Toll #9 – Know Your Personal Black Holes

We all know what a black hole is: it’s a region in space that has so much mass that nothing, not even light, can escape.  Black holes make a great metaphor for our lives, most of us have activities that suck us in so strongly that once we start them, we just can’t seem to quit.

For some people, it’s the computer, especially Facebook, games and YouTube.  For others it’s the television:  “I’ll just watch this one program, then I’ll get to work.”  One program becomes two, and before you know it, the evening is wasted.  When we indulge in one of our black holes, it’s almost like we gain 1000 pounds and we just don’t have the physical strength to move away from it.

Think about what your personal black holes are, and be aware that if you indulge in them when you have something else to do, you will probably be sabotaging yourself.

Does this mean that you should never engage in an activity you enjoy because it’s a black hole?  Of course not.  In fact you can use your black hole as a reward for having accomplished a goal.  However, beware– there are some black holes that we engage in not because we enjoy them, but just because they are “there”, and we use them for avoidance.  These are the ones you need to be mindful of.  Sometimes you just need to relax with something mindless, and that’s okay.  But if you find that you are often just wasting time with something, it’s a black hole just sucking you in.  Yyou may need to do all you can to stay away from it.

If possible, physically separate yourself from the time killer.  I had a client that would take her iPad to bed with her intending to read, but then end up staying up very late playing Scrabble.  She stopped taking the iPad upstairs with her at night and and that solved the problem.  Instead, she went back to reading good old-fashioned books.

Some Facts About Personal Black Holes

According to a recent Nielson study, Americans spend approximately 2 hours a day on the Internet.  The time was divided as follows:  Social networking/blogs 22.5%; Online games 9.8%; email 7.6%; portals 4.5%; Videos/movies 4.4%; Search 4%; Instant Messaging 3.3%; Software manufacturer 3.2%; Classified/auctions 2.9%; Current events and global news 2.6; All other (including porn) 35.1%.

On an average day, Americans over the age of 15 spend 2.7 hours watching TV – that’s over 41 days/year! (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

How Can Coaching Help?

For some people, staying away from their black holes is easy.  But for many, just knowing about them isn’t enough.  They are too seductive when you are avoiding something.  As a coach, I can work with you to look at obstacles, examine beliefs and mindsets that are contributing to your procrastination.  It’s not always obvious what is holding you back.  Life coaches are trained to look deeper, ask the right questions, and find out why you might be stuck.  “The thinking that created the problem is probably not going to solve the problem.*”  I can help you find new insights and figure out what is in the way of success, thereby helping you achieve your goals.  If you have tried to make a change, but did not succeed, coaching can make the difference.

Email me at Linda@JoyofGTD.com if you would like to set up a time for a complimentary consultation.

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