Are you suffering from shiny object syndrome? Do you get easily distracted by the “next big thing” and never seem to finish anything? Are you overwhelmed by all the different options you “should” be doing and keep flitting from one to the other? Is your business being effected by this?
If you are like most small business owners when it comes to your “to do” list it’s always a mile long? Between wearing the hat of the service provider, the accounts department, the marketing department and Human Resources, then being the Business Owner and Leader, there’s no shortage of what you “should” be doing.
How does shiny object syndrome happen
With so much information available to us online and from advisers / coaches / mentors/ consultants and friends it’s difficult to know where to start. Or, like most of us, you may start on one of the items because the last person you spoke to said that’s what you should do to build your business. Then the following week you are told about something new and off you go on that journey. This is commonly known as shiny object syndrome (SOS).
Or maybe you just get stuck in complete overwhelm and don’t actually choose anything except to put your head in the sand, hope for the best and put out any fires that burn your butt. Just for the record, I don’t recommend this approach!
Compared to overwhelm, shiny object syndrome isn’t as bad because at least you are giving new things a go. The problem is, if you never finish them, then you don’t ever get to reap the rewards.
Often too, with so many “sticks in different fires” a result of shiny object syndrome is spreading yourself too thinly which then usually ends up leaving you in overwhelm anyway.
How to avoid shiny object syndrome
There are over a hundred ways I know of that, if implemented, could double any business. So, with no shortage of information what should you do? I hear this question a lot from small business owners and the answer, although simple, isn’t as easy to implement.
The answer is, choose one and implement it! And I don’t mean, half do it, I mean really lean in and apply yourself to making that strategy work for you and your business. Commit to learning and applying everything you possibly can to that strategy and give it every opportunity to work.
But how do I choose just one?
This too is simple in theory…trust yourself. Go with the one that you, who knows your business best, feels would make the biggest impact on your business and once chosen, don’t look at or listen to anything else. Focus on making that one strategy work and politely put aside other potential distractions.
Follow one person
I used to be guilty of this…constantly searching for the ideal expert to learn from. I kept going to different seminars, doing different courses (that I never finished) and thought I would suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) if I didn’t go check out the latest guru.
Reality is, everyone has a different take on things and by following different experts you are only going to end up confused. So, once you choose the one strategy to follow, choose one expert to do the same and switch off to all the others until you are at the point that you have outgrown that expert.
And outgrown doesn’t mean bored or “over”, it means once you have implemented all of that expert's recommendations and lessons, and achieved even better results than they have. That’s what outgrown means. When you have surpassed your idol, mentor or coach. Until that point, stick with it through thick and thin.
I’m a huge fan of technology and what it gives us but I am also acutely aware of how it can often feed the shiny object syndrome! It’s mind-boggling how much time some apps can take us away and how easily it can distract us from what we really need to be focusing on in our business.
That Facebook message, or email, no matter who it’s from, isn’t going to explode and vanish if you don’t read it right now! So, finish what you are doing and then go and look at it and respond.
Turn off your notifications and structure your day so that you only check your emails during your breaks. We realistically as human beings can only focus on something for 40 minutes before we start to lose attention so set your day up into 40 minute blocks and have the other 20 minutes for Facebook, emails and messages.
Don’t forget to allow some flexibility in your schedule so you still have the freedom for creativity and aren’t feeling restricted.
The marketing of your business is the perfect example of where you can lose yourself in the shiny object syndrome. There are so many different ways for marketing your business online. And, there are always “new ways” being promoted to you almost every day.
Choose one platform, be it blogging, podcasting, social media advertising or email marketing and then choose one method or strategy to implement. Hire, follow or learn from an expert in that field and then really lean into it. Master it.
Once you have completed one strategy, have it working beautifully and it has been profitable, THEN you can choose another. Taking care that you are still continuing what is required for the previous strategy to continue to work.
Choosing to be disciplined, applying yourself to one strategy or task and sticking with it to give it enough time to work, these steps will get you to where you want to go in your business, regardless of what type of business you are in and will keep you safe from the effects of the shiny object syndrome.