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Ep. 108 – Procrastination before, during and after Divorce

Is procrastination holding you back from filing, getting through or getting over your divorce? Doreen and Jeff discuss how to turn your procrastinations into motivations. Don’t let procrastination paralyze your goals towards your amazing life after divorce.


Doreen: Hey, my friends. Today we’re gonna talk about divorce procrastination. So if you are ready, let’s get started.

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Hi. How are you, Doreen?

Doreen: I’m good, Jeffrey.

Jeff: Jeffrey. Doreen Marie.

Doreen: All right. So divorce procrastination.

Jeff: Wow.

Doreen: Well, let’s talk first about why we’re talking about this. We are, I guess, both reading some books from the well-known Dan Sullivan, who is a, strategic business coach. If you have heard of him before, great. If you haven’t, you might wanna look him up. I think he’s got some cool things to teach, but one of the things that really struck us is we were watching, actually, we were watching one of his YouTube seminars, and he was talking about procrastination. What did he say that like, just kind of hit with us?

Jeff: Well, I think one of the things that really struck me is that everybody has some kind of form of procrastination, and you can take that procrastination and turn it into motivation and turn it into energy, and it can be a positive thing.

Doreen: Well, yeah, we all know we can do these things. The question is, how do we know? But I think what was really most eye-opening and that aha moment for me was when he suggested that the things that you are procrastinating about are exactly the things you should be doing.

Jeff: Exactly

Doreen: And I thought, Oh my gosh, this like hits home because for example, I’m gonna say about working out, you know, you and I both have good intentions to always work out. Like I think we’re kind of a family that enjoys working out and we’re pretty athletic, right?

Jeff: Yes.

Doreen: But how many times it’s like we just procrastinate about getting to the gym or going for a walk or whatever it is, and it was like, yeah. So when I think about all the things that I procrastinate about, ’cause you know we all do, those are the things that I know I should be doing.

Jeff: Right. You know, the other thing that he said that really struck me was if you hear the two words that you’re going to see some kind of form of procrastination, the words are either should.

Doreen: I should be doing.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s as in, you know, you should have done.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: And then shouldn’t as in, shouldn’t but haven’t stopped.

Doreen: Right. Like, what’s an example of that?

Jeff: In other words, I shouldn’t be doing this because there’s something more important to be doing.

Doreen: Oh! In other words that you’re going into do, your mind is taking you and your actions are taking you somewhere else because you’re procrastinating. Right.

Jeff: Because he also said that procrastination is a very personal quiet thing that we don’t usually share our procrastinations, we kind of put ’em up in the attic or behind a closed door, and we don’t even think about ’em. Because your mind is gonna protect yourself because you realize you’re not living up to your potential.

Doreen: Well, yeah, and you know, for a lot of people, I think that, they do other things instead of doing what they’re procrastinating on, which are valid things, you know, things that they can justify that need to get done. You know, for example, if you are in business, you’re looking through your emails constantly, as opposed to working on what you know you need to work on in order to get to whatever your goal is.

Right? But those emails, they have to be looked at. So it seems valid. Like your brain is gonna, your thoughts are gonna validate it and really say, yeah, you know, you gotta get those emails looked at, but you know, you’re really procrastinating. So, turning to divorce the subject of divorce procrastination.

Very interesting. You know, so many times throughout my career I’ve had people that I could certainly identify who are procrastinating about getting divorced. And let’s just first say that, you know, if you can save your marriage, certainly that is a hundred percent probably worth trying, if that’s what you choose to do.

We’re not suggesting that you should run and get a divorce. I’m talking about those that really truly know in their heart of heart, or maybe their partner has told them they wanna divorce, or maybe they’re even separated and for one reason or another they are procrastinating about the divorce

Jeff: Or it’s amicable and they both agree.

Doreen: Both agree what?

Jeff: That they’re ready for a divorce

Doreen: And, but nobody does it.

Jeff: Nobody does anything about it.

Doreen: Right. I know one case, I’m not gonna mention it, but it’s been going on for longer than their marriage.

Jeff: Wow.

Doreen: They may have been separated for longer than the entirety of their marriage. They’re both procrastinating. So why do we do that? I think it’s a very human thing to procrastinate about going forward with the divorce, right? It’s a scary place to be. There’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot of sadness. There’s a lot of confusion. These are the types of emotions that come from thoughts. That you have about filing for the divorce moving forward with the divorce normal to have these feelings, right?

Jeff: Yeah. It could be embarrassment as well.

Doreen: It could be embarrassment. It could be about the children. You know, we hear.

Jeff: Protecting the children.

Doreen: I hear that a lot. You know, we waited because of the children

Jeff: And that just the opposite is true. We find in most cases.

