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TB#4: Beating your Shiny Object Syndrome

2022-11-06

For many of us building online, the problem is not knowing what to do.

It’s what not to do. And that’s almost everything. There are too many good ideas out there.

For the longest time, I took action on too many ideas at the same time.

Which obviously led to none of my projects getting the attention they needed from me.

I was a victim of the worst kind of shiny object syndrome.

The world is just too full of opportunity. Everything becomes a thing to pursue.

It takes one click to install WordPress. Three clicks to buy a domain. Spend a weekend building, and you have yet another project up and running.

I’m sure you know the feeling:

Keep doing that for a while, and you’re spread far too thin for anything to really work for you.

So here’s how I solved the problem…

Celebrate your Creativity

The first thing to realise is that you’re lucky. Yes, imagine if you had no ideas at all!

It’s great that you have all those ideas.

Be proud!

The only thing you have to do is take control of your syndrome instead of letting it control you.

Store your Ideas

Write all your project ideas down.

Have one dedicated place where you flesh them out in as much detail as you want.

And dump any new ideas in the same place in runtime, before starting to build anything.

I have a “Project Incubator” page in my own Notion dashboard. I make a new page there for all the new crazy ideas.

And more often than not, that’s it. After waiting a bit, the idea doesn’t sound so great anymore.

Which is what we want.

We want to work only on ideas that feel great the next week too.

Finish what you Start

When you feel the pull to start something new again, sit down and reflect the cost of not finishing your ongoing projects.

Project to the future: What would you feel if you finished the ones that you’re building now?

Do and finish one project at a time.

Learning to become a finisher is the best thing you can do to yourself.

Develop Self-Awareness

Meditate on your failures.

How many times in the past has it helped you to start yet another new project?

Chances are, not many.

Having too much on your plate stresses you out and stalls your progress.

Spend some time thinking about this and journaling your thoughts.

We tend to overvalue ideas and passion. And neglect the value of execution. Yet, in a world of cheap ideas, execution is everything.

And you can efficiently execute only if you have the bandwidth. And you already know the way to save bandwidth… keep the number of things you’re working on in control.

These simple ways have helped me tremendously, and I am sure they’ll help you too!

To recap:

  1. Establish one location to store all your new ideas
  2. Never start building right away, let your idea sit for a week and re-evaluate
  3. Think carefully about the costs of starting yet another new project without finishing the ongoing ones

And make all of this a routine that you follow.

About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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