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Problem Staying Focused? Perhaps You Have Shiny Object Syndrome.

Diagnose yourself and learn how to overcome it so you can achieve your business goals.

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As a business owner, one of the most important steps you are going to face is securing an executable idea. However, between having a business idea and effectively executing it, there are a myriad of possible challenges you’ll face. One of such challenges is called the “Shiny Object Syndrome,” and it is so powerful that it can have negative effects on your business.

What is Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny object syndrome is a term used to describe situations whereby business owners are unable to focus on a particular strategy or goal – and even when they do, they fail to stick to it. Although the shiny object syndrome is not a “real disease” that can be clinically diagnosed, it is a serious condition that affects many business owners and entrepreneurs. It prevents business owners and management teams from achieving their business goals, as it causes them to move from an unfinished project/goal to an entirely new one.

Thus, the shiny object syndrome can cause businesses to be stuck with several half-finished projects, which can affect their overall success. The attractive “shiny object” that causes the distraction can manifest in several forms. It could be a new advertising strategy that disrupts marketing plans that are already in motion, or totally abandoning a business plan midway because of a new business idea. 

What are the Symptoms of Shiny Object Syndrome?

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Shiny object syndrome is often very difficult to diagnose because it generally starts out as seeking out better ways to do things or wanting to multitask. However, there are typical symptoms of this syndrome that can let you know you suffer from it, some of which are highlighted below.

Having Several Unfinished Projects

This is one of the first symptoms of shiny object syndrome. If you carry out a quick assessment and discover you have several unfinished projects that you abandoned halfway, you may be suffering from the syndrome.

Constantly Changing Business Strategies

Another symptom of shiny object syndrome is the urge to always introduce newer platforms, hacks, and tricks to optimize business operations. When newer tools and workflows are constantly introduced, it can slow your business down.

Inability to Remain Focused

Neglecting important business activities because you are distracted by “shiny objects” in the form of a new design or method that supposedly works better, for instance, is yet another symptom of shiny object syndrome. 

How to Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

Do you find yourself starting new projects but never completing them because you got distracted along the way by more interesting ideas? Or, you lose interest in a project before bringing it to fruition and start chasing another one? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are suffering from shiny object syndrome and without taking steps to avoid it; you are at risk of destroying your business. The following are practical steps you can take to conquer this syndrome and keep you grounded in your business’s core mission.

  • Before you act on any new ideas or projects, take a moment to sit on it. Also, carry out extensive research on the idea or project to determine if it is in the best interest of your business.
  • Strengthen your focus by having an organized work environment and schedule. When your work environment is well-structured, you are better able to focus on the task at hand and avoid getting attracted to a shiny object.
  • Communicate new business ideas or projects with your team members before you fully launch them. Doing so will open the idea or project to useful critique and weaknesses you may have otherwise been unaware of.

Shiny object syndrome may be mistaken as multi-tasking – which can be equally damaging to your business, but it isn’t. While both entails not focusing on a single task; with the former, you will tend to abandon ideas or projects midway to chase other shiny things. Therefore, the moment you recognize any of such tendencies, it is important to start correcting them by following the tips above, in order to save your business. 

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