Perfectionists get in their own way when they follow the same planning advice as everyone else. That’s why I’ve recorded a 5-part planning series for the podcast that’ll help you plan properly as a perfectionist.
This planning series is for perfectionists who write and rewrite long to-do lists of business tasks they never start, fall behind because they underestimate how long things will take and have notebooks full of ideas they haven’t done anything with.
This episode (part 1 of the Planning Series) is all about the differences between procrasti-planning and planning properly as a perfectionist. This will help you understand where you’ve been going wrong with planning so you can do something about it.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- The two types of procrasti-planning and how to identify them
- 7 signs you’re procrasti-planning
- Why perfectionists can’t follow the same planning advice as everyone else
- The hidden reasons perfectionists procrasti-plan
- How to Power Plan and the elements of planning properly as a perfectionist
Featured In The Episode:
- Join the PGSD waitlist – samlaurabrown.com/pgsd
- Sign up for FREE daily Perfectionist Power-Ups – samlaurabrown.com/power
- Follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject
Listen To The Episode
Listen to the episode on the player above, click here to download the episode and take it with you or listen anywhere you normally listen to podcasts – just find Episode 307 of The Perfectionism Project Podcast!
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hi and welcome to another episode of The perfectionism project, a podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release perfectionism handbrake, so they can get out of their own way and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Perfectionist Getting Shit Done Group Coaching Programme, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business, you can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.
Okay, so this episode is the first in a five part series that I’m putting here on the podcast to help you plan properly as a perfectionist. So let’s just quickly talk about what that means to plan properly as a perfectionist. So planning properly means that you are making plans that are easy to follow through on. I know this can sound a little scary at first, because you might think, Well, I’m not going to be very productive, if it’s easy to do the things that I had in my plan. I’m going to be talking about that later on in this series, trust me, but you will be planning in a way that solves your follow-through problem without you having to have more willpower or be more motivated.
So right now, you might be feeling like you’re just not the kind of person who can follow through with your plans. And if you do, you’re not the kind of person who can do that consistently. So right now, if you make plans who say you sit down every week, and you write a plan for the week, and you’re doing that for a few weeks in a row, you might be thinking, how long is this going to last? How long is it going to be before I fall off the wagon? Again, and back to my old ways. So that’s a sign you’re not planning properly, I’m going to be talking about more of them in a minute. But we want to have you planning in a way where it’s easy to follow through, which makes it easy to build that self-trust that you need in order to be decisive in your business that you need in order to be able to handle failure. If you don’t have self-trust, those things are going to be very challenging. And it’s going to be almost impossible to be able to build a successful business.
When you’re planning properly. You’re also getting your perfectionist mindset. On your side, you are learning how to really see that deep perfectionism work that you need to do. And you’re able to do that work with the help of your planning tool, because it is going to help you notice, where are you still getting pulled towards overwhelm. Where are you still procrastinating? Where are you in that or not in the mindset, you’re going to be planning in a way that brings up your level of self-awareness. So you can do that work on your perfectionism to get in that growth mindset and get out of your own way. So that you are really showing up fully, and living into that potential that you know that you have as a business owner, because my bet is if you’re anything like PGSD is that you know that you are meant to be doing more than with your life than just going through the motions and ticking the boxes, and doing what everyone else is doing.
And yet, there is something that that’s making you get in your own way. And there’s this gap right now between who you see yourself as being and how you’re showing up in your day-to-day. And it’s so frustrating. I have been there, I have been there for so many years, I was in that place where I felt like there’s so much more for me than being in this accounting job, and just doing what everyone thinks I should do. And yet, I’m not able to get myself to do the things that I need to do in my business. So I can actually live the life that I want to live. And if someone had come and told me, “Hey, you actually just have a planning problem”, like you’re just not planning in a way that works for your mindset and its helping you to follow through easily and helping you to ultimately get out of that perfectionist mindset and into the growth mindset. It would have been so helpful, it would have been completely life-changing for me, for someone to have told me that but no one did.
I had to really piece it together and figure it out and just really see how important it is that as perfectionists we are planning properly. So that includes goal setting, that includes planning in a way that makes follow-through easy. So in PGSD, we teach power planning, and also clean rest. And when you have the three of those combined, and you’re doing it in a way that gets your perfectionist mindset on your side, enough that you can do the work to get out of that perfectionist mindset. Then being productive is so easy, like not procrastinating and not feeling overwhelmed. And getting out of burnout. Those things become easy, and actually following through consistently. And being able to trust yourself to make decisions and making those decisions without second-guessing, without going back on them, without needing to outsource that.
