How to Banish Pinball Syndrome & Rock Your Pinball Wizard

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It’s the season for magic. It’s in the air.


Magic has been a theme for me lately, what with my discovery of my Nana’s magical kingdom & my upcoming website redesign influenced by my archetypes (one of which is alchemist- bring on the magic of transformation!).


Magic is also something that came to mind when I read Todd Davis’ article Pinball Syndrome, because it immediately made me think of the magical Pinball Wizard by the Who. Yes, I’m a child of the 70’s.



Shiny Object Syndrome

The magic of the season can easily be tarnished by shiny object syndrome. You know the one, the _____ (insert people, objects, demands on our time) that promise big but delivers poorly or not at all (unless you call capturing our precious attention delivering).


Like pinballs flying around without aim or direction, shiny object syndrome can pull you off focus & off track. Whether it be the new bauble you’re pressured to buy or the promise of completing an over flowing to do list, how do you separate the glam from the false glitz, the hollow promise from the genuinely enriching (& I’m talking more than just moola)?


Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash

In short how do you become a pinball wizard, aka in control of those shiny baubles?


Davis has some suggestions. First though, let’s see if you’re a sufferer of pinball syndrome:


  • You’re busy but you’re not accomplishing much


  • You’re bustling … with tasks that give you the charge that comes from getting something done in the moment, but that don’t move you toward your chief goal.


  • You’re too busy to get anything done.


Did any or all resonate? If so you’re likely suffering from pinball syndrome.



But wait, don’t loose hope.


Here’s what Davis suggests to recover (& to which I’ve added a few). May the medicine go down smoothly.

Photo by Jonas Vincent on Unsplash

  1. Praise.  Seriously, pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a high five. This is a wonderful time to reflect on BIG QUESTIONS like these. Kudos for reading this article & reflecting.


A quick sidebar: I’m designing an online course to help you plan for a fun, fab 2018. Interested?

See the form below for how to be put on the (no obligation) mailing list.


  1. Productivity. Stop measuring productivity in terms of busyness. Instead, figure out your overarching purpose, your ‘why’ & then measure whether you’re generally aligned with that or not. This is a super important step towards getting IMPORTANT STUFF done.


  1. Prioritize. Davis says first, and perhaps most important, is to determine what is truly important or what is simply urgent. Do you know what your biggest goals are for the quarter, and for the year? What could you accomplish that would really power the business forward, and make you a star in the process? Get clear on those goals.


4. Plan.  Sit down every Sunday and chart out the week. Decide what each day’s goal will be and have a plan to stick to it. You might need to block out time. Other things can wait. Amazingly, urgent but unimportant tasks often resolve themselves with the simple passage of time, says Davis.


  1. Practice procedures. No matter how hard you try to squeeze out more, there’s only so many hours in a day. You’ll feel like you have more hours though if you stop wasting time trying to find that thingamajig or that whatchamacallit. Put systems into place that bring you ease & efficiency so you can focus on your priorities. Consider systems like: use a social bookmarking tool like Diigo so you can find resources fast, create Google alerts to help you research, using a virtual assistant (full disclosure that’s a referral link as I’ve used the VA company GetFriday for more than a decade now).



And pat yourself on the back again. You’ve come full circle. With a little persistence your pay off can be big & you can kiss those pinballs or shiny object syndrome, goodbye for good. Just remember that productivity doesn’t always equal busyness, that figuring out your priorities is well, a high priority & then plan accordingly, with systems to help you achieve ease & efficiency.




Annnnnnnd take action:


  • Grab your journal & go through the steps above to say goodbye to pinball syndrome & hello to pinball wizardry


  • Fill in this form to be added to the list to get more information on my online course, planning or a fun fab 2018



Todd Davis, who I quoted in this post,  is the Chief People Officer of FranklinCovey, the company founded by Stephen Covey of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” franchise. His book, Get Better: 15 Proven Processes to Build Effective Relationships at Work was just published


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