What is Shiny Object Syndrome?
When you first started blogging, you probably didn’t really have a business plan – you might not have even thought about it as a way to make money.
And as you started learning more about it, various things started reaching out and tugging at your attention. Themes! Plug-ins! Email marketing! Logos! Stock photos! There were so many different things… and so many things you could BUY.
And it’s not just the “things” – there’s a lot to learn too, about things like email marketing, affiliate marketing, SEO, niches…. And there are a million different people out there selling programs and courses to help you learn them.
There’s so much cool stuff out there! It’s a little bit like being a kid in a candy store with a $10 bill – there’s so many possibilities, you can’t pick just one. So you buy this, and then that, and then maybe the other, too.
You get all this cool stuff and you open them all up and take the first couple of steps – and then you see something else cool to buy. You forget all about the stuff you’ve got, because this new thing looks WAY more fun, so you buy it. And go through the same thing, over and over.
This is known as shiny new object syndrome. It means getting so intrigued and distracted by a new idea or product that it takes the place of the thing you’ve currently been working on.
Maybe you loved the way it was presented, or maybe you fell a little in love with the person who was selling it (marketers can be very charismatic!). Maybe you got sucked in by promises of more money with less work. For whatever reason, you had to have it, so you got it.
But see, what happens is this: You start out super excited and expecting RESULTS. Whatever you’re doing seems like fun, because it’s all new. But then a couple of weeks down the road, you start getting a little bored with it. And your eye starts to wander…
And that’s when you find the next bright, shiny object.
The problem is, every time you see one of these bright, shiny things, you think “This is what I’m missing! If I just have THIS, everything will fall into place, and I’ll start getting so much traffic and making so much money and everything will be AWESOME!!”
Strangely enough, it never seems to work out that way.
See, you’re never going to succeed if you keep buying product after product without actually putting in the work on them. How many shiny objects have you bought in the last month? 6 months? Year? How many of them are you still working on or using? Did you give any of them a truly fair shake before you moved on to the next one?
See, there’s this dirty little secret about blogging – just about any method of blogging will work, IF YOUR WORK IT. And this is the problem.
The sales pages make all these things look so awesome, so simple, so foolproof – so EASY. And you buy it, thinking that it’s going to really turn everything around – but it doesn’t, because it’s missing one thing. It doesn’t have you working at it and giving it a chance to work.
How to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome
So the first step to curing yourself from shiny object syndrome is to take a good look at what you’re working on, and at all the other things you’ve bought. Take a look at each course, each tool, and figure out why you bought it.
Is there some sort of task that all of them promised to make easier? It might mean that you really hate doing that task – maybe it’s something you should considering hiring a VA to do for you. Hate doing keyword research? Hire a VA to do it for you or purchase a list of keywords!
The second step is to really look at yourself – have you been giving these methods the time they need to work? There is more than one way to grow blog traffic – you might focus on social media marketing, SEO, email marketing, building a tribe or some combination of those.
However you decide to do it, you need to create an actual plan of action, steps that you take each day to move things forward. For example, I use Pinterest as one of my main sources of traffic. So I have invested in both BoardBooster and TailWind pin schedulers (they work different, I use them for different things) and I regularly work to create new pins for my most popular posts.
And I don’t expect a single pin to suddenly bring a ton of traffic and sales. I know that it is CONSISTENT DAILY ACTION that is going to help me continue building quality, targeted traffic that creates an income.
So once you’ve decided on the method that you’re going to use (which may be one of those shiny things you bought, or a combination of a few of them!), here are a few ways to help you stay focused on it.
Your goals need to be specific and measurable. For instance, one of my goals is to create 5 new pins to post each week. I have a goal to reach a specific amount of Pinterest referrals to my blog each week, and I have specific tasks that I take to make it happen.
“Make more money” is not a goal. Break it down – how are you going to make more money? How much is “more”? What actions do you need to take? Be specific and measurable. You need to know what you’re going to do to get there, and you need to have a way to know when you arrive.
Make A Schedule
Once you know what your goals are and what you need to do to reach them, you can start planning your day. You can go fancy with Google Calendar or some other software, or you can go simple with a spiral notebook.
I use a DayPlanner (like this one) to write down what I need to do each day. It makes it easy for me to keep track and I get addicted to marking things off as they’re finished.
Use a Timer
This is the number one thing that helps me stay focused on what I’m doing. (Staying focused on tasks means you aren’t on Facebook or Google, getting seduced by new shiny things!) I set a timer for 45 minutes, then I work until the timer goes off. Then, I take a 15 minute break. If I get something in my mind that distracts me, I write it down quickly on my to-do list, then I get back to what I’m working on.
Having that timer does two things for me. First, it gives me a sense of urgency. I want to get done with as much as I can before the timer goes off! Second, knowing I have that 15 minute break coming up makes me less likely to take random breaks. 15 minutes is also plenty of time to get up and walk around or fix a snack, go to the bathroom or even do something like sweep the living room. (I like alternating physical work with my mental work!)
And yes, I set a 15 minute timer for my break, too!
Yes, I understand that you can’t actually get rid of your kids! But what I mean here are distractions like email and Facebook. Like I said, this is a lot easier if you use the 45/15 timer method, since you have a planned time to do those things. But you should turn off your phone notifications and other things that distract you when at all possible.
Facebook is my biggest distraction – it’s like falling into a well, and I disappear. So I installed the Chrome extension “Newsfeed Eradicator” and no more problems. Even if I need to go on Facebook to work, it’s not an issue because my whole news feed just disappears! If you don’t see what people are posting, you don’t get sucked in.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to reward yourself. Promise yourself a nice treat – a new dress or a special night out. Whatever makes you feel good! Of course – reaching a goal is almost a reward to itself!
One other thing –
What if you’ve really been working on something hard for a while? Say you’ve been trying to do things a certain for for 3 or 4 months now, and you aren’t seeing any difference, what now? Then it’s time to evaluate. Have you honestly been giving it all you’ve got? If that’s the case, then there’s no shame in moving on to something different.
You’re a unique person with personality gifts and traits that the person who created the products doesn’t have – so what worked for them might not work the same for you. Take what you’ve learned and adjust. That’s the great thing about taking real, consistent action – once you start moving, it gets easier to steer and find the right road for you.