Ever experienced shiny object syndrome? As a busy entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get distracted by the next new shiny thing. I know this all too well…
A few days ago, I was happily working on the slides for a new workshop I’m planning on hosting soon, when a new, shiny idea popped into my head: “what if I wrote a book about breaking through self-sabotage?”
Next thing I know, I dropped the slides project, opened up Scrivener, and started jotting down a quick outline for the book. Wondering if I had left anything out, I decided to do a quick search on Amazon, Reddit, and FB groups for common questions people had about self-sabotage.
By the time evening rolled around, I was overwhelmed. Not only the slides were nowhere finished, but I had spent hours falling into black internet holes that led nowhere.
In chasing that new, shiny idea, I had wasted a full day of work.
What do you do when you’re working on something important, but a new shiny idea pops up to distract you? Should you just let it go and hope it’ll come back?
There’s a better way…
What Is Shiny Object Syndrome?
Shiny object syndrome is a continual state of distraction fuelled by the belief that new ideas are worth pursuing over old ones.
When you’re experiencing shiny object syndrome, you drop everything you’re currently doing and chase the next project that excites you. When that bores you too, you drop it and chase the next thing. The cycle is never ending.
Shiny object syndrome can show up as:
- Starting new projects without completing the ones you are already working on.
- Having a list of business ideas/projects that you never start.
- You constantly set new goals without completing the ones you already set.
- You jump from one strategy or course to another, without fully implementing any of them.
- You keep changing your niche or ideal client and never stick to anything long enough to gain momentum.
- You have started several businesses and blogs, and abandoned them quickly as soon as you got bored.
- You have tried all latest productivity apps, website builders, WordPress plugins, and you’re still searching for the best one instead of using what you have.
- You’re always searching for new trends to follow.
How many of the above apply to you?
The Problem With Shiny Object Syndrome In Business
Building a successful business requires a clear vision, focus, and determination. You need to know what business you want to build, who you want to help, and the impact you want to make in people’s lives. And you need to be laser focused on that mission, so you can make it happen.
At its core, shiny imposter syndrome is distraction. It keeps you from reaching your business goals and making the impact (and the money) you want to make. Here’s how shiny imposter syndrome sabotages your business:
- Confusion: You’re always changing your focus and pursuing a different direction, no one knows what you do. Your clients are confused about how you can help them, so they say no to working with you.
- Decreased productivity: You spend so much time trying all the new productivity, fancy apps, and latest business strategies, you’re always stuck in busy work instead of building the fundamentals and working on the income-generating activities that move the needle forward.
- Missed goals: You’re always dropping what you’re doing to chase the next new shiny thing, so nothing gets done. You don’t have the results and money you want, and you’ve started losing trust in yourself – you set so many goals you haven’t reached, why would the next one be different?
- Wasted resources: You invest a lot of time, money, and resources in projects that go nowhere, instead of using them to grow your business.
What Is A Shiny Object?
How can you tell when something is a shiny object that distracts you away from the work you’re meant to do and when it’s an exciting opportunity worth dropping everything else for?
A shiny object is anything that distracts you from your business goals and mission.
Here are a few examples:
- A new business idea or niche that excites you right now – even though you know you don’t have a strong long-term interest or knowledge in it.
- New technologies, apps and tools you want to try – even though the ones you’re currently using work perfectly fine for you.
- New social media platform to jump on – only because you’ve heard someone else was successful on it.
- Attending networking events where you’re not sure you’ll connect to the right people – but you’re afraid you’ll miss out if you don’t go.
A 3-Steps Formula To Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome
In the past, I made myself wrong for wanting to chase a new shiny object or tried to use willpower to stick to what I was currently focusing on. These approaches didn’t work.
And even though it’s rare, it’s possible to mistake your next move for a shiny object. Here’s what to do next time a new, shiny idea pops into your brain, so you can stay focused and avoid distractions – without missing out on new, exciting opportunities:
Step 1: Write The Idea Down
I totally get the temptation to drop everything to chase your new, shiny idea. You’re worried that if you don’t, you’ll forget all about it forever. A bit dramatic maybe, but it can totally happen.
To avoid that, write that idea down somewhere. I have a special folder on Clickup (my project management software) titled New Ideas, where I jot down new ideas as they pop into my head.
