E72: Procrastination is a sign you are out of alignment

I was so out of alignment that procrastination was the only tool that I knew of, whether consciously or subconsciously, to distance myself from the thing that I didn't want to do."

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

 You’ve spent years following productivity hacks, everything from time blocking, to “eating the frog” and yet procrastination still hits you hard. What if instead procrastination is a sign that there’s something out of alignment? That’s what we’re covering in this week’s episode of Transcend.

 In this episode, I share how procrastination can be a sign of misalignment in our personal and business lives. Through my experience as a full-time litigator, I realized that my procrastination stemmed from a lack of alignment with my current work, especially when I no longer enjoyed the court experience. I emphasize that procrastination isn’t a productivity issue but an indication that we’re out of alignment with our goals.

 In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover hidden reasons behind procrastination and its impact on personal and business growth.
  • Pinpoint tasks that may be hindering the achievement of your individual goals.
  • Start delegating tasks for better professional growth and overall success.
  • Embrace prioritizing your personal strengths in your business endeavors.
  • Discover the benefits of coaching services to enhance alignment between personal and professional goals.

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

0:00:00 – Introduction,

Asha Wilkerson introduces herself as a business coach helping service-based entrepreneurs align their business goals with their personal goals to create a life they want to show up for.

00:00:45 – Procrastination as a Sign of Misalignment,

Asha shares her realization that procrastination is actually a sign of misalignment, and not just a lack of motivation or productivity. She discusses how we are taught various tips and tricks to overcome procrastination, but when those don’t work, it’s a sign to reassess our alignment.

00:02:05 – Example of Misalignment,

Asha shares a personal story about her time as a litigator, how she initially enjoyed being in court and advocating for her clients, but eventually found herself procrastinating more and more on the work. She discusses how this procrastination affected her mental health and her relationships with her clients.

00:05:00 – Identify Tasks Out of Alignment,

Asha advises listeners to identify the tasks that are no longer in alignment with their skills or desires. She encourages them to ask themselves who would be better suited to complete those tasks, and to make a plan to delegate or eliminate them.

00:09:26 – Coaching Support,

Asha offers coaching support for those who need help reassessing their alignment and identifying tasks to delegate or eliminate. She encourages listeners to book a call with her or another coach to make a plan for their business that aligns with their strengths and goals.

Resources Mentioned:

00:29 Hi there. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the podcast. I am delighted that you are here. I’m so happy that you are listening to me every week, listening with me every week. And if this is your first time here, welcome, welcome.

00:42 Today I’m going to be talking to you about procrastination. It hit me the other day that procrastination is probably really just a sign of misalignment. Not probably. Procrastination actually is a sign of misalignment. But that’s not what we’re taught.

00:59 That’s not what we’re told. When we’re younger, there are so many tips and tricks and methods to get us to do things faster, wake up earlier, do all the hard things first. Make a to do list. If you’re like me. Make a to do list and create your own little square boxes so you can check them off.

01:16 Give yourself a little reward at the end after you’ve done the thing. But what happens if none of those things actually motivate you to get this stuff done? I have been there. I am currently there. And I know that for me and for you, it’s a sign of misalignment.

00:01:35 Let me tell you about a time that I was misaligned before. It was when I was litigating. I was a full time litigator, full time attorney that was going to court on a regular basis for employment litigation matters. And I was doing all of the things that the profession told me that I needed to do. I was going out, meeting people, getting new clients.

00:01:54 I was filing the initial complaints for the cases, showing up to court. And at some point, maybe a couple of years into it, I found myself really dreading getting out of bed in the morning. I dreaded going to the office. I hated it when the email would come through. I learned to turn that notification off really early.

00:02:13 It used to be exciting when my phone would ring because I felt like some sense of importance, someone’s calling me. And then all of a sudden, I wanted to turn everything on silent. I didn’t want to call anybody back. I wanted to have my secretary at the time, my receptionist at the time, correspond with clients for me. And I realized that I was not doing the thing that I wanted to be doing anymore at some point, litigating and being in court was fun.

00:02:40 It was enjoyable. It was new. I liked it. I was ready to develop my skills and enjoyed being in front of the judges and enjoyed not so much the argument back and forth, but the advocacy for my clients. And then when I realized that I was waiting until the end of the day to open my email, that I was ducking and dodging the phone calls, that I was really procrastinating on getting the work done, finally it clicked that this was not what I was supposed to be doing anymore.

00:03:09 Not necessarily the whole thing of being an attorney, because I’m still an attorney, but the thing of going to court and litigating and what did the procrastination do for me and do in my business? It really hurt. It hurt because mentally, I was overwhelmed. I knew that there were things that I needed to get done, didn’t want to get them done. So I would be waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the stuff that I didn’t get done that day, the stuff that I was going to have to get done the next day or in a few hours when it was time to get up.