Doreen: What’s that?

Jeff: That the children are better off.

Doreen: Well, right. I know what you’re gonna say is that most therapists are gonna say that the children are better off, but we could only quote what the therapists say ’cause we’re not therapists.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: But I don’t know, some therapists do say that. So if you’re procrastinating about the children because of the children, you might wanna go speak to a therapist or maybe look it up in the Googles and see what the Googles say, because we don’t know.

But you know, why do people who procrastinate about the divorce? Right? Because they’re afraid. And that’s a normal thought. However, it can be very, it can  be harmful not to move forward with the divorce.

Jeff: So you’re saying it’s a way that they protect themselves.

Doreen: Absolutely. You know, it’s a way of protecting yourself from the unknown, from the fear, from the anger, from the sadness. You don’t wanna go there, you don’t wanna get deeper into that emotion, and so you avoid it. You know, the thought of filing is scary to me because maybe someone’s thinking, I don’t know where I’m gonna live. I don’t know how I’m gonna survive. I don’t know how this is gonna, the children are gonna be devastated, like all these thoughts that are coming into your mind. And so instead of moving past and through those uncomfortable feelings, they decide not to. They procrastinate on the divorce and they do not take action. Right?

Jeff: Yeah. So what will it take for them to take action?

Doreen: Well, we gotta get there, but I first wanna talk about some of the things that, you know, some of the things that from at least a divorce perspective could be harmful or something that you might wanna consider if you are procrastinating? First of all, you touched on one, which is the children.

You know, talk to the therapist out there, see what they think about procrastinating about the divorce. Obviously it depends on what is the relationship between you and your partner. Is it a relationship where the children are witnessing anger and fights? Or maybe it’s distance and no love, or maybe you both are separated and you have children and the kids are confused like you are in one house and your partner’s in the other house.

You know, is this good for the children? Not for us to really talk about, but maybe something to consider. Right. One of the other things I wanted to talk about was from a legal perspective, filing the divorce filing date in most states matters. It is a cutoff date for the purposes of marital versus non-marital assets. So what that means generally, at least in Florida, is that the assets and for example, income that you receive after the date of the filing in which you now put into a savings account, or you have put into your 4 0 1 K, or if you use it to purchase assets, those assets after the date of the filing in Florida are considered your non-marital assets.

Jeff: Interesting.

Doreen: So by procrastinating to file for the divorce financially, that could be harmful to you. It may work to your advantage if you’re on the other side. You know, if you’re not the person making the dollars and you just your partner is, you know, every time they’re bringing you home a paycheck or putting money into an account, you’re getting at least a Florida that’s 50% yours, right?

So, that’s one of the things. The other thing is, again, I’m talking legal right now, but some of the reasons you might wanna not procrastinate as to a filing of a divorce, is that the longer you are married generally leads into the term of the support payment, the alimony payment, the spousal support.

So in Florida, the duration of the marriage does play a factor in that. The longer you’re married, the more you may get as far as alimony or the longer the term of the alimony might be. And there’s other things as well, that you could point on and maybe speak to a lawyer about specific to your state, to your county, to your jurisdiction. But there can be some repercussions by waiting.

The other thing is, you know, dealing with the reasons that you are procrastinating and really acknowledging your thoughts that’s creating whatever it is, emotion, which might be, let’s just say fear. A thought might be something like, I don’t know how I’m going to financially, you know, make it after the divorce. Right? The fear of that and so you become paralyzed. You procrastinate. So recognizing that fear is simply just the feeling you have from a thought. It’s not real, right? It’s not real. It’s false evidence appearing real. It’s not real. It hasn’t happened yet. It’s only a thought of what might happen.

And the truth be told, and I’ve talked about this in another podcast, there is sometimes in life, no other way to get to the other side of something that’s challenging other than to get right through it, to go through the divorce. There is no jumping over it, going under it or going around it. The only way to get to the other side of divorce is to go through it.

Jeff: Right. And we’ve always talked about this is a normal feeling for most that you’re gonna protect yourself against some kind of change, right? And there’s a lot of change that comes with divorce.

Doreen: But a lot of it can be very positive. And so what we’re suggesting is that to get to the other side, you know, let’s assume that you waited and you’re hanging out in this not happy marriage.

And that other person that was gonna be the person that you were gonna meet, you don’t know if that person is gonna be someone you’re gonna meet next week or a year from now. But I promise that if you’re still sitting at home with your soon to be ex because you’re waiting, you’re not gonna meet that person. You know, it’s kind of like that fork in the road and where your life is gonna take you.

Jeff: Which direction.

