Developer FOMO

By Mark Nuyens
4 min. read💻 Development

As a developer, I often find myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available from industry-related newsletters and Twitter in particular. Each source clamors for attention, demanding those few additional, precious minutes of my spare time. This fear of missing out can be quite a struggle.

Though I could engage with this content during work hours, as it is often applicable to my job, I can't help but feel it's a waste of time. So, I procrastinate. After pondering this phenomenon for some time, I've gained a few insights that I'd like to share with you. Do know that I have not yet found a complete solution.

First, I've noticed that I enjoy going through my newsletters most when I'm in a situation where I'd otherwise be wasting time, such as waiting in line, sitting in my car, or waiting for players in an online game. If there's even a remote possibility that I could be doing something more productive, I'll choose that option instead, whether it's cleaning my desk, cooking, or making my bed. There's definitely a pattern here, but the lesson to be learned is still unclear.

Secondly, I've discovered a helpful trick for digesting content: I store anything interesting in my Raindrop bookmarking app after getting a general sense of its relevance. This allows me to continue browsing other links without feeling guilty for not reading the entire piece. While helpful, this approach can sometimes feel like sweeping things under the rug.

Third, I leverage a handy Firefox feature that lets me send tabs from my phone to my laptop. When I open my laptop, the tab is prominently displayed, nudging me to read the content. However, this strategy can lead to rushed reading or even neglecting other tasks I initially planned to complete. While not ideal, it does help me navigate the dense jungle of developer news.

On a related note, I'd like to urge content creators to stick to one core topic and avoid excessive digressions or fluff. Be concise, review your content, and ensure it is both informative and visually appealing. You can even enlist the help of AI tools like ChatGPT if you're unsure of what to change. In fact, this very article was checked and rewritten by ChatGPT-4.

The topic of developer FOMO is seldom discussed, and I believe it deserves more attention. A TLDR version for most content would be ideal, but summarizing often risks losing the core message, making it a challenging situation for both writers and readers. Unsubscribing from some news sources is an option, but let's face it, most of us are unlikely to actually do that.

So, while I haven't found the ultimate solution for dealing with developer FOMO, these insights have helped me better manage my information consumption. The key is to find the balance that works for you, recognizing that there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this struggle.

If you've experienced developer FOMO or have found other methods for coping with the overwhelming flow of information, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading!