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Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is the tendency to continually chase new trends, new opportunities, and new ideas without evaluating their benefit first.  Shiny object syndrome causes distraction, overwhelm, stress, and a lack of focus.  Chasing shiny objects can cause you to waste valuable time chasing new targets rather than focusing on your goals.

Have you experienced shiny object syndrome?  At its core, shiny object syndrome is the tendency to distract yourself from your most important work by chasing new things that seem to be more exciting.  Overcoming shiny object syndrome is a challenge for many business owners and entrepreneurs and causes procrastination and distraction.

The key symptom of shiny object syndrome is the tendency to chase new shiny things rather than focus on the work in front of you.  Chasing shiny objects affects your productivity and effectiveness.  As a result, you continually start new things and fail to finish them.

This article shares 5 ways to overcome shiny object syndrome.

What is shiny object syndrome?

Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is a habit that causes someone to be constantly distracted as they chase anything that looks shiny, new, and exciting.

These shiny objects can be a new idea, trend, recommendation, or something everyone else is doing.  The results of shiny object syndrome include overwhelm, procrastination, distraction, and a loss of focus.

What causes shiny object syndrome?

Many entrepreneurs and small business owners experience shiny object syndrome because they do not have the clarity, confidence, or capability to make positive progress on their goals.  They have too many projects on the go, many unfinished.

Frustration with goals, frustration with progress, and frustration with performance can lead to shiny object syndrome.  Chasing bright shiny objects can lead to continual comparison and fear of missing out.

Being an entrepreneur in the digital age means being bombarded by shiny objects.  There is always new and exciting technology to understand and explore.

If chasing shiny objects is holding you back from making real progress towards achieving your goals, getting increased focus and accountability could be the answer.

Read more about the benefits of accountability coaching.

How do you prevent shiny object syndrome?

You can prevent shiny object syndrome by focusing on your priorities rather than chasing new things all the time.  Spending your time chasing new things will leave you feeling overwhelmed, scattered, and unproductive.

This lack of focus causes tasks and projects to be started and left unfinished, wasting time and energy.

How to overcome shiny object syndrome

Here are 5 ways to overcome shiny object syndrome.

1. Set better goals

If you are easily distracted by shiny objects, the first step is to set better, measurable goals.  Entrepreneurs chase new and exciting things when they do not have clarity on what they want to achieve and when they want to achieve their goals.  This lack of focus and direction creates distraction, which causes shiny object syndrome.

To stop chasing shiny objects, take a moment to get clear on what you want to create in your business and what results you want to achieve.

Use goal setting to set your long-term vision and create short-term measurable goals.  If you do not know what you want, you will always be chasing bright shiny objects.   If you don’t have clear goals to work towards, you’ll constantly be chasing bright shiny objects.

2. Get more accountability  

As an entrepreneur, you may feel like you have an abundance of time to try new things and experiment with new ways of doing things.  Time is your most valuable asset.

Having unfinished projects means you’re not managing time effectively.   As a result, you get nothing of substance completed.  Chasing shiny objects can waste days learning something new or going down rabbit holes.

You can overcome shiny object syndrome by getting more accountability and focus.  Find an experienced accountability coach to keep you in check and help you stay focused on your goals.  Accountability ensures you stop spending weeks and months chasing bright shiny objects that fail to move you closer towards your goals.

3. Say no more often  

Setting better boundaries around your time and energy will help you stop chasing shiny objects.  If you say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, you will continually chase bright shiny objects and live in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed.

When you have clarity on your goals and have a clear path and plan to follow, it is easier to say no to shiny objects.  If you fail to set boundaries around your time, you may be saying yes to everything.

To overcome shiny object syndrome, say no more often to new opportunities and new things.  Get clear on the result you think this opportunity will create in your business.

If you do not believe this new opportunity will help you reach your goals faster, say no.  Make no the default setting to new projects and new requests for your time, energy, and focus unless it aligns with your goals.

4. Eliminate the bright shiny objects

Bright shiny object syndrome causes entrepreneurs to take on new projects without evaluating their value or how it aligns with their goals.  Taking the time to evaluate new opportunities can save you days and weeks of wasted time and energy.  If you are easily distracted, evaluate everything.

Get clear on the purpose of the new opportunity and how it aligns with your goals.  Take a moment to get clear on the difference taking action will make in your business and life.

Ask yourself what result you want to achieve with the opportunity and understand the time requirement.  Also, look at the financial investment required.

When you see a clear benefit for taking action, then go for it.  If you do not, focus on your current priorities to ensure you don’t overload your to-do list and have too much going on.

5. Stop comparing

One of the biggest causes of shiny object syndrome is comparison syndrome.  With comparison syndrome, you can feel like a failure when comparing your achievements or success with others.  People who chase shiny objects experience imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome can cause you to feel stuck and start chasing new and exciting things because other people have had success with them.  You then waste time and energy looking at what these people are doing.

You stop comparing yourself to others when you have clear goals to follow and feel gratitude for what you have.  When you are confident about your achievements and have a clear plan to follow, you stop comparing.

When you compare yourself to others, you can experience low self-esteem and low self-confidence.  As a result, you chase more bright shiny objects to feel better yourself.

Self-confidence grows when you trust and believe in yourself.  This belief comes from having better goals and following your path.


Shiny object syndrome causes distraction and overwhelm.  If you’re feeling distracted and overwhelmed right now, use these five tips to stop chasing shiny objects and increase your focus and productivity.

By becoming aware of what causes you to chase shiny objects, you can break the pattern once and for all.  Using these tips will help you manage your time better, stop feeling overwhelmed, and eliminate the distraction caused by chasing shiny objects.

Now I’d love to hear from you

Do you chase bright shiny objects?  What’s your best tip for overcoming it?

Let me know in the comments.

Read also

How to stay focused: 10 tips to improve focus

About Mark Pettit 

Mark Pettit is an accountability coach based in Colchester, Essex, UK.  He is the Founder of the accountability coaching company Lucemi Consulting.

Mark provides accountability coaching programs to entrepreneurs and business owners in Colchester, Essex, and Suffolk.  He also provides online accountability coaching programs to entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the UK, the US, and Canada.

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Productivity Planner by Mark Pettit of Lucemi Consulting

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