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  • Writer's pictureLauren Hass

Do You Suffer From "Bright Shiny Object Syndrome?"

Updated: Aug 30, 2023


My clients are surprised at my insistence that they do not leave the room in which we are working to put something away in its proper place. They’ll then jokingly ask for permission to use the restroom.


But they know this guideline is important. Bright Shiny Object Syndrome (BSOS) is most widely used in business to describe “a continual state of distraction brought on by an ongoing belief that there is something new worth pursuing. It often comes at the expense of what’s already planned or underway" (productplan.com); its origin is in reference to the child who is always attracted to a shiny new toy.


In the professional organizing context, I think of BSOS as our tendency to get distracted and off-track instead of staying focused on what we’re doing. I apply it to my work with clients in this way: If you leave the room to put a coffee mug from the bedroom back into the kitchen, you might be distracted by the dishes in the sink or the mail that someone just brought inside, and you’ll take way too long to come back and start working again.

Staying where you are increases efficiency in the decluttering process by helping you a) stay focused and b) concentrate your “putting things away” time into one walk around the house. If you’re constantly leaving the room to put things away, you will likely get distracted, plus you will waste that much more time going back and forth.


Instead, we leave a pile by the door or load up a bin of “items to be delivered elsewhere in the home” and when it’s full, or when we’re ready to take a break, we leave the room with the pile and return each item to its proper home. Productive, practical and way more efficient.


If you suffer from BSOS, try it! Rather than leaving the room or going downstairs with one item in your hand, wait until the job is done or a bunch of items accumulate and then make the trip. Minimize the effort…and your exposure to the distracting bright shiny objects!

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