The Calculated Creative

5 Ways to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

Long amounts of time can destroy any well-intentioned creative pursuit.

Because the farther along you get, the more likely you’ll start to chase shiny objects instead of focusing on the goals that really matter.

Here are 5 mental models you can use to keep you on track for the rest of 2023:

1. It’s better to follow your interests than those around you

Just because your friend jumps off of a bridge doesn’t mean you should, right!?

In all seriousness…something being popular isn’t a reason for you to follow suit.

Gut check actions against your own passions, interests, curiosity, and knowledge.

If it still makes sense…then go for it!

If not…toss it in the trash.

2. Attention is the most basic form of love

Money goes where energy flows…er…maybe it’s the other way around?

Either way, the two go hand in hand.

But this doesn’t just apply to making money from creative pursuits.

It also applies to projects, relationships, and education. The more attention you give something the more likely it will be to give back.

3. Don’t risk the empire for a pot of gold

That “holy crap this may be a life altering project” may sound really cool…but if you have to spend huge amounts of time working for free in hopes of a big payoff (that may never come) your time may be better spent continuing the thing that’s working best.

If there’s a chance a new project will take significant time and energy away from one that’s already working then it may warrant some deeper thought.

4. Consistently hit singles over a longer period of time

Stop trying to only hit home runs.

Because of the quick rise to stardom that’s so prevalent in todays media landscape we forget about the power of compounding.

Instead of trying to strike gold once (unlikely to happen OR help you long term) set yourself up to hit consistent singles.

These small wins are more likely to stack on top of each other and create something incredible over time.

5. Knowing where to focus is what gets you there faster

Some call them BHAG’s (big hairy audacious goals) while some simply call them OKR’s (objectives and key results).

No matter how you look it the best thing you can do is to create higher level goals.

Then, every day, ask yourself whether your current tasks are taking you toward, or away from, those goals.

By knowing where you’re headed you can more easily shift energy toward the things that will get you there.

Having these quick and simple frameworks in your back pocket can help to keep you on track for years to come.

Stressed out from a big project? Having a hard time staying on-task? Not sure where to go next?

Refer back to these in difficult times and stop yourself from chasing the next shiny object.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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