Entrepreneurs are known for “Shiny Object Syndrome,” where they give chase to every shiny concept, gizmo and gadget within range of their entrepreneurial spidey senses. The typical CEO (founder-type) and entrepreneur love new things. That’s why we start companies and do cool things. It’s fun, it’s new, it’s exciting! But…

We also get trapped into thinking we’re doing IMPORTANT work when really, we’re just distracted. A shiny new marketing strategy, organizational app or business strategy consumes your thoughts. You get trigger happy and risk sabotaging your business.  SOS just got a whole new meaning.

The consequences? You risk burning through your resources and budget, failing to follow through on projects, not thoroughly testing your product and confusing your team and customers. Tinkering can lead to brilliant breakthroughs, but doing “busy” work sucks you into the black hole of not going anywhere. Cue: failure to launch.

Don’t Get Sucked Into “Busy” Work

The best of us, the most experienced of us are frequently guilty of giving into SOS. Here’s a real-life example for me this week.

Yesterday, I needed to review some copy for mailings and landing pages, a vital step in launching a new campaign for the company. It’s important. Really important. Gotta do it — PERIOD — type of stuff. It was the item on the very top of my THREE THINGS I MUST DO TODAY list.

Not hard, right? I did the responsible thing. I made the list. Of course, something shiny blinded me.

Instead, I was checking out one of my main sites and noticed that the webpage speed test was slow.

What?! That needs to be fixed right now.

I can fix that quickly. No big deal.

I built a webpage speed testing company and so… I got this.

Evil Entrepreneurial Me is very convincing.

Heh. Heh. You can imagine how well that turned out.

Five hours into the day, I tested three different CDN’s, four plugins and found some problems with the blog themes we’re using, contacting blog theme support to find out why their theme was designed WRONG. (Hides some of images in code and the CDN’s and plugins don’t auto-change the links, yadda yadda).


FINALLY, I realized I was distracted and restored the site to before I started tinkering around. Shiny Object Syndrome kicked in on me in full force and went PacMan on five hours of my business day. STUPID BEHAVIOR.

That Shiny Object Syndrome must be tamed. Our brains are like sheepdogs. If you don’t keep your brain focused, it automatically starts herding sheep! (A very low-level task.)

And I just wasted five hours! Five valuable hours on a problem that didn’t even need fixing… The site was fine. I just wanted to solve some issue. Distractions!

We entrepreneurs love to solve problems, and if we don’t stay focused, we’ll solve stupid problems ALL DAY!

Just when you think you’ve beat it, SOS sneaks up on you and ropes you back into the chase. But you’re the one responsible for pulling yourself out of the disease of distraction to refocus on working your unique magic, to do the CEO Voodoo that only you can do.

It’s Critical to Stay Focused on Priority Tasks

You must stay focused on priority tasks. Determine what your critical tasks are as a leader versus minor tasks to delegate to your team. What are the critical tasks that only you can deliver? Don’t bottleneck your progress, and consider how you impede the growth and success of other outcomes.

For example, don’t get distracted in looking at accounting details on your balance sheet, cashflow or P&L. Leave that to accountants, the people you hired for their expertise.

Finally, own up to what you know are essential tasks that you will likely procrastinate on. Determine which of these tasks hold some underlying stress or anxiety for you. Why is that? Address that fear. Tolerate the task because it’s a mini-step on the way to real progress for the outcomes you’re aiming for. Focus on what only you can deliever and delegate the rest.

There are RIGHT Kinds of Distractions

There are some true distractions that are good and energy filling. Focus on the Big Picture and consider the main strategies that fulfill your mission. Reflect on your family and other core motivations for doing what you do and why you love doing it.

The brain isn’t meant to focus on one task for too long, which is why you must focus on “distractions” that fill you with motivational and inspirational energy.

Keep a stress journal. When you write something down, you can challenge it.

Keep a goals journal. When you write something down, you can empower the reasons and energy behind it. In a way, you’ve already manifested it. Work out your SOS on paper.

Get out of the office. Stop staring at the same four walls before you get too restless and trigger happy. Humans need nature. So, go “forest bathe” and reconnect with your center and the natural world. It’ll help you refocus on the world at large and the greater social good you’re doing.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself to take care of your business and team. Space nutritional meals and snacks throughout the day and work out. Take time off when you need it. Feed yourself with good energy and it’ll return to your business tenfold.

And that’s the greatest ROI of all. Reach out to CEO Voodoo to help you channel that voodoo that only you can do.

Image: Tenor & Imgflip