Doreen: So dealing with the thoughts that are causing you to be, I’m gonna use the word paralyzed because I’m gonna use that simultaneously or synonymously, I’m sorry. With procrastination, it paralyzes you when the only way to get through the divorce is just to go to do it. Right?

Jeff: Exactly. Yeah.

Doreen: So let’s turn now, and I’m kind of consuming this podcast, but I think it’s because, you know, with my experience being a lawyer for almost 30 years, I see a lot of people that come in and they procrastinate about filing, but they also procrastinate during the divorce. Right. And I know that you, you have been through your own divorce, so you can speak from your own experience. And you’ve assisted in some of our cases from time to time, but some of the things that during the divorce people procrastinate about also is an issue because it doesn’t feel good like having to fill out all these financial records, what we call financial affidavits. It doesn’t feel good, you know, getting all the records together and compiling them and giving ’em to your lawyer, if you’re handling it yourself, you know, putting them all together, it doesn’t feel good even figuring out which process you’re gonna use for divorce. Right? So we tend to avoid it. But why? Right. Why?

Jeff: Well, our mind will go away from hard work, and it is not easy,

Doreen: But the sooner we can assist and get through it by doing what’s needed, every jurisdiction, every state has its own requirements and a lot of states require records documents, financial affidavits, a parenting plan, a marital settlement agreement, a petition, an answer. Simple things, right?

Jeff: Yeah. Long list.

Doreen: Not simple things, I shouldn’t say that, but a laundry list of things, you can Google it and find it in your jurisdiction. Right? You gotta do this, and so the longer you wait on getting those records together, the longer it’s gonna take you to get through the divorce, which means more money.

Because if you hired a lawyer, it’s gonna cost you more as time goes by. It means less time on the other side of the divorce. It means healing sooner than later. Or not sooner than later, I apologize. Not sooner than later. Right. So procrastination during the divorce is a big thing too.

Jeff: Yeah. And like you said, you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side.

Doreen: No. So yeah, so my advice is like, really coach yourself on when you’re dealing with procrastination and divorce, either before the divorce or after or during the divorce. I’m sorry. Why, like control, like why am I doing this? Why am I not gathering these records? Right? What thought am I having?

Like, oh, this is overwhelming and I just don’t feel like doing this today. I’m so tired. Or, oh, the kids are home and I can’t get focused on this. Or, oh, you know, this just means I’m one step closer to the divorce and I really, I’m not sure if that that’s where I wanna go. Even though we’ve already filed, like you’ll always hear yourself talking as to the thought, creating it.

Jeff: Right. Make a commitment to getting it done.

Doreen: Just get it done. Get it done. And you know, if you have a lawyer, your lawyer’s gonna be happy about that because, well, I mean, good lawyers will because the sooner you can get it done, you sooner you can get it filed.

Get every, all your ducks in a row, the sooner you can get on to your life. Right? Finalize it. So let’s talk about after the divorce. Divorce procrastination after. Okay. Okay. So now what?

Jeff: Well, let’s think of some of the things that we can procrastinate on after divorce. Maybe getting out there and dating again.

Doreen: Right. So the thought might be something like, I’m not ready to date. Yeah. It looks like this.

Jeff: It’s scary.

Doreen: How about this one? I wouldn’t know even where to start to figure out dating now. I’ve been married for X amount of years. Right? Or maybe a thought that you would procrastinate.

I hear there’s so many like, you know, not so nice people out there. So I’m gonna procrastinate about that. I’m perhaps about getting myself out there.

Jeff: Yeah. Maybe it could be looking for a new career. Yeah. Maybe you have thoughts of you’re not good enough, or you don’t have any skills, or he’s always taken care of the finances,

Doreen: Or who’s gonna be interested in me? I’m divorced and you know, I’ve got, as they say, all this luggage, you know, I’ve got all this history. So all of these things that you are thinking about that are causing the procrastination are exactly the things you should be moving forward to. The thought I can’t get out there. It’s scary out there to date is exactly probably what you should be doing, or my thought I’m not good enough.

I don’t know what career or where I’m gonna go to find that career is exactly what you should be doing, which is getting into whatever research you have to do to figure it out. But you choose not to because the thought is, I don’t know where to start. This is too much for me. Those types of things. Right?

Jeff: Yeah. It sounds like your procrastinations are based on your thoughts.

Doreen: Well, it is, and that’s what you know Dan Sullivan was saying, is that those are exactly your clues as to what you should be doing. Isn’t that amazing though? Yeah. Whatever you’re procrastinating about is an indication likely of what you should be doing. Right?

Jeff: So, it’s kind of a, when we started the podcast about turning your procrastinations and the motivations. That’s kind of an exciting thing that if you know what you’re procrastinating about, you know what you need to do.

