The Shiny Object Trap

a shiny object

Just because something is an opportunity doesn’t mean you have to grab it.

Do you suffer from the Shiny Object Syndrome?

Yes, it actually has a name and you can even call it Objectivius Shinium Syndromus. It means a common malady shared by people who are attracted to all the new online business opportunities and move from one to the next whenever the next one comes along.

I don’t even have to tell you that this is a bad idea because obviously it is.

Yet, so many people repeatedly succomb to the temptation that the latest glittering opportunity offers.

Do you find yourself doing any of these kinds of things:

  • Buying the latest fitness DVD and then not finishing it and simply adding it to your neglected collection?
  • Learning about the trending new social media platform, joining it and then abandoning it pretty soon?
  • Joining yet another Facebook group that turns out to not be helpful to you?

Oh no! You are a Shiny Object Syndrome sufferer!

Of course there are times when the latest and greatest offering does fit your niche perfectly. That can be a good thing.

colorful strawsUsually, though, it is a complete waste of your time to grasp at each new straw.

It has become quite common knowledge that multitasking wrecks your productivity.

Grabbing each new straw is, of course, a form of multitasking but it is even worse. It doesn’t just help you lose seconds of your time. No, it accounts for the loss of hours – repeatedly.

I doubt that many entrepreneurs actually prefer to lose precious hours. Yet, the human mind tends to dabble in shiny objects – often.

How do you differentiate between shiny new objects and something I’ve just discovered that will actually help my business?

  1. Ask yourself if it is right for your business. Just because people are raving about the new gadget doesn’t mean that it will work well for you.
  2. Consider whether you have the time and energy it will require to make it successful.
  3. Decide what you would need to stop doing in order to be able to give this the time it would require to implement.

woman wondering about the newest shiny objectIf you say yes to the first and second points above, then you need to think about the third one carefully.

If you were going to drop something you currently use anyway and feel that the new tactic is an excellent replacement for it, then maybe it is worth doing.

If you are simply adding another strategy that will use up your precious time, I would definitely advise against it.

I am currently offering a program on simplifying your business. As you might guess, I’m not in favor of adding new, time grabbing activities to what you currently have on your busy agenda.

Instead, I suggest a process which helps you eliminate strategies that haven’t been producing results for you. Those that don’t bring you new clients who are perfect for your offerings and that you will enjoy working with.

You can check out my program here. It is affordable and doesn’t eat up large chunks of your time.

Do you tend to be seduced by the latest shiny objects? Tell us in the comments how you handle them.

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  1. Susan Malone says:

    Do I ever understand this, Beth! My affliction centered on self-help books. Lol. But seriously, there were years there that I bought, I’m pretty sure, all of them. Going from one to another.
    It finally dawned on me that just reading them wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be. I had to actually implement and practice the principles!
    I think that’s similar to what you’re saying here 🙂
    Love this!

    • Susan, I love that you took awhile to realize that implementing and practicing the principles in self-help books is critical to enjoying the benefits of the books.

  2. This is great, Beth. When I come across a plugin I want to check out, I add it to a page in OneNote called, “Plugins to research”. A right a brief description on what the plugin does and I include the link. By doing this, it keeps me from acting on it right away and let’s me stew over the idea and how it fits the big picture. Thanks for sharing this program. I will be checking it out soon.

    • I like your method, Sabrina. Keeping track of plugins that you are interested so that they are handy if you decide you need them – without forgetting where to find them – is smart.

  3. I was guilty, oh so guilty the first few years. I didnt really know enough to know what I needed. even stopped listening to every free webinar. I decided I am not interested in Periscope or Blab. I do have more than enough on my plate. It feels so freeing to pass things up.

  4. It’s so easy to get distracted by shiny objects. I know that when I am not completely focused it is incredibly easy to get caught up in Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s good to know that I am not alone in this problem.

  5. I generally am not at all seduced by Shiny Object syndrome offers. Because I work so much from my intuition, if something speaks very loudly to me, I will pursue finding out more about it. I find generally the online world is very noisy and very cluttered and because I value my time and my energy, I do not quickly dive into new things. Especially new platforms. I would probably enjoy Instagram or Pinterest and yet have stayed far away from them because I do not want to use my time spent there. My goals are to use the platforms I am on, to connect and build relationships with people who are interested in me and what I have to offer as far as writing and also in the health and wellness arena.

