Get Up and Go – Focus on one big thing. Shiny object syndrome

Marlene runs a successful online business. But she never quite finishes anything, leaving behind a trail of incomplete projects, mostly relating to her website. “I’m an ideas person,” she says, “so when I need a new technique I like to try it out.” Recently she’s tried affiliate marketing, a mentoring group and TikTok videos. Before that she was paying for blog articles, and before that it was PR. Bill’s failing lies in launching new products. His desk is littered with half finished projects. Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) happens when you hop from one new activity to the next. If you have subordinates, you’ll hand them incomplete work, and ask them to finish them. They’ll have only a hazy notion of what is involved, and if they’ve experienced this from you before, they will ‘bottom drawer it’, which means putting it to one side and waiting for you to ask about it. The disadvantages of SOS are clear. You don’t push anything through to completion, which means you don’t see the end result. However there are good reasons why we engage in SOS. If we’re working on something and it isn’t succeeding, we’re inclined to put it aside, and try something different. In fact successful people in the arts have this trait – they try different types of activity until they hit on something that works, and then focus on it. Creatives are particularly susceptible to Shiny Object Syndrome. If you constantly have good ideas and love setting up new projects, you’re a creative – whether you knew it or not. Managing Shiny Object Syndrome But all of us have to curb our enthusiasm, or we’ll never get anything done. Here’s a solution, and it’s one that we won’t enjoy, because it limits us and spoils our fun. But it’s necessary. Think of it as a stern school teacher at the front of the class.

  • Make a list of your projects.
  • Decide which are the two most important.
  • Do the ones you listed in #2. Put the rest on hold.

Did I omit your One Big Change? Email me at If I get enough requests I may add it here. With best wishes Kit Sadgrove Founder, Get Up And Go

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