Doreen: You know, it’s so amazing because that was the aha moment for me. It’s like, you know, when I talked about earlier about going through your emails as opposed to really putting the nose to the grind and working on, you know, whatever it was, I said, you know, that required thought and effort, that’s exactly what you need to do. And if you did that, all the time, for example, looked at your, really studied your thoughts that are creating the procrastination. And you said those are the things I’m gonna do. I just wonder where the listeners could end up. I think that it could be such an amazing life, like you could accomplish so much more. Right.

Jeff: Right. I think that.

Doreen: Well, how do you suggest that you get through that? Like turning that procrastination? First, identifying it obviously is the biggest thing. Suggesting as we have now that those are exactly the things you should be moving into and probably the top of your list each day. Right?

Jeff: Well, do you have thoughts of you’re not confident enough and I wish I had the courage, or you don’t have the courage enough. Well, the only way you’re gonna be able to get the courage is change your thinking and make a commitment. A commitment to what you really want.

Doreen: Right? So if what you need to get through is confidence, you can build confidence, right? By learning things and just taking a step forward, right?

Because experience builds confidence. So, I’ll go back to something simple, which is working out. Maybe you’re like, oh God, I can’t get to the gym ’cause I really don’t even know what I’m doing there. Like, I have no idea what I’m doing. So, you know, but you know, you gotta do that, you know you wanna do that, you know, you’re procrastinating on it.

You want to be a healthier, fitter person. So every time you go to the gym, you get a little more confidence. The courage is what gets you there, right? The courage is the step you take when you walk through the door of the gym. The confidence is what you build over time by repetitive habit, even if it’s not perfect.

I wanna say something else. This was another aha moment for me. Okay. Why does everything, many times have to be all or nothing? I’m not gonna go to the gym until I understand exactly what I’m doing. I study it and I know, and I’m a hundred percent there. Or I’m not gonna go to the gym because I only have a half an hour, and I know I need to be there for an hour.

You know, our thinking about all or nothing, I have to be completely in with all the courage, all the confidence, all the knowhow, versus just taking a step in the right direction. Right?

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: Taking a step is better than not taking that step. It’s what builds the confidence. It’s what builds the repetitive habit. We just did this yesterday, right? Right. We were gonna go to the gym.

Jeff: Yeah. And we procrastinated and we talked about going to the gym all day long. And then when it came time to go to the gym, what happened?

Doreen: Well, what happens? Well, your brain, because this happens to us all the time, people, I mean, like, we do this stuff and we know our brain was like, no. It’s getting too late. Yeah.

Jeff: I’m hungry. I’m tired.

Doreen: I’m hungry. We gotta make dinner still. And I was like, you know what?

Jeff: Well, here’s what happened. We took a look at each ourselves and say, you know what? Let’s take a nice little walk together.

We had to get some things at the grocery store. It’s a mile and a half up the road, so we took a nice little romantic walk with each other and for three miles and walked back, even though the car was yelling us, yelling at us to jump in and drive there, we stuck to our guns and we took a nice walk and we were glad that we did.

Doreen: Right. So the point being that

Jeff: Even though it’s not a hundred percent, not an hour and a half pumping iron and workout and getting full sweat, we had accomplished something.

Doreen: And it’s a habit that we’re forming to build confidence to hopefully build better habits to getting into better shape.


Jeff: Yeah. And you may not call that courage, but in a way it is.

Doreen: In a way, it is courage. It’s a courage to say, even though I’m not gonna put an hour into the gym, the courage to say, you know what? I’m going to put on my sneakers and go walk to the store to get what I need for, you know, the rest of the meal. Why not?

Jeff: Yeah. And the commitment that we had originally set out to do, but it was still a commitment which led to courage. Which led to building more confidence in our workout, which led to, you know, a great time. Okay. And I’m ready to do something again.

Doreen: All right. So again, to recap, again, we’re talking about divorce procrastination before the divorce, what that looks like during the divorce and after the divorce.

Recognizing what the procrastination is moving into it, moving forward to it, understanding your thoughts that are creating the procrastination. And then taking action in spite of that, doing it anyhow, building that courage to do it, building that confidence, building that habit, because obviously if you’re procrastinating, it’s telling you that’s where you need to go.

Jeff: That’s right. So your confidence will flow naturally as you move towards your amazing life after divorce

Doreen: Absolutely. All right, my friends, have an amazing week. Have an amazing week. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others and listen, truly, I mean this, be kind to yourself when you’re dealing with these issues of procrastination.

It is normal. It is expected. It is what our brain does. It’s how the brain protects us. But you know what? We know you got it. All right.

Jeff: You deserve it.

Doreen: Have an amazing week, and we will talk to you next week. Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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