Shiny Object Syndrome- A Distraction or Perk for Entrepreneurs?

This column is authored by QuickCompany Associate Kapila Tanwar


Shiny Object Syndrome (S.O.S)! Unheard of concept?

It is everywhere and easily recognisable. You may see it in action or known by other names. Shiny Object Syndrome comes into existence when you have to grab the bull by the horns to take the ownership of what you want. Shiny Syndrome has its perks, but it can be detrimental at times.

What is Bright Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome is the new “It” which can be anything that distracts you from your task. S.O.S is something which leads you to question your own method or task or more. The syndrome can be applied to the jobs or businesses or other facets.

The syndrome has the tendency to distract someone from new thoughts or idea and never focus on one thing.

Shiny Object Syndrome effect on entrepreneurs

Shiny Object Syndrome is the biggest problem most business owners and entrepreneurs facing today. As per the trend, small business owners are getting distracted by too many ideas.

The term ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ refers to the business owners that cannot be completely focused on one thing, something shiny floats by catches the attention. You are off to the next thing, completely distracted from what you were doing initially. The loss of focus costs mental drain and financial drain as well.

Every entrepreneur is trying to see opportunity at every turn. Too many ideas having in mind is eternal which tricks your mind and niggle a voice in your head as in “What if I try this new product or a new technique or new gadget? May be it will help to achieve faster or make more money.”

In effect, the owner is in such a state of constant distraction which lost them in their imagination and dreams instead of seeing the real picture and getting the things done.

Symptoms of Shiny Object Syndrome

How do you know that you are S.O.S sufferer?

Are you easily distracted by the shiny new ideas or thoughts? Are you switch to the new ideas frequently just to get the new work?

You start the thing but never finish them, if that’s you, you are definitely suffering from the Shiny Object Syndrome.

Lack of ideas is not the reason to hold the business owner back from accomplishing the goals or dreams, in fact having too many ideas becomes the reason for failure. It’s not possible to complete everything we set out to do but not completing anything and moving on the next thing may cause S.O.S.

Overwhelm- When you are always willing to take new task even if you already have a heavy workload. It’s like you have something on your plate and keep adding more.

Frustration- Frustration makes you feel like that you can’t keep up with those around you.

FOMO- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is rarely a good thing. You want to have ‘it’ because everyone has ‘it’. Do something when you actually want to have ‘it’ not because everyone else is.

Incomplete Task- SOS results in entrepreneur being left with the incomplete tasks and switch to next project without completing the previous one.

Wasted Resources- A founder with many ideas, tends to take the time to reach at a point which results in loss of time, money or combination of resources. Because a person with too many ideas cannot resist doing anything to chase a new shiny project.

Slow Decision Making- SOS lowered the ability to make quick and decisive decisions because too many options create the anxiety at making a sub-optimal decision.

Procrastination- Prolonging the task just because they do not seem appealing or intimidated by certain tasks which may develop a habit of procrastination. It will doom your overall success.

Shiny Object Syndrome – Good vs. Bad

There is no need to avoid the S.O.S as all things done in life in moderation can be fine. You can utilise the aspects to some extent but not entirely because certain things may work for you.

By examining the shiny object which distracts you, you may find something new or may find a streamlined process. Harnessing the Shiny Object Syndrome can have a positive influence on your career.

The entrepreneurs may experience some drawbacks when S.O.S becomes rampant. If you are over excited about your new project that may lead you to switch the project before completing your first one.

S.O.S tend to focus on the novelty rather than the strategy which leads to underdeveloped executions and unrealised potential.

How to Prevent Shiny Object Syndrome

There is nothing particularly good or bad to have S.O.S. How to keep levels of daily satisfaction, despite having Shiny Object Syndrome?

How to prevent yourself from succumbing to shiny object syndrome?

It’s all about how you approach things because it’s hard to avoid what everyone is talking about. All you can do is knowing the signs of S.O.S which will help you not to fall victim.

Maintain core focus- By setting your focus for yourself, help you to avoid getting distracted by shiny objects or tasks.

Create a vision- Why do you want to business? What is the purpose? If you have a vision, you will be able to keep the shiny syndrome at bay. Keep the S.O.S if it will help you to be in line with the task otherwise walk away from it.

Pros and Cons- Get attracted by the shiny syndrome! Evaluate the shiny object from all angles. Mark down every possible pros and cons. Will you be able to utilise it properly which can yield the same result?

Remove the clutter- Stop avoiding the things which are important by removing the clutter. We are doing the things which are unimportant even when it seems important and avoiding the important things because it’s less painful to do nothing.

Kill the unusable ideas- Someone who is sceptical and good at finding the potential downfalls in new ideas, will help you by poking holes in your new ideas and look for the weaknesses.

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