00:03:38 The things that I really didn’t want to do, I was thinking about the things I wanted to be doing instead. And it created this mental, this in internal friction. It also hurt my work with my clients. Because now, instead of giving myself maybe days or weeks to do the thing that needed to be done to write the motion, to file the document, to call opposing counsel, I was waiting longer and longer and longer, getting closer and closer and closer to the deadline because I didn’t want to do it anymore. I was so out of alignment that procrastination was the only tool that I knew of, whether consciously or subconsciously, to distance myself from the thing that I didn’t want to do.

00:04:18 And it hurt my relationship with my clients. Not in the sense of I dramatically messed anything up, but I would wait a day or two to call people back. And everybody, especially when you’re dealing with an attorney, everything is like earth shattering, life changing. Right? People are in the throes of the most challenging times of their lives, and so they want to be able to get to their attorney right away.

00:04:42 And I couldn’t handle it. I had to put some distance and some space between me. I still wanted to represent and advocate for my clients, but it made me annoyed. It made me annoyed with them, in a sense, because I didn’t want to be bothered, because I didn’t want to do the work that I was being asked to do, or not even that I was being asked to do, that I had signed up to do. Does that resonate with you all at all?

00:05:03 Do you see yourselves waiting until the end of the day, waiting until the end of the week, waiting until almost right before the deadline to do the work that needs to be done? If you see yourself in that story, that means that the work that you are doing is out of alignment. Now, I don’t believe that all work is going to be super joyful and super fun. There’s always some fantastic sides of things that you love doing and some shadow sides that aren’t as great but you can still get them done. But when you find yourself putting things off on a consistent basis use that as your sign not to get a better productivity hack or better productivity tool, but to realign and to assess where you are and what you’re doing and does it align with your skill set anymore?

05:51 And just because it did at one time and it no longer does at this time doesn’t mean that you have messed up. We are people that grow and evolve, we create families, we create trips that we go on, we create new friends, we have different dynamics, we’re growing and changing internally, we’re getting more mature, we’re deciding we don’t have time or energy for this, that or the third. We are not meant to stay in the exact same place that we were when we first signed up for this job, when we first started this business, or when we first made this commitment. So take the judgment off of yourself. Stop beating yourself up.

06:28 Stop thinking that if you got up 30 minutes earlier, you would just do better and give yourself the space and the grace to be curious about whether the work that you were doing or the tasks that you’re procrastinating on is really in alignment with who you are today and what you want to be doing. The first step is to identify the tasks that are no longer in alignment and then the second step is once you’ve identified the tasks that are no longer in alignment with you, it’s to ask yourself who would be better at doing this task? Who is this task created for? Who is the right person for it? Who does it come easily and naturally to?

07:06 And once you can identify that person either by name or by job description, maybe this would be something that would be better for someone who specializes in marketing. For me, for example, I feel like I’m terrible at social media marketing. I have stuff going on, I’m not publicizing it enough. I really need someone who can come in and create that content calendar and create I’m someone who’s really good at the graphics but I’m not someone who can take that planning off of my brain because I’m still very involved in it. It’s not where I shine best.

07:40 I shine best at working with and coaching with my clients. And so now I’ve identified someone who can help me with the graphics. And now I need to identify someone who can actually help me with the marketing plan and to create the captions and the words that go out there into the Internet space and find you all. And then once I’ve identified that or now that I have identified that my next step is to make a plan to get it off of my plate and onto theirs. So first, you identify the task that’s no longer in alignment.

08:12 Second, you identify the person or the solution, the resource that you need that would be better in alignment for completing the task. And then third, you make a plan to move that task from your plate onto the other plate. This is what I do frequently with my clients that I coach with one on one. I have worked with an advertising agency owner, worked with a number of people in the healthcare profession from Chiropractors to Acupuncturists. I’ve worked with attorneys, I’ve worked with all kinds of folks business coaches, leadership coaches, and we all go through the same thing.

08:47 Initially we take on a number of tasks, eventually we grow and we decide that some of these tasks are no longer in alignment with us. And then we have to take the brave action to remove those tasks from our plate and to put them on to somebody else’s. Part of it that I needed as I was growing in my business, especially as a young attorney, was permission. I needed permission to not do the things that I didn’t want to do. I needed permission to think outside the box.

09:15 I needed permission to create a business that played to my strengths instead of trying to fit myself into a box that wasn’t made for me. So if you are feeling like you are procrastinating and things are out of alignment and you’re not sure what to do or how to do it. You’re not sure if you can be a social worker and not have a traditional social work practice. If you’re not sure that you can be a coach and not do things the way you see all the coaches on Instagram doing them, then it’s time for you to book a call with me or with a coach. So we can take a look at your business and look at your skill set and decide what is truly for you and what you can delegate or eliminate.

10:04 I have some coaching spots coming up soon. Take a look at the link in the Show Notes to get on my call calendar so we can talk about whether or not one on one coaching is right for you. I would love to work with you to make a plan so that you are doing the things in your business that align with you so you can stop procrastinating and wake up each day ready to tackle the things that you need to do in your business to move the needle forward. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

10:31 Thank you so much for listening. If you want to hear more on how you can align your business and your life with me as a coach, head to the Show Notes and sign up for the email list. See you next week.

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