How to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and Get Things Finished!
In my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve really struggled with a common problem among the creative business types that often run small businesses. Shiny Object Syndrome.
Shiny object syndrome is when we flit from one exciting new trend to the next. Every new idea that comes along or amazing business we hear about, we want a slice of the pie. Of course we do, we’re entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean we have more time than everybody else, and there is no way we can fit it all in, not to mention the chunk of passion we lose when we get enthralled by something new.
It is perhaps fair to say that this syndrome is not entirely curable. We wouldn’t want it to be. I mean, the fire we get in our bellies when something new excites us is what keeps driving us forward, but that enthusiasm itself wont get us far without structure and hard work, oh and of course actually finishing and shipping projects. Though there may not be a cure as such, there are treatments, and ways we can curb our excitement and getting things done. Here are my top tips.
- Deadlines. It can be really difficult as a solopreneur or other type of entrepreneur to set ourselves deadlines. In the online marketing space, a lot of projects are ongoing (this blog, for example). If they are things we can finish such as digital products, redesigns or work for clients, we might not have set ‘deadlines’, so we need to practice the discipline of creating them for ourselves. Make yourself accountable. I will have my Kindle eBook finished by XX date as I have promised to send it to reviewers on this date (one of a ton of examples I could have included).
- Learn to let the dust settle. We’re all guilty of getting overexcited and steamrollering our way into a brand new project, buying all the books about a technique we have learned about and spending a solid week after we have an idea doing nothing else but working on it. It is important to learn to take a step back, know that shiny object syndrome has struck again, and wait to see if the idea still seems as exciting a week or two later, sometimes we get a bit carried away by things that actually aren’t as great as they may seem.
- Store your ideas. There is nothing wrong with leaving something on the back burner for a while, think it through, plan your new project but don’t be worried if you decide (with your logical head on) that it might make sense to wait a while to push towards a new goal.
- Structure your days and weeks. This is another piece of advice which is just generally wise for entrepreneurs, but definitely helps avoid falling foul of those pesky shiny objects. If you have no routine and structure, you will let yourself slip into a daydream of a new project and spend weeks on it, but if you’re used to completing those five articles a day or building 20 backlinks for clients or whatever it is that you are used to doing, you will be able to prioritize it over whatever your new poison is.
- KNOW what is happening. My biggest step in tackling this problem was merely understanding it. Once I knew that I was getting carried away, I was able to simmer down and remain calm about it, approaching it in a much more level headed way.
Remember that it isn’t a bad sign, but getting things done is so important, and we can so easily fall into the trap of constantly having half completed projects. Ship it before moving onto the next idea.