Avoid Shiny Ball Syndrome & 10X Your Productivity in Just (4) Easy Steps

By paulchittenden

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As a marketer, “Shiny Ball Syndrome” is a constant battle.

I often get distracted by the latest marketing technique or the latest growth hack.

A few times, these distractions came with a positive result. But most of the time, it simply leads to a loss of productivity.

In this short post, I'll show you exactly how to avoid shiny ball syndrome, and the exact steps to 10x your productivity by choosing the right tasks to work on. 

Let's get started.

Shiny Ball Syndrome

What is Shiny Ball Syndrome?

Shiny Ball Syndrome is when someone gets easily distracted by new things, tactics, or techniques - abandoning their current task to go try this new thing they just learned. Oh, look! Ball!

These new tips and tactics are fun to chase. They are exciting, a good change of pace.

But they are a problem. The shiny ball takes your eye off the task at hand while you are chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

How to Avoid Shiny Ball Syndrome

It is simple really. 

When you discover a new tactic or technique, it is quite tempting to action it right away.

Instead, keep a list of the “balls” you want to chase. 

Marketing Ideas

Make a Record of the Task

Record the tip, technique, or to-do item in your preferred way.

This can be as simple as 

  • A post it note (for quick tasks)
  • Excel Spreadsheet
  • Google Doc

Most of my shiny balls come from books or blog posts.

For books, I use Post-it Page Markers to mark the page and a highlighter to highlight the parts I find most interesting.

Ultimate Sales Machine Sticky Notes

After I finish a book, I sit down and reread my highlighted sections, and I add new tasks I want to try to my idea list in Excel.

For blog posts, I’ll typically bookmark the article in my browser under the “Ideas” folder for later reading.

Bookmarks

I’ll also enter the ideas in my Excel file for safe keeping.

How to 10x Your Productivity

Now you have this great list of tactics to grow your business.

What do you do with all these ideas?

Step 1: Define Your Vision | You Can’t Reach Your Dream Life if You Don’t Know What It Is Your Seeking

First, you need to define your big goals. What do you really want to accomplish?

I’m not talking about your follower count here. We’ll get to that. 

But what does your ideal life, or your ideal business, really look like?

  • How big is your business? 
  • Are you a solopreneur? 
  • Do you have a team?
  • Do you want to work remotely?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • Where do you want to live? 
Goals Values Vision Venn Diagram

This is your X. (What is he talking about? Read on to find out.)

Write it all down. Get crystal clear on what you want your life to look like.

Step 2: Define Your Goals | Draw the Map to Your Dream Life

The path to your dream life is a marathon, not a race. With your grand vision in place, we’re going to build a plan to get there - one step at a time.

Start by defining your goals. Think of these as 5-year goals.

No matter where you are in your business, you need to establish concrete goals to get to the next step so you know what to work on.

If you are just starting out, think about it like you are building a pyramid. You need to build the base for your future business.

If you are further along, think about what you need to build the next level of the pyramid. Maybe this is building the next level. Maybe, you need to go back and reinforce the base.

Set your big goals. 

  • Start a side hustle to eventually replace my full-time job’s income
  • Grow revenue to $10,000 per month

Or, if your business is established:

  • Increase revenue to $5,000,000
  • Expand to a new region

No matter what your goals are, they need to be defined to move on to the next step.

You have completed the map. You are on one side, your X is on the other.

Step 3: Define Your Plan | Chart Your Path to Meet Your Goals

Your goals are clearly defined. Now, you need to create the plan to meet them.

What do you need to do to accomplish your goals?

Look at your goals from the previous step, and figure out what needs to be done to accomplish the goal.

  • Build out a website
  • Get 3 new clients

The established business:

  • Develop an Org Chart for a $5,000,000 business
  • Research cities for potential expansion
Treasure Map Start Finish

You are now plotting the path to get from your starting point to the X, your treasure. Yet, we still do not know the exact obstacles in the way.

Step 4. Define Your Tasks | Starting the Journey and Avoiding Perilous Obstacles

You now know your yearly goals, you need to define the particular tasks that you will do (i.e. If you were Christopher Columbus, you might have to get a ship).

Now, let’s get back to our big list of ideas.

Which of the ideas on your list will help you accomplish your 1 and 5 year goals? 

Highlight them.

If your idea list doesn’t have any items that address your goal, add some more ideas. You’ve just avoided going down a rabbit hole of doing work that doesn’t get you to where you want to be. 

The most important step: 

Once you’ve got your list of ideas highlighted, look for the one that will have the biggest impact. 

The ones that will really move the needle.

As in our case above:

  • Goal: Build out a website
    • Task 1: Mock-up website layout
    • Task 2: Interview 3 web designers
    • Task 3: Hire top designer
  • Goal: Get three new clients
    • Task 1: Create an offer & ad sets
    • Task 2: Develop an automated email sequence
    • Task 3: Develop a process for referral marketing for back end sales

For the established business:

  • Goal: Develop an Org Chart for a $5,000,000 business
    • Task 1: Promote Bob to Sales Manager
    • Task 2: Hire 3 additional salespeople
    • Task 2: Hire 2 additional production workers
  • Goal: Research cities for potential expansion
    • Task 1: Hire a Commercial Real Estate professional to find a site in preferred city
    • Task 2: Sign lease
    • Task 3: Hire architect to build out office.
    • So on.

These are the activities that will move the needle needed to accomplish your 1-year goals. 

Take note of your progress and do this every month.

Going through this, your new map will show you what battles to fight, what obstacles to avoid, and the destination to your treasure!

Treasure Map Plotted

Summary

With so many cool tactics and techniques circulating on the web, it is hard to stay focused on your goals.

The answer is to put your head down and do the work.

Only choose tactics that are going to move the needle. And choose work on the highest impact tasks first.

You’ll get there.

What do you think? What is a tactic that made you immediately stop what you were doing to try out?

Tell me in the comments!

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About the Author

I help business owners, entrepreneurs, experts, and coaches spread their message to gain more business and influence through media coverage.

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