Energy Sucking Black Holes in Business

I meet a wonderfully wide range of people in a typical week, and this one has been no exception. Despite the huge differences, a common theme has been emerging – the phenomenon of Energy Sucking Black Holes. We all have things we know we should do, but haven’t acutally done yet. There is a variety of reasons for this – we’re busy doing other things, the job is not something we enjoy doing or the project is just too big and scary to even think about. Sounding familiar?

So this job sits on the ‘to do’ list… glaring at you! It starts to haunt you – it interupts your sleep and invades your private moments of solitude and reflection. It begins to take on a life of its own. As a consequence, whatever the reason you haven’t got around to doing this thing seems to become more real also – if the job was scary yesterday, its terrifying today! If you might have found 5 minutes to make a start on it yesterday, there’s no way you can do that today… you’re just too busy!!!

You know the job is important, or else you would have crossed it off your ‘to do’ list days ago. Bad things will happen if it doesn’t get done. That makes you afraid. Fear breed paralysis. And saps your energy. Before you know it… you’ve created an Energy Sucking Black Hole. To an outsider, they’re easy to spot. The person your talking to is distracted. They’ve got 100 good reasons why the job hasn’t been done yet. They are busy doing other stuff. But you can see the energy being drained and performance drops. The spiral is self-perpetuating.

STOP! Step outside yourself for a moment, stand next to me and look at the situation as an outsider. We don’t have the emotional baggage, things are much clearer from out here. How to tackle this sucker? Here’s a few techniques to get you started.

Forget an A+, you just need a ‘Pass’. Perfectionists often set themselves very high standards. Often, this is a good thing. But not when it makes the bar so high you’ll never get over it. Aim to get the job done… just done. Nothing fancy, just finished. There is more good in a project finished to a reasonable level than the best project in the world never getting off the ground.

Take a different approach. If the idea of walking into your office, turning on your PC and writing that report fills you with dread, don’t do it. Put on a Hawiian shirt, grab the laptop and find yourself at a table at that cool café on the beach. Or take some fancy note paper and a purple fountain pen. We’re after a result here, it doesn’t matter how it gets done.

We all know how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. So make your first step breaking this huge, scary monster of a project down into cute little bite sized pieces.

Step 1. Write your plan. Make a fancy title page. Turn off the PC and celebrate the completion of Step 1 with a nice glass of wine. Just make sure you come back for a similarly easy Step 2 tomorrow.

Sorting out your filing cabinet, writing your marketing plan or making an appointment with your bookkeeper can be daunting, but the pain of dealing with an Energy Sucking Black Hole is far worse. Go on… just do it!

Richard Everson

Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra


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