The shiny object syndrome represents our tendency to start a new project or pursue something new rather than focusing on what we are doing. Because we are always starting new projects without completing them, shiny object syndrome can reduce our productivity and hinder our chances of success.
How to Recognize the Shiny Object Syndrome?
Whether it is a new goal, an idea, a tool, or a business plan that seems irresistible, the tendency to pursue something new can interfere with performance and make us less productive.
The first step in boosting productivity and becoming more prosperous is recognizing that we have fallen into a rabbit hole of constantly starting new projects and not completing them. Here are some forms of shiny object syndrome:
Inability to focus on one activity or goal for long periods
Consistently set new goals but never accomplish them thoroughly
Have a long list of ideas that never get executed
Several goals competing for our attention, and unable to focus on one or some of them
Consistently moving between projects rather than completing one
Feeling overwhelmed by multiple ideas, plans, and goals
What Can You Do to Be More Productive?
At the core of this issue is the syndrome of distraction. Continually being drawn to new ideas, tools, and goals, causes us to abandon tasks and goals. The more distracted we become the more likely tasks seem more challenging. We also tend to spend a lot of time exploring new ideas and setting new goals, which doesn’t leave much room for completing current plans. We then become frustrated and overwhelmed because of spending so much time learning the basics of new skills or tools, rather than mastering a skill we miss out on wonderful business and life opportunities.
A Jack of all trade, master of none.
Identify specific milestones, commit to them, and finish it.
Set Clear and Realistic Goals
Goals provide a clear picture of the future and how to achieve it. However, to boost productivity and achieve success we must commit to pursuing one goal rather than many different goals. Also, to increase motivation and boost confidence, focus on short-term milestones rather than on big, long-term goals. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of writing to-do lists rather than setting intentional goals.
Set an Intention
Intention setting is a practice long-known in meditation. However, intention setting has much broader use in our everyday lives. Almost everything that happens to us starts with an intention. We set intentions to stay focused on our achievements, needs, and plans. When we decide to change our job, move to another city, try a new recipe, or go out with a friend, it all starts with intention.
Daily intention setting helps us reach our goals and avoid the trap of shiny object syndrome. Some of the most effective ways to include intentional goal-setting into our daily routine involve mindfulness meditation and conditional thinking.
Mindfulness exercise can help open and calm the mind of thoughts that are distracting. This allows us to plant the seed of intention into our minds.
Conditional thinking, also known as “if-then” statements, has proven to be a helpful strategy when we have difficulties making changes in our thinking patterns and behavior or adjusting to changes in life. Conditional thinking helps set an intention, which makes the behavior automatic, so you don’t have to weigh choices. It can help reprogram the mind, overcome negative thinking patterns, avoid shiny object syndrome, and make shifts in our behavior.
If we learn to think in “if-then” statements, we're more likely to succeed because deciding exactly when or where we will act to achieve the goal (intention setting) creates a link in the brain between the If (situation) and Then (an outcome).
Shiny objects may look exciting and attractive, but often turn out to be distractions at the end of the day. Learning to differentiate between shiny objects and opportunities that add real value to your work and life will yield you in higher positive outcomes.
Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced the shiny object syndrome? If so, how do you wade the feeling off? What type of experience are you creating? Is it one that positively supports you and your growth? Or is it taking a toll on your performance to do more and achieve more?