How to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

Today as I write you, it’s a gorgeous 67 degrees outside. The birds are chirping, the trees are even starting to bud. Whether it’s spring fever distracting you or the wearing of numerous hats in your business, it can be hard to focus on and do what’s most truly important, that will make the greatest impact in your business.

Recently two of my friends were struggling with this, not sure of how to spend their time to make big strides forward. They weren’t lacking for things to do, but prioritizing them and actually executing on the plan was a challenge. It really helped them to see my simple yet strategic way of scheduling my week. I thought it might help you too. 

The goal of this exercise is to simply identify a priority for each day, so that you can take significant action forward in an area that has the biggest impact for your business…or life.

I want each of us to be living the life we enjoy, and growing a business we love.

The risk is that if you don’t do this intentionally, you will be stuck chasing rabbits, whether it be exciting ideas, nonessential tasks, or things that appear urgent…but are they, really? This can be described as “chasing your tail” or always being “so busy.”

Visualizing Your Ideal Week

I started by outlining what my ideal week looks like. I know it’s not the same for everyone, but I’ll share it, just as an example. I want…

  • Sundays offline. No devices.
  • Mondays to work on my husband Ken’s business, first and BizFarmer if time allows.
  • Tuesdays are only for BizFarmer.
  • Wednesdays are for my preschooler, and for volunteer work at our church (in that order).
  • Thursdays are for BizFarmer again.
  • Fridays are for my little guy again, household items, and space.
  • Saturdays provide margin to do what I deem essential on that day.

I’ve also determined that I want to be done working at 3:00 (when the kids get home), limit email and social media to twice per day, to average eight hours sleep per night and to work out six days per week.

Remember, I did say this is my IDEAL week! It’s not all a reality…yet. But I’m closer than I’ve ever been and, at least I’m working towards an ideal state.

YOUR CHALLENGE:

Write out what your ideal week looks like. Even if you can’t make all the changes you need to right now, at least you have something you can aim for.

Whether you take that challenge or decide that your week is fixed now and that’s the way it’s going to be…how do you get done what matters most during the time you have?

Making It Happen Within the Parameters

Most likely, you have a similar set of essential things that you should be doing each week. For example, perhaps each week you need to work on product development, marketing, sales, and legal/finance items.

Allocate one project per day and focus on that first, before anything else.

Each week you know that Mondays are for marketing, Tuesdays for training, Wednesdays for writing…you get the idea. This is working well for one of my friends.

-OR-

Maybe you have more projects than you have days (this is me). Or the size of each project varies by week (my other friend). Or maybe you have certain items that are critical…but only on a monthly basis (like invoicing clients).

Identify what’s important and schedule dedicated time to focus on it.

This just means you have to revisit and plan your priorities each week … before you start the week. As you wrap up one week, list out the critical items you must accomplish the following week. Then, schedule them in your calendar and dedicate the allotted time to those items. Honor that time commitment! Bonus points if you take care of that project or item at the very beginning of your day. (Eat the Frog!)

However you choose to look at it, the bottom line is this: you’ve got to identify what’s essential, make it the priority and intentionally schedule time for it.

What’s one essential thing that you know you need to make time for…but gets pushed aside for things that seem shiny…or urgent? Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter; I’d love to hear how you deal with this!

 -Angela

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