My name is Matt, and I’ve got Idea Surplus Disorder a.k.a. “Shiny Shiny Syndrome” real bad.
You’ll know you have it too when you regularly give in to an overwhelming urge to start working on something new (and amazing) instead of wrapping up your current projects.
And Idea Surplus Disorder isn’t only an individual affliction — organizations can suffer from it, too!
Though “ISD” isn’t (usually) fatal, the cumulative results of pursuing new ideas at the expense of finishing others can have debilitating impacts on your business and your team.
Because Idea Surplus Disorder is incurable — at least I hope so — I’ve begun to treat my case by learning to “quarantine” my newest ideas. From Wikipedia:
Quarantine is compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous, often but not always disease.
Whenever I have a great idea, I capture it so I don’t lose it, but then I wait at least 90 days before I give it any more of my time. This “compulsory” waiting period keeps me from starting work on a poorly-formed idea I’ll later lose passion for. It also gives me time to think about the idea and socialize it with friends and colleagues. If I’m still enamored with it once the 90 days have passed, it goes straight to the top of my “To Do” list.
By creating a process to postpone and ultimately resurface the ideas I have, I’ve learned to devote more energy working on what matters now, knowing that if my new idea still feels as “shiny” in 90 days as it does today, we’ll both be ready for a long term relationship.
You can download your own version of our Idea Quarantine Poster here.