The Shiny Object Syndrome: How to Stay Focused and Not Get Distracted

Do you get distracted from what you are doing by some new ideas, tools, or an attractive goal? Well, that’s what’s known as the shiny object syndrome. It appears the same as a child getting attracted to a new toy or a shiny thing as every kid gets fascinated by things never seen before. However, they rapidly lose their interest when the item’s shine or appeal is lost and then attracted to another shiny object.

You might be wondering if you have experienced this syndrome. It’s a yes if you get multiple business ideas with none executed or start new things that remain incomplete. Other examples could be getting attracted to new courses but not executing the learnings or having a range of tools or plugins that you never use. Let’s understand more about the shiny object syndrome psychology and how to stay focused without getting distracted.

The Issue with the Shiny Object Syndrome

Distraction is the biggest problem with every shiny object around and with the syndrome as well. Other problems include continuous attraction to new tools and ideas while losing focus on essential tasks. And this continuous distraction comes with many more problems like:

  • Never getting to the completion of tasks that you started because of figuring out new things always, instead of finishing the ones in hand.
  • Spending a lot of time on the latest tools and new ideas instead of working on strengthening the fundamentals.
  • Trying multiple skills but mastering none. This is because of not investing enough time to become better at one thing. There are various levels of mastery from beginner to intermediate, then expert and veteran. Since you spend most of your time learning new skills, you always stay a beginner. Though today’s work environment needs you to be skilled in multiple areas for an edge over others, you should master at least one.
  • Not becoming a market leader despite trying hard because of not gaining skillset required for the position. And since, most of the people know only top leaders of their respective industry, those top guns frequently enjoy a big lead in market share than to everyone else. The reason is again the same, always chasing the latest things in the market like a new tool, skill, or anything else. Hence, it causes you to miss the gains of the market leader.

Signs You May Have Shiny Object Syndrome

There are various signs that you can watch out for to know if you are suffering. Here are some symptoms of the shiny object syndrome symptoms:

  • You are not able to focus on a single project or idea at a time.
  • You always end up saying yes to every opportunity.
  • You are continually putting efforts into creating new websites and domain names or purchasing the latest courses that you never finish.
  • You quickly get excited regarding new ideas or goals. But you get all through them, as you stay busy jumping between goals.

These all are common happenings among most of the entrepreneurs who try to do everything at once, the possibilities for which are negligible. And, you should work on overcoming these types of struggles.

How to Stay Focused and Not Get Distracted?

If you desire to understand how to overcome shiny object syndrome and focus on your priorities and certain goals first, consider the following tips.

Restrict Your Goals

Limiting goals is the best method to avoid any shiny object syndrome. This works well because having many goals means the need to divide your focus in several directions. And, you run yourself to the risk of overworking and burning out. Here, you need to spare time to evaluate what you desire to accomplish and what deadlines for them should be. Thus, with 2 to 3 goals in mind rather than 10, you can put in a better focus and achieve desired results. After completing those, you can move on to the next ones on the list, taking either one by one or a couple of them at once as per your skills and capabilities.

Give it Deep Thought

Avoid reacting quickly to any shiny object or idea you get attracted to. Falling for something very soon might make you realize later that though it appeared glittery, it wasn’t gold. For instance, let’s say you start working on 2 website projects without thoroughly researching the idea or giving a deep thought over the decision. And later, you realize that you took up more responsibilities than you could handle and had fallen for that syndrome. Thus, it is always advised to move forward slowly before making hasty decisions, thinking how a specific idea will affect your business, time, and whether it will align with your goals.

Reward Yourself for Completing a Project

Resisting distractions is a sure way to avoid shiny object syndrome. It’s generally an extreme distraction wherein you feel like you must take hasty and big decisions. However, to get the results you wish, you have to stay dedicated to a decided path. One simple method to avoid these types of distractions is rewarding yourself for completing a project. For instance, you wish to go on a vacation and have a big project in your office to complete on priority. Tell yourself to be ready for that holiday treat after you complete the project.

And, your rewards may not always be as big as a vacation. All you need to do is select something that inspires you to stay focused. Besides, when you achieve your goal or complete the task, rewarding yourself for that will make you feel like you deserve it and more dedicated to the next project.

Stay Away From Social Media

Today, almost everyone faces this problem. When attempting to stay focused on something, social media comes in as a big distraction. Though that’s not always bad as you might watch things on social media and obtain some idea or find inspiration, taking breaks from your social media world will help achieve clarity, particularly in business and personal goals. Remember, you won’t be able to focus on your tasks as long as you keep watching what other people are doing.

Get Accountability

Another solution for how to cure shiny object syndrome is accountability. It can be difficult for you to avoid the syndrome on your own. Thus, consider adding a few responsibilities that help you stay focused on certain things. You can opt for an accountability partner or a mastermind group to share your ideas or goals and regular progress. With this, whenever you move out of the decided track and start building those shiny object syndrome relationships, these people can help bring you back to your ultimate focus and goal.

In short, differentiating a real legitimate opportunity from a shiny object will help you stay focused on an important task. You might find it difficult at the start, but with training and regular practice, you will eventually stick to what matters instead of jumping between tasks. Besides, you also have to be careful about how and from whom to gain influences. And, in case you have already fallen for the shiny object syndrome, these tips can help you to part ways with it and stay focused without getting distracted.

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