles with finding balance in this fast-paced world. However, with conscious effort and intentional living, it's possible to break free from the chains of busyness and rediscover the joy in everyday moments.

Final Thoughts

The Joy of Missing Out is a timely reminder that we don't have to conform to society's ideals of success. By embracing JOMO, setting clear priorities, and living intentionally, we can lead richer, more fulfilled lives. It's a call to action to break away from the hustle culture and celebrate the moments where we truly connect with ourselves and our loved ones, relishing in the beauty of the here and now.

10 Big Ideas

1. The Myth of Busyness

Being busy doesn't equate to being productive or successful. Today's culture glorifies busyness, but this often leads to burnout and dissatisfaction. We should differentiate between mere activity and genuine productivity, seeking depth over breadth in our commitments.


JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) is the antidote to the prevalent FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). While FOMO leads to scattered attention and a feeling of never being enough, JOMO celebrates the value in choosing to step away, appreciating the present and connecting deeply with our true desires.

3. Intentional Living

Rather than being reactive and letting the day dictate our actions, intentional living is about proactively setting clear goals that resonate with our values. Every action should have a clear purpose, ensuring alignment with our broader life goals.

4. Discerning Priorities

Understanding what truly matters allows us to differentiate between the essential and the non-essential. This clarity aids in eliminating distractions and unnecessary tasks, letting us focus on activities that truly align with our purpose and passions.

5. Time Blocking for Productivity

Allocating specific chunks of time to dedicated tasks, or time blocking, can transform our daily productivity. It not only aids in efficient time management but also ensures dedicated moments for self-care and rejuvenation.

6. Setting Boundaries with Technology

Though technology offers many conveniences, it's also a primary source of distraction. Being intentional about tech use, setting specific times for unplugging, and creating digital-free zones can foster genuine connection and present-moment awareness.

7. Mindfulness in Daily Life

Active attention to the present, or mindfulness, allows for richer experiences. By being fully present in our activities, we can derive more joy, understanding, and connection from everyday moments.

8. The Power of Saying "No"

Saying "no" is an essential skill in reclaiming our time and energy. By declining tasks or commitments that don't serve our larger goals, we make space for what truly matters, ensuring alignment with our values and purpose.

9. Embracing Deep Work

Depth is more valuable than breadth when it comes to meaningful work. Engaging in deep, uninterrupted work allows for greater creativity, innovation, and mastery, leading to more fulfilling outcomes.

10. The Beauty of the Present Moment

Every moment is a gift, filled with potential and beauty. By stepping away from relentless distractions and tuning into the here and now, we can experience the richness of life in its fullness, celebrating the joy in everyday moments.

5 Exercises

1. Busyness Detox

Objective: To consciously evaluate and cleanse your schedule of unnecessary tasks, allowing for more focused and meaningful engagements.

  • Write down all your daily tasks and commitments for a week.
  • Next to each task, note if it aligns with your personal or professional goals.
  • Identify at least three tasks that don’t directly serve your goals.
  • For each of these tasks, decide if you can delegate, delay, or delete them from your schedule.
  • Reserve the time you've freed up for something that brings you joy or aligns more closely with your goals.
2. Digital Sabbath

Objective: To reduce digital distractions and enhance real-life connections by setting aside regular technology-free periods.

  • Pick one day of the week to be your "Digital Sabbath".
  • Turn off all non-essential digital devices for the entirety of that day.
  • Engage in offline activities such as reading, nature walks, or board games with family.
  • Keep a journal to note down how you feel during this tech-free period.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on the experience and decide if you want to incorporate this practice more regularly.
3. Intentional Day Planner

Objective: To design your day around your top priorities, ensuring that your actions align with your goals and values.

  • Before starting your day, list down your top three priorities.
  • Allocate specific blocks of time to focus on each priority.
  • Avoid multitasking during these blocks and give your full attention to the task at hand.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on your accomplishments and how they served your larger goals.
  • Adjust your planning method based on what you learned and apply it the next day.
4. Mindful Moment Exercise

Objective: To cultivate mindfulness by anchoring yourself in the present moment, promoting clarity and contentment.

  • Find a quiet spot and sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of breathing.
  • Listen to the ambient sounds around you, trying not to label or judge them.
  • Bring your attention to your body, noticing any sensations or tensions.
  • Gradually bring your focus back to your breathing, take another three deep breaths, and then open your eyes.
5. The Joy Journal

Objective: To cultivate a habit of recognizing and appreciating moments of joy, however big or small, in daily life.

  • Keep a small notebook or journal by your bedside.
  • Every night before sleeping, write down three moments from the day that brought you joy.
  • It could be something as simple as a delicious meal, a conversation with a friend, or an achievement at work.
  • Make it a ritual, and over time, you’ll start noticing more moments of joy throughout your day.
  • Whenever you feel down, flip through your joy journal to remind yourself of the many beautiful moments in life.

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