If You Give A Mouse A Cookie Syndrome


If you give a writer a blank screen,

she’s going to start to surf the web.

And while she is surfing the web, she will buy some new shoes from the Nordstrom sale.

Then she will want a new dress to go with the shoes.

When she finds the dress she likes,

she might notice that the shoes aren’t quite right after all.

So she’ll probably click over to Zappos.com.

After she finds a pair on Zappos,

she will want to enter her charge into quickbooks.

Then she will start reconciling her bank statement.

She might get carried away and reconcile her business account as well.

She may even decide to check the balances on her IRA and her vacation fund.

When she’s done, she will probably begin planning her next vacation.

She’ll probably go to Trip Advisor, begin checking out reviews, opening a couple extra windows for Expedia and Hotels.com.

She’ll probably decide to open her Evernote file on “Vacations.”

When she opens Evernote, she’ll glance through her other files and gets excited when she see a recipe for Birthday Truffle Cake.

She will want to make the cake.

Which means she will need to order the ingredients from Amazon Fresh.

Typing the word “amazon” into the search bar will remind her that she wants to buy a book on blogging.

So…she’ll go to Amazon’s book site instead.

And chances are, if she buys a book on blogging,

she’s going to need a blank screen to write her post.

Sound familiar?

Me too.  Writing, cleaning, creating a marketing plan, having a difficult conversation at work…the list goes on.  I will Mouse-Cookie Syndrome just about anything.

Maybe it’s ADHD, maybe it’s procrastination or maybe it’s human nature, I don’t know.  What I do know is that hours can pass by and the screen can remain blank, the closet disorganized, the marketing plan still a mere idea and the hard words left unsaid because something else (or somethings else) capture my attention and move me off my goal.

How do you fight Mouse-cookie syndrome?  Sometimes you acknowledge that Mouse-Cookie syndrome is a logical outgrowth of a curious mind.  Sometimes you will yourself to rise above it for the greater goals.  Sometimes you shape your path so the “milk” never enters into the equation–you shut down the internet, you place your credit card in a different room and you simply begin to work on the smallest piece of the project you can to move the work forward.

And, sometimes you just buy the pair of shoes, because who doesn’t love new shoes?  Or more cookies?

(With apologies and gratitude to the brilliant children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff)