How to avoid the “latest shiny thing” trap.

Are you always looking for the right answer, the right method, the right app, the right habit, the right piece of wisdom?

Work Smart Not Hard Tip No. 15 in a series written for Indie Cambs

Someone I’ve known for many years recently became a client.

His avid consumption of business books and podcasts has always intrigued me, and I assumed that it was his way of alleviating boredom on his daily runs.

Turns out it’s more than that. He’d become convinced that if he could find the right answer, the right method, the right app, the right habit, the right piece of wisdom, all his problems would be solved. Every time he hears about a new thing he has to learn about it. This has been going on for years and nothing in his business has changed to any significant degree.

There are a lot of things we learn just for the joy of learning but acquiring knowledge can become addictive. In business, unless knowledge is put into practice it’s of limited use.

The guy I’m working with knows a lot of things. He knows he knows them, and he knows he’s not using them and it’s driving him crazy.

The key in business is to identify the problem then find a solution, not find a solution and go looking for something you can use it on.

Next time a book, podcast, marketing idea, Meetup, or conference topic waves at you, ask yourself what problem you’re trying to solve. If the shiny thing that’s just caught your eye is something you can’t use or don’t need, question why you’re tempted to spend time and money learning about it.

New marketing techniques are the trickiest things for small businesses to ignore. The fear of missing out is often the biggest selling point and yet for most small businesses it’s still the simplest things that work best.

How do you know which of hundreds of new ideas will work for you?

All of your actions should be part of a plan.
A plan starts with your goals.
A plan steers your actions.
When you have a plan, making decisions is much easier. Simply ask “Will this take me closer to achieving my goals or further away? Where does it fit into my plan?”

Finding the time to make a plan.

When you’re super busy, it can seem counter-intuitive to take time out to make a plan. It’s true that plans don’t always work out – usually because of things out of our control, but planning will save you a lot of time, false starts and hitting brick walls.
If you want to give it a go, let me know.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] In Tip 14 I talked about the time trap of chasing the latest shiny thing that will miraculously make life, business and the universe better. It struck quite a chord with a lot of people who admitted that it’s all too easy to get distracted by things we really don’t need. […]

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