I know I posted to “check back next week to talk about managing SNOS.” (SNOS = Shiny New Object Syndrome.) Well. I also mentioned I’m suffering from SNOS. I got so distracted with all the SNO’s, that I forgot to post! … This is serious…
So, anyway! I’m hyper-focused on rebuilding my basic routine. I had struggled with a bout of chronic migraines for the last six months. I am now on the recovering side of this episode. Even though I am on the upswing, I am still dealing with the far-reaching impact this period had on my regular routines. Thank you for your patience!
Now, the subject at hand:
Shiny New Object Syndrome and the Solution
Just to recap: You are officially suffering from SNOS when you have 15 or more ideas that are started and not finished. You begin to feel overwhelmed. You lose track of all these SNOS’s that you are working on. And sometimes you shut down.
The solution, in a nutshell, involves focusing your attention to a limited number of items and not starting anything else until you have completed that small set of items.
In the project management (and personal time management) vernacular, it is called Limiting Work in Progress. This is a concept tied to Kanban and Personal Kanban. In Personal Kanban, you decide on a limit of items you can start (say 3 or 4) and you DO NOT start any other items until those are finished. With a lot of tasks or items we start, sometimes we cannot finish them because we have a “roadblock”… something that is preventing us from moving forward to completion. The roadblock can be anything, from lack of inspiration or needing an answer to a specific question, to name just a few. You can put something on hold or in waiting and start another task. However, once you have reached your limit (say 4 items), you do not start any other tasks until you have removed the roadblocks on those other tasks and you can finish at least one.
Another term I have heard used was by Kelly Rae Roberts. In referring to her methods of personal productivity, she called the technique Hyper Focus. I thought this term very descriptive. A short aside: very interestingly, this term is used in connection with those suffer from ADD and ADHD. The term is used in connection with the ability to focus intensely and with great attention. The negative side of this ability is when the focus happens: for example, if you get lost in researching an e-class, but you need to get ready for your art show, this is an example of inappropriate hyper focus.
However, I like the descriptiveness of Hyper Focus as it really provides a quick understanding of what we’re trying to achieve with this technique. The Urban Dictionary provided this definition to Hyper Focus:
“A theoretical state of being or ability in which one is able to concentrate and focus on a particular subject so intensely, ultimately becoming oblivious to everything else around.”
So, one of the keys to practicing Hyper Focus is not allowing other distractions (checking, Facebook, Twitter, taking phone calls, watching television, etc.) interfere with your concentration on the task at hand. This intense concentration and focus really increases your productivity tremendously. Also, by not starting any new tasks that are over your Work In Progress limit, you can provide some serious productivity gains with your time.
In the hyper-connected, multi-tasking, multi-focused world, it takes discipline to Hyper Focus on the appropriate task.
What do you think? Do you have a task that you could test out this concept of Hyper Focus?