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How to Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome

Social media can be a powerful way to optimize our time, leverage our storytelling, and be in many places at once.

But the flipside is that we’re always reminded of things, ideas, and people that we need to try-out, test, or meet.

This week’s set up:

🆘 Problem: You’re easily distracted by new ideas and get stuck down rabbit-holes

💡 Solution: Create a capture system to record good ideas

🗺 Next play: Grow a vetting framework for routine revision to save time and include your team

⚔️ THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

We’re able to learn so much from the internet and social media: trends to jump on, templates to try, courses to attend.

But we can get so over-inundated from volume that we end up doing nothing. We just keep scrolling and never get to our own creative approach. Or we bounce from idea to idea in rapid-fire succession.

This is what I call ✨ Shiny Object Syndrome. ✨

So what can we do to cultivate good habits so that we don't fall into Shiny Object Syndrome? How can we celebrate good ideas without needing to try each one and jumping on them right away?

“Wait, Joel.” You say.

“Some ideas you HAVE to jump on immediately to get the benefits of being an early adopter or first to market.”

You’re right.

And if you’re currently looking for a new idea, then yes, when you find a good one, jump on it.

What I’m talking about is the dangers of jumping from idea to idea at the cost of wrapping up projects or your current job:

Overstretching leads to nothing. Pick one thing and stick with it.

With most ideas, the results come from seeing the vision through to the end.

This is similar to what we were talking about a few weeks ago: the unsexy growth hack of long term creating is 90% handwork and consistency BTS.

When people ask you about your career and what your start-up is, the topics are becoming so big with so much activity. What we’ve found is that the more we niche down on a topic, the better guardrails we can set for what we focus on.

When I was starting out in marketing, I wanted to learn everything about social media and content. But I quickly realized the value of niching down and putting in the sweat to become the best I can be in my area of expertise.

I don’t help people with TikTok, Google ads, or Facebook ads. I help founders and CEOs learn to scale their voice on LinkedIn.

When we follow ideas, we have to make sure that they align with our niche.

“Because as soon as you’re everything to everyone, you accomplish being nothing to anyone.” - Bonnie Gillespie

PROTECT YOURSELF

We can only be so many things to our audience. The sooner we can niche down and get specific about our topic it protects us from following Shiny Object Syndrome.

  1. Create a notes & idea-capture system.

Keep a tally of good ideas/build creativity muscle of sourcing where good ideas are, how to act on them, and why you think you’re positioned to excel. Have a Notion or Google doc list that’s titled, “ideas for July.”

Good to be on top of news, but detrimental if you’re following every news trail 5 hyperlinks deep, with 10 tabs open. Next thing you know it’s 12am and you’ve wasted a day.

That’s what we want to avoid.

Keep an open mind, but have a list of items you want to tackle this week or this month, and then spend time on the top 5-10% that are actually relevant to your day.

Create a capture system to cultivate good ideas and celebrate them, but also put them on the back burner if they’re not timely.

You can also leverage team meetings to vet your list.

Refine your eye for good ideas.

  1. Build a filter for ideas that you might want to use or reference in the future.

When I see something creative, I take a screenshot or email myself the link. This puts it in a backburner spot so I can pick it up later, instead of wasting an hour trying to consume everything the creator has done.

Taking Kye Hy’s approach to $10 versus $10k thinking and how it affects our decisions, ask yourself, “Does pursuing this idea (remembering everything else I have to do) align with a $10 dream/decision or $10k?"

This illustration from Kye's article really puts things in perspective:

Choose the $10k ideas.

  1. Understand that you have to pick one thing and run with it.

Picture yourself: Your money’s all saved up; you want to build your dream house.

You and your family have a plot of land picked out, you have a contractor, you have materials, and you’re starting to build the foundation.

A couple workers showed up.

This month the focus is on the foundation.

The next day you’re talking with your family, and you’re like “I actually just found another great plot of land that I want to start bundling on.”

And you call your contractor and transfer the project to the other plot of land.

Then one week later, you’re driving across the city and you find another great piece of land, a little closer to the ocean, with a better quote. So you cancel the second project, and you’re on to the third.

Within a month, you’re starting on your third dream house. Your family is tired. The contractors don’t want to work with you. You’re distracted from your own work.

When we don’t have our Shiny Object Syndrome in check, it can be detrimental—to the tune of shaking up our entire world, ruining relationships, and wasting our money.

If you switch from dream home to dream home, you never get to building anything meaningful or of strong structure that can house and protect your family and guests.

In the same way, Shiny Object Syndrome becomes dangerous when it takes us away from completing what we actually need to get done.

We need to get better at building convictions, understanding, and passion-alignment against the top shiny object.

Choose and commit to what shiny object you’re going to stick with for 2 years, and then stay the course even when new ideas come up.

Understand the choosing stage. If you’re already building a team (or half-way through on a house), it’s not the time to switch. But if you’re just starting on the plans and putting in offers on different properties, you could still have the opportunity to change your mind. Be opportunistic.

Get experience building single family homes before you get a contract for a neighbourhood.

What’s the one thing you can hone in on and be the best at? Then public test and validate your one-liner of what would serve your target customer audience.

Understand that through the content you put out and the relationship you create with your community, you always want to relate them back to that purpose.

So many people see shiny objects like Dogecoin, AI, newsletter writing, ecommerce, or public speaking, and they just get so distracted. Don’t be like them.

📲 ACTION BYTES

  1. What’s one system or note-taking platform can you use to filter your Shiny Object Syndrome? Call it what you want, like an ideas log, etc. Put in a couple things a day when you find yourself getting distracted.

  2. Create a revision system once a week or a few times a month to go through your list and filter the good ideas. See what aligns with your top couple priorities, and allow yourself to delve into those things.

  3. How can you invite your team into this and celebrate new ideas responsibly?
    Remember that you can build on ideas sustainably and create a stream of success you’re proud of.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end. If you have any ideas that sparked, drop me a note below.

Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

✌🏻 Joel

  1. 2

    Love this! I use NotePlan 3 to capture and organize all of my "shiny object" ideas. You're absolutely spot on about having a space to make a note so that you can return to the job at hand.

    The trick is to maintain a structure, but not make it so rigid that you can't attack new frontiers.

    1. 1

      Glad to hear you liked the write up!

      I'm in between notion, google docs and emailing myself reminders haha.

      1. 1

        Better yet, "Siri, remind me to go check out Poparazzi app..." LOL

  2. 1

    Man shiny object syndrome is the worst. I can't get things done, and the brain doesn't know whats actually productive or not! Thanks for this!

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