Feel free to add as many details as you can, but don’t take more than 5 minutes for this. The whole point is to get your idea out of your head just as it came up, NOT to add to it.
I like to use Clickup (or a digital notepad) for this, so I can easily record ideas on-the-go as well. But, you can totally use a physical notebook, if that works best for you.
- Decide where you’ll going to jot down your new shiny ideas. Is it an old school paper notebook? A digital app? A blackboard in your office?
- As soon as a new shiny idea pops up into your head, jot it down.
- You have 5 minutes to add as many details as you can.
- After the 5 minutes are up, go back to what you were working on before this distraction.
Step 2: Go Back To Work (And Vision)
I get it. That new, shiny idea sounds more interesting than what you’re currently working on. But, your work has a purpose. There’s a reason why you were working on that particular project.
What is that? Whenever you feel distracted, reconnect with your vision for your business and the impact you want to make in the world. The task you’re currently doing may not excite you, but it helps you reach your goals and do the work you’re meant to do in the world. Isn’t that worth sticking to?
In my case, I know workshops are key in building my coaching business. They allow me to spread my message to the people who need it and give my audience a taste of what’s it like to work with me. I can’t afford to neglect them to chase new, shiny ideas that may lead nowhere.
Success isn’t the result of chasing random ideas. Success is the result of consistent, daily action that’s aligned with your business mission and the impact you want to make in the world.
TAKE ACTION NOW
If you struggle to get back to your work because your new, shiny idea is too exciting, ask yourself:
- Why am I working on this project?
- What will finishing this project help me achieve?
- How will it positively impact my life?
- How will it positively impact other people’s lives?
Step 3: Explore Your New Idea
Once your work is done, it’s time to explore your new idea. I like to set time aside on the weekend to explore the most interesting shiny ideas that popped up during the week. But you can also explore them as soon as you’re done with the task you were doing or at the end of the day.
What matters is that you do it in your free time, i.e. the time you’re not working in your business, spending with your family, or dedicating to other commitments you’ve already made.
If you’re very creative and have a lot of shiny ideas, this may seem overwhelming. Can you really explore all of these ideas? I can assure you, by the time you’re ready to explore your list of shiny objects, at least half of them will have lost their appeal to you and you’re wondering why you jotted them down in the first place.
So what does exploring a new shiny idea looks like?
The first step is asking yourself: does this bring me closer to my goal?
Writing a book is totally in service of my business mission. A book instantly invests you with expert authority and allows you to spread your message to an ever bigger audience.
The second step is to ask yourself: is this relevant to the current stage of business I am?
Writing a book is a huge project that requires a lot of time and commitment. Time that’s currently better spent doing workshops and speaking gigs to enrol women in The Leadership Advantage, my proven system to reach your big business and income goals in 90 days – without working harder than you already are. Click here for all the details: https://thetreasureswithin.net/the-leadership-advantage.
While I definitely plan to write this book one day, that’s not the best use of my time now. I can set the project aside, knowing it’ll be done when the time is right.
The third step is to decide how to explore your new shiny idea.
If the answer to the previous two questions is no, ditch your new shiny idea. I can assure you, even if you were to pursue it, you wouldn’t be going nowhere with it. But, if it’s something you want to pursue in your FREE time, decide how you’re going to do it. What steps will you take and when?
I’ve created a folder in Clickup where I can add ideas for the book whenever they pop into my head, but I won’t start seriously working on it for a while. This way, I can make progress on the book without taking time away from my workshops and the action I need to take to reach my current goals.
If, on the other hand, your idea is something that is in service of your mission and you can start doing it now or in the near future, start jotting down all the steps you need to take to make it happen and schedule them in your calendar. Then, go do them and make that idea a reality.
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Decide when you’re going to explore your new, shiny, ideas.
- When picking a new, shiny idea to explore, ask yourself: “Will this help me reach my goal and make the impact I want to make?”
- If the answer to the above question is yes, is this the best time to make it happen?
- If the answer is yes again, jot down the steps to take to make it happen and schedule them in your calendar.
Wrapping It Up
Shiny object syndrome is a distraction that takes your focus away from the work you’re meant to do in the world. By getting your new, shiny ideas out of your head and onto a piece of paper, you can finish the work you’ve started and explore your new interests later on (and by then, most of them won’t have any appeal to you anymore). You’ll be able to complete your goals within fear of missing out.