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As creative entrepreneurs, we’re living in a time of constant distraction. There has never been a more difficult time to stay focussed as an entrepreneur. Shiny objects are all around us, pulling your attention in every direction. And there’s something I’ve noticed because of this – while many women in the business space proudly label themselves as “multi-passionate,” men often embrace the term “serial entrepreneurs.” Being multi-passionate isn’t a bad thing, it can actually be advantageous and set you apart from your competition. However, when it comes to growing your business and boosting your bottom line, thinking like a serial entrepreneur can be the game-changer. It’s all about nurturing your current products or services to profitability and optimizing your systems fully before diving headfirst into new ventures. Listen to this episode if you, the busy creative and ambitious small business owner, need help finding your path to productivity and success, without falling victim to the allure of shiny objects.
The Pitfall of Chasing Shiny Objects
In a world where creativity flows freely and content consumption is a daily ritual, it’s no surprise that creatives are bursting with ideas. We’re bombarded with Instagram posts, podcasts, newsletters, books, and videos – all sparking new concepts in our minds. The problem arises when instead of wholeheartedly pursuing one idea, we dabble in multiple and jump ship as soon as the next captivating idea (a.k.a. shiny object) strikes. This lack of focus keeps us from reaching our full potential and building a sustainable business. It’s like a never-ending cycle of chasing the next big thing, all while burnout looms ever closer.
Shiny Object Syndrome: The Reality Check
Here’s the truth – your reservoir of great ideas exceeds the time available to execute them properly. Trying to juggle all these ideas at once is a recipe for exhaustion and burnout. In fact, shiny object syndrome can even be a subtle form of self-sabotage, stemming from a fear of success. Scattered efforts lead to scattered results, but focused efforts lead to focused results. Remember in the episode “Your Business Minimalist Blueprint: Build a Productive Business in 5 Simple Steps” we talked about clarity being the starting point for enhancing productivity? Once you’re clear about the results you desire, you can focus your efforts more effectively to achieve those outcomes.
Navigating Shiny Object Syndrome: My 3-Step Parking Lot Process
Imagine every idea you have is an object you have to carry. As you have ideas, your hands get full. The more objects you have, the more your arms get tired. The solution isn’t necessarily to have less objects, but to have a place to put them. You don’t want to lose anything, so you put items you’re not ready to use in a backpack. This frees up your hands and gives you the energy to do other things while still keeping your ideas safe. The backpack is like the “parking lot” area of your ideas. Similarly, your business needs a parking lot – a dedicated space for ideas you’re not ready to pursue immediately.
Here’s my 3-Step process to take an idea from your brain, park it in the parking lot, then put it into a strategic plan.
Step 1: Capture Your Ideas
In her book, “Attention Span”, Professor Gloria Mark talks about how your mind recalls the tasks that you have yet to accomplish much better than the tasks that you completed yesterday. Uncompleted tasks or ideas weigh on your cognitive load and take up a lot of your mental capacity.
Just like that backpack, your creative mind needs a place to hold all those intriguing ideas. Consider using tools like Google Keep, planners, or Google Docs to collect your ideas in one place. But remember, don’t judge them just yet. The initial goal is to document them without getting bogged down in analysis. You can later decide what’s worth pursuing when you’re in a clear headspace.
Step 2: Organize Your Ideas
In an organized business, everything has a place. Conduct a weekly review where you categorize and organize all your ideas that you captured earlier.
I have a weekly review checklist that I use to sum up and organize my business for the week and helps me to go into the weekend with a clear mind to focus on other things. You can grab that free weekly review checklist here.
For current projects, tools like ClickUp are invaluable to put every task in its place. However, for ideas not in active execution, place them in your parking lot – an organized list where ideas can safely wait their turn and don’t take up value mind space. If you’re looking for an effective template, my Organize Your Business (OYB) Course offers one that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It breaks down your ideas into various categories for the various areas of life to keep all in one place.
Organize your parking lot by categories that fit your business and goals, then rate the ideas based on various criteria. Know what your filters are and use them to make sure your ideas match your values, purpose, and your goals.
Once you start using this parking lot method, you might be surprised how many thoughts you are keeping in your head and how much they are bogging you down. As a businesses owner, you have a lot to think about and do, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by trying to keep all of those things in your head.
Step 3: Create a Strategic Plan with Your Ideas
While there’s value in annual planning at the beginning of the year to see your overall strategic goals, and benefits to strategically planning one month at a time to have flexibility to pivot, I suggest quarterly planning to get the most benefit from actually trying something new for 90 days.
Generally, review your goals and plan your ideas quarterly. Look at your parking lot and see if there is anything that makes sense to add which is connected to your goals for the next 90 days. When you’ve organized your parking lot by categories and rated the ideas based on various criteria, it’s easier to sift through ideas and determine what’s most worth pursuing that specific quarter in your business.
The key is to separate the capture from the thinking. Don’t waste time overanalyzing every idea as it arises. Instead, decide if and when it is worth pursing during your designated planning sessions.
The Power of Decision: Focus and Progress
Remember, focusing on one idea can lead to more significant progress than sporadic efforts across multiple ideas. The process involves committing to an idea for the next 90 days and crafting an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to see it through. Embrace the possibility of getting it wrong, and pivot when needed. Strive for business minimalism, where you choose to invest in the ideas that truly matter and are contributing to your business and life rather than jumping in to too many things at one time, leaving you little time and energy to focus your resources.
Embrace Your Path to Organized Success
In the realm of creative entrepreneurship, staying focused amidst the alluring distractions of shiny objects is no small feat. Yet, by following the 3-step Parking Lot Process – Capture, Organize, and Plan – you can consciously choosing where to invest your time and effort, bringing your dreams to life while avoiding the burnout that comes with chasing every new idea.
Ready to break free from shiny object syndrome and create a thriving business that gives you the freedom you crave? Dive into the Organize Your Business course – a comprehensive A-Z resource to streamline your projects, goals, content ideas, and to-dos, all in one organized place. Don’t let the distractions from mentally carrying your ideas hold you back. Embrace focused efforts through using an ideas “parking lot” and go from a “multi-passionate” business owner to a ”serial entrepreneur.”
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Episode 044: Your Business Minimalist Blueprint: Build a Productive Business in 5 Simple Steps
- Weekly Review Checklist
- Organize your Business Course
- Episode 019: 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Making your To-Do List
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