Do You Have Shiny Object Syndrome?

Many of my friends, I have noticed, (and “maybe” I myself am just a little bit guilty of this), is that they — and I- have what my husband calls “shiny object syndrome.”

So, what is shiny object syndrome?

Not that anyone’s been noticing, but I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while. Well, there’s a reason for that – a new shiny object has come by. Here’s my history of internet entrepreneurship: I started a blog a couple of years ago on the topic of survival. Then, a new shiny object came by in the guise of a travel agency, and the next blog, all about travel, was born. Third, I realized I was smack in the middle of the baby boomer generation, and there are so many topics to blog about there…and then as a financial professional, I have been wanting to blog about financial topics, too, so I decided to start this blog…and finally, I also write ebooks on my favorite topics, and I have been working on another, expanded ebook about cruising, and working with a friend to help him get a book about Mortgages published – (this one is a true winner – can’t wait to get it published so I can tell you about it)! – and on and on, and you can see I’m spreading my efforts too thin. I have been working willy-nilly on so many things that none of them have been getting the attention they deserve.

THAT, my friends is shiny object syndrome. You may have heard it laughingly referred to as “Oooohhhhhh, shiny!”

Shiny object syndrome is a destroyer of productivity. Everything gets started (or at least thought about) but nothing gets completed or even developed properly.

So, you may be wondering how shiny object syndrome affects you and your life. Well, if you’re lucky, or extraordinarily focused, it doesn’t. But if you’re like me, it can wreak havoc throughout your life, by keeping you from finishing what you started, or even enjoying the fruits of your labor, if you never let your work come to fruition.

How to get over this? Well, first you really have to recognize the problem and want to get over it. If that is the case, then there are some concrete steps you can take to stop allowing shiny object syndrome to interfere with your life.

Most of what I am going to suggest takes some list-making, so get out some paper and pencil, or use a productivity-enhancing program like Evernote.

So, sit down and make a list of all the things you’d like to accomplish in the next, say, year. Take some time thinking about this. Feel free to adjust your timeline to a length that is more meaningful to you. I think a year is a good length of time because it isn’t so long as to lose its meaning, but it’s long enough to give you time to change your circumstances significantly as a result of your actions.

After you have written down all the goals that occur to you (this isn’t a time to edit in advance), pick the three goals that are most important to you. Think hard before you choose a goal that depends on any of the others to be possible, because then if you fail on one, you fail on the other one as well. Independent goals are better (and don’t fret, because you can always change as you go along.) Hint: don’t allow yourself to be derailed by new technologies – they’ll still be there as you move along, but the idea here is to focus.

Now, take each goal and write down what needs to happen before that goal can be realized. Do this for all three goals, and this is where you want to add some detail and put them in order. Number two can’t happen until number one is finished. Get as detailed as you can, because this is going to be your action plan. Once you have written down your action plan, it’s time to start doing. If these goals are independent of each other, you should be able to choose an activity from each plan to accomplish each time period (day, week, or month, depending on how far out you are planning) and get moving! The nifty thing about this is that it will give you plenty of shiny object distraction without any NEW shiny objects. All your shiny objects will be things you have already committed (to yourself) to do.

As you move along, of course you can edit your plan, but this is the time to pledge to yourself that you are not going to allow any new goals to interfere with the ones you are committed to accomplish for the time period you have planned.

As you move along, mark off each activity as it is finished. That is SO important, because it serves as a visual reminder to you of both what you have accomplished and what you need to do next. Before you know it, you will be so happy about what you are doing that new shiny objects will lose a little bit of their shine.

At least until the next set of shiny objects comes along….“Oooohhhhhh, shiny!”

Photo credit: yozza via photo pin cc

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