Recently somebody told me how impressed they were with my ability to stay focused and get things done. I nearly laughed because I find it challenging at times to stay focused, because I am easily distracted by shiny objects.
I refer to shiny objects as the things that can distract us and divert our attention away from the things we should be doing. Shiny objects can manifest in many different forms, and come in all shapes and sizes. If not careful, a shiny object can lead me down a rabbit hole without me even being aware.
Since shiny objects can distract me from accomplishing the things that are the most important to me, it’s important that I protect myself. Here are some things I do on a regular basis that you might want to consider if you too suffer from the shiny object syndrome.
Defining The Big Picture
I once heard knowing what you want and where you are going is over 50% of the battle of achieving it. The clearer you know what you want the better. Hopefully you know your big picture vision of what you are wanting to accomplish, and it is something you are extremely passionate about. I have realized the more passionate you the easier it is to maintain your focus.
Earlier this year I wrote about how to simplify planning with the Merlin Principle to help determine the steps that need to be accomplished to achieve your objectives. Have you defined and clearly understand the steps you need to take and be working on? Do you know when they need to be done and have a timeline for their completion? When a step is unclear or seems challenging, our attention and focus can easily be diverted someplace else.
There are always times when a particular step or task we need to take is boring or unpleasant. However, it still needs to be done. As long as you are not stuck in an endless pursuit of perfection, just get the job done. Pick a time and create a routine for reviewing these steps and your progress often.
Keep your Eye on the Ball
In baseball, if you take your eye off the ball even for a split second you are likely to get hit in the face. If you take you take your eye off your objectives and the steps you are supposed to be working on your mind will find something else more appealing.
Earlier this year I wrote about How to eliminate interruptions and get more done. Although this may seem obvious, being proactive and eliminating the things that can divert our attention ahead of time can prevent us from being distracted by shiny objects.
Turning off the TV, closing down your web browser, email, and your phone can prevent you from easily getting distracted. Whatever task you are working on, resolve to get it done in the most supportive environment you can create for yourself.
We only have so much time in a day to get things done. If what you are wanting to get done is important and leading you towards the accomplishment of your goals and dreams, doesn’t it make sense to protect yourself from shiny objects? Prepare yourself in advance. Constantly remind yourself where you are going. Keep working and reworking the steps that will get you there, and be aware of interruptions. Protect yourself from the shiny object syndrome whenever you can.