4 Smart Strategies to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome as a Solopreneur

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Have you ever been grabbed by a new idea or seemingly irresistible opportunity, that before you’ve properly questioned whether it’s aligned with your overall vision, you’ve gone off down the path of making it happen?

As a multi-passionate and creative person who’s never short of an idea, I’ve often found myself distracted by new technology and new ways of doing things that appear fresh and super exciting. I’m also an avid learner and get a burst of energy when something new grabs my attention.

Can you relate to this!?

Thing is, I’ve come to recognize when I find myself in these situations and it’s a major warning sign when I’ve begun venturing down a path leading me well-off track from my vision and ultimately preventing me from achieving my big goals.

Have you ever found yourself in this kind of situation too?

This is what is known as Shiny Object Syndrome, which according to Jason Meyers, CEO and founder of Audience Bloom, is a ‘disease of distraction’.

Meyers suggests that entrepreneurs are very susceptible to this ‘disease’ because of our tendency to be highly motivated; unafraid of taking risks; and always craving new technologies and ways of doing things.

While it makes complete sense, it’s important to recognize when you find yourself heading down this path, so you can course correct and get back on track to reaching your goals.

In theory, making new discoveries and having bursts inspiration may seem innocent enough; but there are various ways Shiny Object Syndrome can manifest and negatively impact your business:

Unfinished projects.

This is probably the most obvious and also the easiest to recognize. Do you find yourself abandoning projects mid-way and then by the end of the month or year look back and see a trail of unfinished projects you had committed to?

Overspending.

This one can have a serious sting if you don’t pay close attention to your finances and regularly track expenditures to see where your money is being spent.

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Lack of focus.

Lack of focus can be detrimental to your business. Not only does it mean your time and energy is being misdirected, this can manifest in an inconsistency of showing up for your audience, as well as confusion around your brand messaging and service offering.

When there’s a perceived confusion around your brand and how you help your clients it can negatively impact your bottom line - a confused mind never buys!

At its core, Shiny Object Syndrome is a form of self-sabotage. And like any form of self-sabotage the first key to overcoming its grip is becoming aware of it and your tendency to succumb to this kind of distraction. 

Here are 4 smart strategies to overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome so you can stay focused and on track for reaching your big goals:

  1. Know where you’re headed.

Lack of clarity on the direction you’re headed is a likely sign you’ll be susceptible to distractions that come across your path.

The key here is to get crystal clear on what it is you want and your ultimate vision.

This doesn’t mean you need to have a five year plan all figured out down to the last month, but it does mean you need to have a clear sense of what you’re trying to achieve and a way you can measure whether or not you’ve been successful.

When you’re trying to get this clarity here are a couple of tools that can help:

Do a brain dump.

A brain dump is literally a dump of all the ideas whirling around in your mind. Often when you have so many ideas it can feel overwhelming until you get them out of your head and down onto paper.

You can do this either by getting a large piece of paper and emptying all of your ideas down; or starting a new Google Doc or Evernote to record everything.

I personally love Evernote and have a dedicated notebook for ideas which I use to dump all of my various ideas as they come to me, but work out the way that suits you the best.

Create a mind map.

Mind maps are a creative way to analyze and structure your ideas in visual format to help give you clarity and problem solve how you can compress your big ideas.

From your mind map you can then begin to synthesize the ideas that come out of it and start to formulate your plan around the major themes and topics that come out of it.

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2. Play to your strengths and know your zone of genius.

Knowing and understanding your strengths and zone of genius is key to not letting yourself getting side-tracked by Shiny Object Syndrome!

When you know your zone of genius, you can quickly use this as a way to identify whether that new idea or burst of inspiration is something that will either help you stay on your path or in fact hinder you and veer you off track.


Pssst… Enter your details below and grab the free workbook to discover your zone of genius!


3. Create a 90 day roadmap with actionable and measurable goals.

I’m a huge fan of 90 day plans because they’re a decent enough period for you to set some big goals and complete within this timeframe. They’re also short enough lengths of time to avoid losing interest and becoming disengaged with the goals you set for yourself - which can often happen when setting yearly or six month goals.

 This length of time is perfect if you’re the kind of person who gets jazzed and loves the excitement of starting new projects {like me!} because, let’s be real: 90 days can go by quite quickly.

How to do it:

After you’ve done your brain dump and mind map, then it’s time to start planning out which projects you'd like to focus on over the next 90 days.

  • Pick out the top 3 you’re most energized by and write these on a post-it note, using a different colored post it note for each of your three goals.

  • Then for each goal, start plotting all the tasks that you’d need to do in order to complete the project. All of the tasks that fall under your big goals should be in the same color as the overarching goal.

  • Grab your calendar and then start scheduling your time accordingly over the next 90 days, assigning each of the tasks to the week it will be completed in.

4. Build in time for experimentation.

These strategies provide an excellent framework to stay focused on what’s most important and allow you to prioritize your time accordingly. But when you’re a creatively inclined person it’s also important to build time in for experimentation, so you can not only stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your niche, as well as satisfy your curiosity.

Once you’ve scheduled in time to work on you priority goals, leave some wriggle room in to allow you some freedom to experiment - just don’t allow yourself to go down any rabbit holes!

Tell me, have you experienced shiny object syndrome? Which of these strategies will help you the most to stay on track?