How to Stop Shiny Object Syndrome from Wasting Your Time

The path to success never moves in a straight line. Zigs and zags are inevitable. But if you find yourself constantly changing course in order to chase the latest and greatest, that’s a problem.

It’s called Shiny Object Syndrome. And beware! It’s a huge time waster.

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But don’t fret because you’re going to learn how to stop shiny object syndrome so that you can achieve your business goals.

What is Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome, aka SOS, is a term used to describe someone with a tendency to become easily distracted by new and exciting opportunities.

These new opportunities will cause them to abandon projects quickly when they become bored or when something more interesting or promising comes along. And often it leads them to lose focus on their current goals and projects.

In other words, people with this syndrome are drawn to the “shiny objects” or the newest, most exciting things that grab their attention.

Shiny Object Syndrome in Entrepreneurship

This behavior is particularly common in the entrepreneurial world, where new ideas, products, and strategies are constantly emerging.

By nature, entrepreneurs are highly motivated, which is a good trait to have. But it also makes them more susceptible to Shiny Object Syndrome as they are typically unafraid to try new technologies and ideas.

When an entrepreneur with Shiny Object Syndrome comes across something new, they may become so excited about it that they abandon their current project in favor of pursuing the new idea. Even if the original project isn’t finished.

Consequences of Shiny Object Syndrome

If you’re thinking that’s not such a bad thing, I’m going to stop you. I’m not saying that, making a pivot or course correction to your goal achievement plan is bad.

Of course not! Sometimes when you feel like quitting on a project, you should. For example, you want to launch an online course, but in your market research, you discover that your market isn’t interested in your idea.

In this instance, the smart move is to abandon or adjust the project. And that’s good because you’ve made your decision with data.

SOS, on the other hand, doesn’t work like that because you make your decisions based on what’s appealing in the moment. Let’s use the same example as before but with a twist.

This time, you’ve discovered that your course idea is viable. But you keep changing which learning management system you’ll use to host it in because you keep finding better technology. That’s Shiny Object Syndrome at work.

7 Consequences of Shiny Object Syndrome

When you function like this, it can lead to a host of undesired consequences.

Here are just a few to consider:

  1. Lack of progress: Jumping from one thing to another without completing any project can result in a lack of progress. This means not achieving the goals you’ve set.
  2. Loss of focus: Pursuing too many ideas at once can cause a loss of focus. When you’re not focused, you won’t devote enough time and resources to any one single project.
  3. Wasted time and resources: Starting new projects without properly assessing whether or not they’re appropriate for your type of business or stage of your business can result in wasted time and resources that could have been invested elsewhere.
  4. Missed opportunities: Constantly chasing new ideas can cause you to miss out on valuable opportunities for growth or success.
  5. Overwhelm: Trying to juggle too many projects at once can lead to overwhelm and burnout. This results in decreased productivity and decline in your overall well-being.
  6. Decreased credibility: Always changing direction and failing to follow through on projects can result in a decrease in your credibility and trust among customers, clients, and colleagues.
  7. Financial loss: Consistently abandoning current projects to chase new ideas will prevent you from making money. This results in a loss of revenue and damages your business's bottom line.

Shiny Object Syndrome and Procrastination

And if those consequences aren’t bad enough, Shiny Object Syndrome can also lead to procrastination. This will cause you to waste more time and take you even further away from making progress on your goals.

Lack of Motivation

When you regularly become distracted by new ideas and fail to make progress on your current goals, you may lose motivation to continue working on those goals. This lead to procrastination which causes you to avoid working on your original project in favor of pursuing something new and exciting.

Indecision

Frequently chasing new ideas at the expense of current ones can also lead to indecision. You may become unsure of which direction to take your business or which project to focus on. This can also lead to procrastination, as you may avoid making choices in favor of exploring new ideas without actually taking action on any of them.

Fear of Failure

Pursuing new ideas can also be a way of avoiding the fear of failure. Instead of working on a project that may not succeed, you chase new ideas that seem more exciting and less risky. The result? Procrastination!

How to Stop Shiny Object Syndrome

With so many consequences, you may be wondering how to stop Shiny Object Syndrome. The good news? You’ve got choices!

Here are 10 strategies you can implement so that you can kick SOS to the curb and get back on track.

1) Set Clear Goals

Establishing clear goals for your business can help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by new ideas.

2) Prioritize Tasks

Prioritizing tasks can help you stay on track and focus on the most important tasks that will help you achieve your goals.

3) Develop a Plan

Creating a plan for your business that outlines your objectives, strategies, and timelines can help you stay focused and avoid getting distracted by new ideas.

4) Stay Accountable

Brain Moran, author of the 12 Week Year, says “Accountability is not consequences, but ownership.” In other words, it’s being responsible for one’s own actions.

And while other people cannot hold you to account, telling others about your plans can help keep you accountable to your actions and, therefore, on track to achieve your goals.

5) Limit Distractions

Setting boundaries around your time and limiting distractions, such as social media or email notifications, can help you stay focused on your work.

6) Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help you stay present and avoid getting distracted by new ideas.

7) Stay Organized

Keeping your workspace and schedule organized can help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by clutter or disorganization.

8) Assess New Ideas Carefully

Before pursuing a new idea, take the time to assess its feasibility and potential impact on your business. Consider the resources required and the potential return on investment.

9) Collaborate with Others

Working with others, such as business partners or mentors, can provide you with valuable feedback and support, helping you stay focused on your goals.

10) Celebrate Milestones

Celebrating milestones and progress along the way can help you stay motivated and avoid becoming distracted by new ideas. This can include setting small goals and celebrating when you achieve them, or taking breaks to celebrate major milestones in your business's growth.

Final Thoughts On How To Stop Shiny Object Syndrome

If you struggle with Shiny Object Syndrome, don’t feel bad. And don’t beat yourself up! It’s ok. Take a deep breath.

You can’t do anything about the past. But you can move forward one small step at a time. Here’s how you can easily do that.

Simply choose one strategy from the list of things you can do to stop Shiny Object Syndrome from derailing your progress. Then implement it.

I’d love to know which one you’ll try. Let me know in the comments.

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