Shiny object syndrome is defined (by me) as going from one website to the next and before you know it you haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile. I have suffered from this crippling disease and I bet you have too. It starts off so innocently. You get up ready to have a productive day working on your business. You open your email and then you see one of the many newsletters you subscribe to with a subject that is calling your name.
After all it pertains to your business and could help you in some way even if to just entertain you so you click that link.
Ahh yes, lovely post.
Then something else catches your eye.
You click that link and another and another.
Before you know it you have spent the entire day on the internet, social media, and email.
You have researched another day away. No new clients. No sales. Nothing. You haven’t written, created then scheduled your social media posts, built a connection, or anything.
You know your business. You know what it takes to do what you love and to spread sunshine everywhere but you are distracted. Yes, there is a ton of valuable information out there but if you have no business to apply it to then what is the use.
Beating Shiny Object Syndrome
You can do a few things to overcome this. First remember you need a few tools to help you because you are now waist deep in this habit. These three tools can most certainly help increase your productivity and beat shiny object syndrome once and for all.
If you like to reference posts or information online later then Pocket is for you. The interface is nice, the Android app is free (and iPhone), and it integrates well with Firefox. Pocket basically allows you to save websites for you to reference at a later date. The app is nice too because you can save things directly from other apps into Pocket. I saw a particular quote image on my phone that I liked so just to test it out I saved it to Pocket from inside of Facebook. It works nicely.
It syncs to your phone so it is more efficient then saving a bookmark. Plus, you don’t have to worry about reading everything right away. You can save them for when you have extra time like when you are at the DMV waiting your turn (or in my case waiting for my boys to take their nap). You can tag the posts as well so if you want to save all things about fancy unicorns you can check it out later just by searching the tags.
If you are a work at home mom, like me, then you know that time you have to spend on your business is precious and some days limited so you want to be sure you are spending your time efficiently. RescueTime will help you because it analyzes what you are doing on your computer each day. My day yesterday was about 60% productive which is pretty good although I could improve.
It classifies the programs (like Word, Photoshop, Outlook) and websites into five categories from very distracting to very productive but that is something you can modify. For instance, I’m working on a website design and RescueTime had it classified incorrectly so I changed it because it is actually work related. Looking at this data can really help you open your eyes then make improvements.
This one is by a game changer. As the name indicates, LeechBlock stops you from visiting websites that suck your time. I needed this for social media. I would start writing and the next thing you know I would be stuck and think ok, so I’ll check Facebook really quick. Then I put all of my social media links into a folder on my toolbar and I would open all of them at once and bounce around. I thought this was productive but at the end of the day I would have one paragraph finished.
LeechBlock stops me from aimlessly scrolling through social media with no purpose. Yes, I might offer a suggestion to someone asking a question but that was likely the extent of the value that was being offered. Now when I start working on some code or writing, the first thing I do is go to LeechBlock and lock it for a particular amount of time – usually 45 minutes. (If you use Google Chrome, I heard that Chrome Nanny offers the same features.)
All of these things have really helped me to focus on what is important to me instead of getting distracted by shiny object syndrome. Don’t let it ruin your business. Figure out what roadblocks are slowing you down and jump over those bad boys. By the way, all of these things are completely free so don’t give it a second thought.
I would love to hear about what is working for you. Let me know.