Shiny Object SyndromeDo you catch yourself always reaching for the latest shiny object? If so, you may have Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s a condition that can be quite debilitating, and can result in brain ache, overwhelm, feelings of inadequacy, and worst of all, loss of productivity. In a moment, I’ll give you the prescription! First, let’s take a look at the tell-tale signs of affliction.

As a small business owner, you no doubt try to keep abreast of the latest trends in social media marketing, website technologies, productivity tools, SEO tricks, and more (and more, and more…!) There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there, screaming for your attention.

As a technology consultant, I see it all the time. My clients come to me, asking me to hook up this amazing gazniggler or configure a must-have kerflutick. They are twitching with excitement and this great new piece of technology that promises bigger or better conversions, promotion, or tracking. And I try to gently ask them whether they really need it. After all, there’s enough technology out there that’s necessary to run your business, without being distracted by every shiny bauble that glitters your way!

Beware. All that glitters is not gold!

It’s very tempting to be distracted by the marketing messages telling you that you NEED this latest widget for your website, and that you MUST use this great new tool to promote yourself. There are so many tools that we need tools to manage our tools; think of HootSuite and Buffer (if you haven’t heard of those, no, please don’t feel you must run off and Google them — read the rest of this article first, and then decide whether you need to!).

The Prescription

I said I’d give you the prescription for Shiny Object Syndrome. Here it is. Before you let yourself grab for that new shiny bit of technology, ask yourself these questions:

Do I have an existing problem, for which this shiny bit of technology is the perfect solution? This is probably the most important question to ask. Too often, we find all these great “solutions,” when we don’t really have a problem, or the problem that they solve is not on our near-term horizon.

What about the opportunity costs? This is the next important question to ask. Will this new tool require significant time for installation, set-up, or a learning curve? If so, what will you have to drop from your existing commitments to fit it in to your schedule?

At the very least, choose only technology that will:

  • bring more revenue into your business
  • enhance your customer’s experience
  • save you time
  • save you money

Ideally, however, I encourage you to pursue only those bits of technology that solve current problems you are experiencing.

Productivity Tip: Keep a piece of paper next to your desk with your top five goals written on it. Whenever a new task (or potential task) comes across your desk, check it against those priorities. If it does nothing to further those goals, then ask yourself why you are considering doing it? Do you legitimately need to change your priorities to accommodate this task, or should you defer it, delegate it, or ditch it altogether?

Only choose to invest your time, energy, and money into tools and technology that will further your primary goals. No more Shiny Object Syndrome!

Leave me a comment below and ‘fess up! Do you suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome?

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