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Shiny Object Syndrome: Tips to Avoid & Overcome

Isaac Dumet, July 2, 2021
shiny object syndrome: tips to avoid & overcome

Are you constantly having to justify the purchase of new and trendy products or services? Do you feel like you’re always jumping on the latest business trend? If so, then you might be dealing with a case of the shiny object syndrome.

Check out this article to understand what this syndrome is, how it impacts your business, and what you can do to overcome it.

What Is the Shiny Object Syndrome & What Is the Impact?

In a nutshell, shiny object syndrome is when someone focuses all their attention on something new and current. Usually, this is at the expense of whatever they have or currently doing.

In a business setting, shiny object syndrome takes the form of chasing the latest strategy, tactic or advice making the rounds within the industry.

There are pros and cons to jumping on board with what’s new. With shiny object syndrome, the cons typically outweigh the pros. Here are some of the most likely consequences:

Frustration with your goals, progress, and revenue 

Any plan: business, marketing, advertising, or otherwise, needs set goals to be achievable. What happens when you’re suffering from shiny object syndrome, is that goal posts start moving.

What is likely to happen, is that your team or business will start missing deliverable deadlines. Too much time will be spent re-planning rather than testing and doing.

As someone responsible for a team or business, your aim is to facilitate the team’s success or grow a business. Always chasing the latest trends rather than focusing on current processes risks those goals. 

Poor idea and directives planning

One of the worst aspects of having shiny object syndrome and planning is that plans never last long enough to properly test. 

Even if something works in the new plan you can’t really say why that is. There simply won’t be enough data to model from if you’re switching things up week-to-week.

Wasting time

Constantly adopting new products is a heavy time investment for several reasons. Learning how to use it, integrate it, and becoming proficient are not a quick process.  What’s worse, the process will likely repeat once something newer gets released.

Ultimately, it is your business that suffers. You end up making little to no progress. In fact, you may end up undoing all the progress you had made initially.

Stressing out your team

A team with a set goal and a set way of doing things is an efficient one. There is a reason why the assembly line was so revolutionary and is still being used to this day.

Always chasing the new shiny thing forces your team to constantly be learning something new. Learning new things isn’t bad in itself, but it is detrimental to productivity if you’re always altering their workflow. All this does is harm your team’s productivity.

By chasing something new and trendy, you may put your entire team, their work efficiency, and their mental health in jeopardy.

6 Tips to Overcome the Shiny Object Syndrome

Overcoming shiny object syndrome takes some work, but there are some ways you can speed up the process. 

1. Understand yourself and the way you work

This takes a combination of initiation, patience, and commitment. As an entrepreneur or team lead, this is your biggest strength. You should learn to hone it, and by doing so, you will take control of your personal and business decisions.

2. Assess the potential of the next shiny thing

While we are advocating not picking up the next shiny thing that comes your way, the truth is, sometimes its potential impact outweighs the cost. People are constantly inventing, new products are continually being introduced into the market, and some of them could be what you or your business need to get to the next level.

However, you should assess the potential impact of the tool/service on your workload or business. And be objective about it. Doing so will help you identify whether the product or service will be helpful to you or your business and improve decision-making.

We also recommend unsubscribing from all unnecessary mailing lists. Most popular email clients make it easy to sort through and manage promotional emails. Thus out of sight, out of mind approach will keep you from getting sidelined from your goals.

3. Set better goals

Sometimes, the issue isn’t the people around you or the systems you currently have. Instead, the problem is the business goals in place. If the objectives or KPIs are unclear, you’re likely to feel like what you’re doing isn’t effective.

Set SMART goals. They will keep you grounded and will force you to work with what you have to achieve the goal that you want. Sometimes all it takes is just drawing up a detailed business proposal. Having it on paper will make your goals clear and will keep you grounded.

Most importantly, you need to prioritize these goals. Use the tools that allow you and your team to see how the different goals are inter-connected and learn how they can be prioritized as time progresses. This way of doing things will make the ultimate goal clear, allowing you to avoid distractions that arise along the way.

4. Limit the number of projects running at a time

As a creative, leader or entrepreneur, you are your own biggest asset. With all the talk about mental health and wellness, it is only fitting to emphasize that being in the right mental space is integral to your business’ success.

By limiting the number of projects running at a time, you are more likely to stay on track. Using the right project management tool will help with this as it consolidates relevant information into a single interface.

5. Make a checklist of successful projects

It is easy to get lost in your work, to get carried away by one project after another, and to forget the achievements you’ve made so far. Take time out of your day to review the projects you have and the project stages that they went through. This will help put things into perspective and show you just how much you have achieved with your tools. It will show you why you don’t necessarily need the new shiny product that just got released. 

Make a list of your most successful email campaigns, webinars and social media campaigns. Keeping your successes in mind will not only make you think of the successes, but also uplift your morale. 

6. Reduce time spent on social media

Research shows that the average person spends at least two hours on social media daily. During that time, you’re likely to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads. Taking time away from social media means that you won’t get exposed to all these ads, prompting you to purchase that new product or service. You will maintain a clear head and focus your energy on what you know is essential.

Shiny Object Syndrome: In Conclusion…

Shiny object syndrome is a productivity killer. Always chasing the latest trend will leave you distracted and overwhelmed. Think of how much you could achieve if you focused all your energy and resources on what was beneficial to you?

Take control of your life today. If you’re feeling distracted and overwhelmed right now, use these tips to help you get more focused and productive. 

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Isaac Dumet

Isaac is a content marketer with Mailbird, with experience working with global teams and business development. When he’s not writing about tech, productivity or marketing, he’s busy enjoying a good sci-fi book.