I have Shiny Object Syndrome. Yes, you read that correctly and I think I might be the very first person to come out publicly and name my disorder. Shiny Object Syndrome, or SOS actually affects millions of people around the world but shamefully, most of us suffer in silence, afraid to share our truth. Sufferers of SOS need help and may, subconsciously, be sending out an actual S.O.S. seeking assistance at this very moment. You just can’t tell because they keep getting distracted by whatever the shiny object is they’re using to send out the signal!
For sufferers of SOS it’s hard to get through a normal day. Imagine trying to plan out your workload only to be interrupted by the complete randomness of the random thought or the blinking light of the answering machine. Each of these objects are to some, a mere annoyance, an unlikely distraction but to sufferers of SOS they are a “cri de coeur” a call to action that says: “you can’t ignore this…you must come and attend to this detail immediately, it could be very, very important….” Sadly, there is no cure for SOS save for locking yourself in a cold, dark, lifeless room and even then, you’re bound to hear a creak in the floor boards or feel a draft – anything that requires further investigation and in the process another meaningless delay in your workday.
SOS sufferers cannot complete a task without getting distracted. Everything becomes a priority so nothing gets prioritized. Distraction leads to frustration so instead of working you spend 40 minutes on the Internet looking up how to meditate to help rid yourself of SOS. While looking for meditation strategies you come across mediation strategies (you really should use your spell-check) and so you veer off course, looking into careers that involve mediation. Intrigued, you decide you need to go back to school so you start looking at colleges and universities that offer mediation strategy courses but then, your telephone rings. Should you ignore it? You are “working” after all and need to stay focused since you have plenty to do but …..you’re struggling here……..nope, you just can’t ignore it. The phone is now your newest SOS and it might be a call about a real S.O.S. situation. Since you’ve stopped to answer it, you attempt to insert some efficiency in your day, maximizing your time by using the handheld to talk while throwing in yet another load of laundry. When you finally return to the task at hand – what was it again??? - you realize you have already wasted so much time that you might as well check your facebook, twitter, pinterest, Linkedin and your three separate email accounts before you return to work because that way, you can really focus on your job.
You finally settle on a priority and start to work. Hurray! You’re committed, you’re working away and then it happens. Again. This time your daughter calls from school because she needs something, anything, it wouldn’t matter what it was because clearly that’s now your new priority. While you’re out picking her up from school you remember you need milk so you dash into the grocery store where you also remember it’s “share a treat at school” day tomorrow so you need baking ingredients and oh yes, something for dinner too. By the time you get home it’s time to cook whatever you just bought for dinner and that’s it, the end of another “work” day. It’s a full day living with SOS. I can’t say that I get much done but I have been very, very busy!