As artists and crafters, we are often captivated by an abundance of creative ideas and projects that spark our imagination. However, this can quickly become a curse when we fall victim to too many ideas, also known as Shiny Object Syndrome. This phenomenon pulls us away from our current work, leaving unfinished projects in its wake and leading to frustration and burnout and ultimately a creative block. In this blog post, we'll explore how practicing self-care can help artists and crafters overcome Shiny Object Syndrome, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling creative journey.
Shiny Object Syndrome, also known as SOS, is the tendency to get easily distracted by new, exciting ideas or projects, abandoning current ones in favor of novelty. For artists and crafters, this can manifest as starting multiple projects simultaneously without ever completing any of them; or frequently switching between ideas without dedicating enough time to make significant progress; or feeling overwhelmed by the number of ideas but not having enough time to pursue them causing a block altogether.
If this sounds like you, then keep reading to learn ways on how to overcome this debilitating creative setback.
Set Clear Goals and Priorities
One of the most effective ways to combat Shiny Object Syndrome is to establish clear goals and priorities. Begin by listing all your ongoing projects and arrange them based on their importance, size, and deadlines. Take the time to brain dump any creative or personal errands that pop up during this process. By knowing what requires immediate attention in all areas of your life, you can avoid getting sidetracked by new and exciting ideas. Plan to regularly review and update your list to stay focused on your creative journey.
Break Down Big Projects into Small Tasks
Large projects can be overwhelming, making it easier to procrastinate and get distracted by new ideas that don’t seem as daunting. Combat this by breaking down significant undertakings into smaller, manageable tasks. Celebrating each accomplishment as you complete these tasks can boost your motivation and help you maintain momentum throughout the project.
Create a List of Future Ideas
Now that you have your main project picked out, that doesn’t mean your other ideas need to be discarded. It's natural to have an abundance of creative ideas flooding your mind. Rather than allowing them to distract you from your current work or get lost forever, create a list of these future ideas. Jot them down in a notebook, assuring yourself that you won't forget these valuable inspirations. Revisit this list when you're ready to take on a new project.
Develop a Routine
Creating a structured routine is essential for artists seeking to balance their passion projects with daily responsibilities. Incorporate your art into your schedule by setting aside specific blocks of time dedicated solely to your craft, whether it’s 30 minutes every evening after work or several hours on the weekends. As you adhere to this routine, you'll find it easier to avoid distractions and remain committed to your current work.
Create the Workspace
Make your creative space a spot where you want to sit down and be every day. Add plants and candles and decorate with soothing colors that inspire you. An organized workspace plays a vital role in minimizing distractions. Keep your creative area tidy and ensure that all your tools are easily accessible. A clutter-free workspace fosters a focused and productive mindset, preventing the allure of shiny objects from derailing your progress. Set aside a designated space to leave your project and materials at the ready for you to jump in at any point without the hassle of setting and cleaning up before and after each session.
Embrace the Power of Saying No
While it's tempting to say yes to every new project or collaboration; or to dive headfirst into every new idea that inspires you, being selective is crucial in maintaining focus. Set yourself clear boundaries. How many projects can you realistically handle? Assess each opportunity and whether it aligns with your long-term goals. Politely declining projects that do not fit your vision allows you to channel your energy into your current endeavors. You can also write in on your list for future projects and come back to it later if the muse is still there!
Mindfulness practices can significantly aid in combating Shiny Object Syndrome. Engage in activities like journaling, meditation, or simply stepping outside for a breath of fresh air to ground yourself to the present surroundings. Unplug regularly from technology and social media to prevent information overload and maintain focus on the life that is right in front of you. These moments of mindfulness will help you stay in your body and provide clarity during intense artistic endeavors.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Make self-care a priority in your life. Take time for rest, relaxation, and activities that nourish your body, mind, and soul. Our creative energy is like an abundant well inside of us and it is vital that we maintain it and keep it from becoming empty. Get up and move your body, read a book to stimulate your mind, or plan an adventurous outing with your loved ones to spark your muse and excitement. Be sure to prioritize whatever it is that fills your well. When you're rested and relaxed, you can approach your creative endeavors with renewed energy and focus and ultimately accomplish more projects.
Shiny Object Syndrome can be a stumbling block in the creative journey of artists and crafters, leading to unfinished projects and frustration. However, with mindful self-care practices, we can overcome this distraction and nurture our creativity more effectively. By prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, embracing completion, and maintaining a nurturing creative environment, artists and crafters can cultivate a more balanced and fulfilling artistic path. So, take care of yourself, embrace the joy of creation, and watch your creativity flourish like never before!