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Conquering the Entrepreneur’s Malady – A.D.O.S.

Posted Feb 20 2013 2:00pm

Shiny-object-syndrome

I am great at coming up with ideas — that’s the fun part of the creation process.  There’s a rush that happens when a seed idea is percolating in my head.  But seeing my ideas through to the end is where I sometimes get stuck and have to push myself.  When projects aren’t moving quickly, everything begins to feel tedious and I get bored.  Letting my mind wander about is dangerous.  It just takes a moment and I’m back to brainstorming new ideas and basking in the innovation glow.  Even in composing this post I am thinking about the next five topics I want to write instead of steadily completing this one.  Have you ever experienced this?

As an entrepreneur, you are called upon to wear many hats, and with those hats come many different kinds of tasks and responsibilities.  This is the perfect breeding ground for A.D.O.S. — Attention Deficit…Oh shiny! – a.k.a. Shiny Object Syndrome.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any support groups or medications for this yet.  But if I get a vote, Flintstone’s vitamins should be the treatment of choice.  If not a viable cure, they sure taste good and are a good source of Vitamin C, which never hurt anyone.  Sorry, got distracted again…

The dilemma entrepreneurs face is being able to maintain a strict and narrow focus on one project at a time.  For women, who are known for being bona fide multi-taskers, this is a challenge moment by moment.  You must shift your mindset from that of a juggler to a sharp shooter — a challenge you won’t master in a day or two, so get started. 

The key to success at any level is efficient use of time and energy, which is achievable when you limit yourself to working on one thing at a time.  Get off the merry-go-round of life that tells you to be everything to everyone at every moment, take a deep breath and follow these three simple steps: 

  • Prioritize your to-do list – There are some things that are top priority and others that can be addressed either later in your day or your week.  Give yourself little mental rests after finishing something big and tackle a list of small, but quick to-do’s that don’t require a lot of mental energy.
  • Identify and put a lid on your distractions – Phone calls, emails, TV, and Oreos (okay, sometimes I just hear them calling my name) pull your attention away from the task at hand.  The only way to blaze through your to-do list is to set these things aside until you are done.  It will take you twice as long to finish one thing if your brain is constantly trying to pick up where you left off and get back into a groove.
  • Work on one thing until it’s done – The rest of your to-do’s aren’t going anywhere, so no need to worry about them right now.  There’s a great amount of satisfaction to be gained from checking something off your list.  Rather than having lots of half finished projects, work diligently to have a list with nothing left on it.

Bonus – If you don’t like old-fashioned list making with pen and paper, there are plenty of software options to create electronic to-do lists with built in reminders that you can sync across computers and your smart phone.  So you really have no excuses for getting organized and getting the job done — not even claiming to have A.D.O.S. because there are ways to work around it.  It just requires a bit of planning and a whole lot of discipline.

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