How to overcome Shiny New Toy Syndrome

Shiny New Toy Syndrome

Three things make $10 Tim happy as a pig in mud.

The Whoopie cushion feature on a Tesla.

A Hawaiian Pizza. (Yup, the kind with cooked ham and pineapple.)

And going to the Apple store.

Every time he steps foot through those majestic glass doors and sees rows of shiny aluminum devices basking in beautiful natural light – an angel is born.

And today (you may recall Tim’s Broken Promise List), he’s making amends to his 6-year old daughter Ellie.

With a brand new iPad Pro.

Tim goes through the check out with a very helpful employee who reads back all the options.

iPad Pro (M1 chip, of course): $1,399

Cellular connectivity: $200

Magic Keyboard: $349

Apple Pencil: $129

Tax: $212

Tim’s final amount, $2,294.

The total makes his head spin.

Weren’t iPads, like, $600? Isn’t a new laptop $1,500?

Too late. He double-clicks his Watch to pay and they head home.


$10K Tina has also been eyeing the new iPad M1.

I mean, it’s a thing of beauty. The Ultra Wide Cameras. The Liquid Retina display. 5G connectivity.

But Tina’s always wary about taking on a Shiny New Toy. She’s burned herself in the past.

She didn’t need an Oura Ring – she just needed to go to bed earlier.

A fitness mirror? Nope, burpees still suck.

A Sony a6400 DLSR camera? Sorry, she’s too old to be a YouTuber.

Hey, it’s me. SNTS in the flesh.

Tina’s antidote to Shiny New Toy syndrome?

A Sludge Account. (It’s a concept she adapted from behavioral finance’s Nudge Theory.)

Her Sludge Account is a simple sub-account at Marcus (her online bank) where she can seamlessly move funds between checking, high-yield savings, and Sludge.

The rules of her Sludge Account are simple.

If she wants a Shiny New Toy, she moves the cash into the sub-account.

The money then sits there for 3 weeks.

After 3 weeks, if she still wants the Shiny New Toy, she buys it.

And if she no longer wants it, she invests the money in her sons’ 529 College Savings Plan.

Over the years, she’s surprised herself. Her buy rate after 3 weeks of sludge is under 10%.


“Another iPad!?!?!?!”

$10 Tim’s wife Kathy is besides herself as he walks through the door.

Ironically, she’d just been organizing the their home office where she had laid out the following:

With each purchase, Tim had a very specific outcome in mind.

  1. Read daily for half an hour
  2. Lose 15 lbs (with the Keelo app)
  3. Create his dream “Productivity Hub” in Notion
  4. Start a regular blogging practice

(Not to mention 4 Kindles, 2 Apple Watches and a FitBit.)

And now an iPad to deepen the daddy-daughter connection?

“I hate to break it to you,” she mumbles under her breath, “but it doesn’t work that way.”


Once the 3 weeks passed in her Sludge Account, $10K Tina smashes the buy button on Apple’s website. For Tina, her iPads play a very targeted role in her life. She calls them her “Creativity Engines.”

Her confidence in this $2,294 purchase came from her deep understanding in how to overcome Shiny New Toy Syndrome using the $10K Flywheel that she learned in Supercharge Your Productivity.

You see, even though Tina has been in sales for a decade – deep in her heart she’s a bleeding creative. And her iPad(s) act as a true vessel for her creative expression.

But that’s not enough. Tina knows that she needs specific Behavior Change so that iPad truly makes her life better.

First, she’s got to separate church and state. No Slack, email, Asana, WhatsApp, Twitter, and – definitely – no Instagram. (YouTube is ok for creative tutorials.)

Tina also knows that she can’t let a new iPad break her “Devices Off” rule. Over the past 3 years, her Keystone Habit (sleep) requires her to shut down all her devices by 7:30 PM. This sleek piece of glass will definitely aim to derail this self-imposed rule.

And finally, there’s no way her boys are getting their yucky hands on it to play Fortnite. (That screen’s gotta stay crack-free.)

Tina’s also Self-Aware to understand a few things about her new iPad.

She understands that her creative pursuits don’t have any goals.

She’s honest with herself that she’s not trying to grow an audience, “flex” towards her colleagues or grow a side hustle. Despite the pressure to “ship” and “learn in public,” her creative practice is an intimate one that she keeps to herself.

But most importantly, she’s fully aware that there are no external solutions to internal problems. If she’s feeling stuck, unmotivated, low-energy, or in the depths of impostor syndrome – an iPad will not fix that.


$10 Tim and Ellie race to open up all their new goodies. The minimalist white Apple packaging is strewn all over the floor and Ellie marvels at the static cling of the plastic wrap.

They set up the Wifi, Apple ID and start downloading some apps. Ellie rattles off a her favorites: Pokemon Playhouse. Kodable. Animal Crossing.

“You promise you won’t put your boring work apps on it,” asks Ellie.

“I promise sweetheart,” he answers. (He wants to explain that Coinbase isn’t “daddy’s work,” but lets it slide.)

They are snuggling and giggling – having the time of their lives. Heck, it looks like one of those “Shot on iPhone” Apple commercials.

Ellie takes a time-out. She’s hungry and runs to get a granola bar from the pantry.

Once alone, Tim is overcome by a supernatural force.

An out-of-body experience.

He can’t explain it and doesn’t know where it’s coming from.

But his fingers head straight to the App Store and start typing.

C… O… I… N… B… A

Coinbase is now downloading on his daughter’s new iPad.

This external force then moves onto its next target, Google Authenticator.

Within 2 minutes, Tim’s crypto balances are loading – right as Ellie returns.

She’s besides herself upon seeing that Pikachu has been replaced by a series of red line graphs.

He tries to quickly Cmd-Tab – but that doesn’t work on an iPad.

And besides, it’s too late. The damage has been done.

On the way out, Ellie delivers one last burn. “Even I know Dogecoin is a stupid idea.”


We’ve all had our encounters with Shiny New Toy Syndrome.

The iPads in that story? Those are mine. I know what it’s like to search for external solutions to internal challenges.

Supercharge Your Productivity is based on the simple truth that there are no quick fixes.

Whether you’re looking to scale your business, make a career pivot or be a damn good parent – an iPad won’t help.

But when you layer in the reflection, identify your blockers, and actually change your behavior – THEN your tools will take you to the next level.

Let’s fast-track your life’s biggest priorities in 4-weeks. Join Supercharge Your Productivity today, enrollment ends on 5/31.

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