  6. It looks like I am not alone in having some experience with this! I eventually set this rule: if this does not help me with today’s or tomorrow’s goals, then I need to let it go. If it truly is something of value, I’ll be able to find it when I do need it

  7. I try to weigh the pros and cons before I buy. But, I sometimes fall for the bargain price by signing up early.

  8. Oh yes, been there and done that! Marketing can be very seductive and so can our resistance to what we should be doing now! 🙂 I do my best to be aware of this …and have felt the heavy weight of too much stuff and distractions around me – that has inspired me to have more ease with avoiding many ‘shiny objects’ ….most of the time. 🙂

    • HaHa, Teresa. I had to laugh at your last few words. We do tend to succomb some of the time. At least you know about the trap and usually close your eyes to the new lures.

  9. Sometimes people get hit with a marketing message that’s right up their alley. They had been been mulling over the best way to get and that marketing email arrives and they thing that today might be their lucky day. Unfortunately, these messages can muddy their mental waters and get them second guessing their priorities. Or maybe the priorities are already muddied, in which case they are primed to fall prey to Shiny Object Syndrome.

    Rachel recently wrote Include Your Business During Spring Cleaning

    • Rachel, That’s exactly what happens. The last thing we need is to get confused when we wonder what to do with the latest suggestions that seem to arrive every day.

  10. Sometimes yes, and probably I have tested some stuff during the last year, but most often it has been to learn more, and to understand how to move forward…even though I after a while realize I do not need to service anymore. Regarding apps or shiny marketing objects I really am not that easy convince. 🙂

  11. Kristen Wilson says:

    I actually don’t suffer from this issue, as described here.. but I do suffer from muliti-tasking, and getting the little stuff done first to get it off my list, KNOWING DERN well that more will replace it and I need to focus to get those big and MORE important tasks done first. Thanks!

    • Kristen, You’re one of the few I know who don’t suffer from this syndrome. Multi-tasking is another big trap and we have to fight it all the time. At least you know what you should be doing!

  12. Oh yes, oh yes, you have been looking over my shoulder and ffound a diagnosis for my syndrome. Lol. Its so hard not to get caught up and swept away with the latest item or idea that will help your business. They all sound so good and because you want to improve your blog or business so bad you’re willing to try anything. But that backfires for sure, because we all know that just anything isn’t going to work. I love your steps for considered and narrowing down your selections.

    • Hi Susan! I know how tempting all the choices are. It’s not just you! lol I’m glad you like my steps to use for deciding whether to jump on the bandwagon. They save time in the long run.

  13. Hi Beth 🙂
    I think that ANYONE who has been online for any length of time has definately had this lol I know I have more times than I can count!

    I love the questions that you need to ask yourself BEFORE you jump into that next shiny new object, as there are so many coming daily 🙂 Just helps you to make a much better decision as to whether something is good for you or not……(I found that MOST are just distractions)

    Thanks for sharing this awesome and very informative post!!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Joan. Yes, we all experience this and it is wise to consider whether the new ones would be beneficial to us personally before spending time setting them up.

  14. Beth – thanks for the post. I think one of the biggest problems for me is sorting the good from the bad – I’m undereducated about social media marketing, for example, so ANY new gimmick can seem like a shiny new object. Also, what works for one person may not work so well for someone else, so I hesitate to even take the advice of other people. I have found Facebook to be a great help … but Linked In, not so much. Other people may find just the opposite to be true!

    • You’re right, Joan. It’s different for everyone. I recommend using the ones that deliver results for you and ignoring the rest. However, even if LinkedIn isn’t your favorite, it’s good to maintain an up to date profile on it.

  15. I see people do this all the time when it comes to the latest technology. As you point out, there is a lot of time front-loading the latest and greatest. The learning curve alone is staggering, but when you add in the fact that you need to track to make sure that it’s working…well…you’re splitting up your already limited resources of time and energy (at the least).

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