So you’re always wanting a teacher or a mentor or a friend or someone on YouTube to tell you what to do. You’re able to actually make those decisions. That all starts with planning properly. As a perfectionist, so that is what this five-part series is going to help you do. I’m also going to be inviting you to join us in PGSD. So the doors are opening on the 10th of January at 6am, New York time, and the doors are going to be open for one week only.
So throughout this series, I’m also going to be telling you how PGSD can help you apply everything that you’re gonna be learning in this series and really do the deep, intentional work that is really required to get out of your own way. And this is something that comes up a lot, I get a lot of questions from people saying, well, I love the podcast, I can so relate to everything you talk about. I’m just thinking that I should apply everything I’ve learned for free on the podcast before signing up for PGSD. I’m going to be talking about that a bit later. And going into that I’ve already talked about procrasti-learning on this podcast and how that falls into that realm. But what I really want to invite you to consider is that the people who relate to this podcast the most, become our most successful PGSD’s it’s not that, okay, they love the podcast. And so that means they don’t need PGSD.
PGSD really helps you to actually apply and implement and live, what you have learned through this podcast. It is a difference between understanding and being able to tell a friend about perfectionism, or being able to kind of, you know, I maybe have some self-awareness, and you have probably had a few wins that you’ve been able to get out of your own way a bit and start something you maybe hadn’t been able to start before. And that kind of thing, which is amazing. And I love that the podcast helps people do that. But in PGSD, we are about actually living these principles. And it’s messy, it’s challenging. It requires support and coaching, and community, and all those different things that aren’t provided by this podcast. So I’m going to be telling you more about PGSD. It’s up to you whether or not you choose to join us. And I’m going to be really sharing a lot in this five-part series about how to plan properly as a perfectionist. So regardless of whether you choose to sign up for PGSD now, you choose to sign up later, you choose never to sign up, that you’re in such a better position this year, when it comes to your business. Because if you aren’t planning properly, if you aren’t planning in the way that helps you do your perfectionism work, and also in a way that makes it easy to follow through, then it doesn’t matter what your Instagram strategy is, it doesn’t matter what your strategy is for pretty much anything, because you won’t be able to get yourself to do it. And you won’t be able to even if you do that, do it consistently, you’ll keep falling-off the wagon and starting over again. And you won’t actually be able to experience the benefits of all of the things that you have learned because you’re not able to do them.
It all starts with planning. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this series. That’s why this is the topic. So let’s talk in this episode about planning vs. procrasti-planning. So when we think about procrasti-planning, I want you to think about it in two ways. The first is that procrasti-planning is when planning becomes a form of procrastination. So we perfectionists, love planning. And when we’re not planning properly, we end up with this love-hate relationship with planning where we love sitting down and figuring out what we’re going to do. And yet we hate planning. Because when we’re not planning properly, we kind of secretly know already, we’re not gonna be able to follow through with those plans that we’re just gonna end up feeling bad because we’re so far behind. And there’s only things that we haven’t done. And what we can really do when our perfectionism handbrake is on is that we plan so long. We rewrite to-do lists, we try and get so nitty-gritty with the detail. We think if I can just have this perfect plan, then everything else will be easy.
Now you might think I’ve just been saying that, that if you have this perfect plan, then everything else is easy. When you’re planning properly as a perfectionist, you are planning in a way that makes follow-through easy. Following through involves doing things that might not work. It involves being courageous and scared. It involves putting yourself out there when you might be judged. And I know you probably don’t want to hear me say that. You want to hear me say that if you’re planning properly as a perfectionist, you are making the right plans that are guaranteed to work and get you the exact results that you want. But that’s what we’re thinking about when we procrasti-planning. We are trying to make the right plans. So that we never have to experience failure. And the shame that might come with that. We never have to experience success. We don’t want to be too successful. Because that might mean that we aren’t relatable anymore to the people in our lives. And then we might feel disconnected, abandoned, ashamed. So we’re trying to, like, constantly walk this line between failure and success. So we’re successful enough, but not too successful. And then we haven’t failed, but at least we can relate to people in our life who is struggling.
So it’s really exhausting to be trying to walk that line. But that’s going into this procrasti-planning, that’s part of it, that we are really trying to plan in a way where we can avoid any kind of negative emotion because we don’t trust ourselves to be able to experience that we’re trying to avoid making the wrong decision, because we don’t trust ourselves to make the right one. So also, we can spend so much time planning, and re-planning, and re-planning and planning to plan that we don’t actually have any time to do the things and it can feel like we are actually spending a lot of time on our business because of how much thought we’re putting into planning. But if we’re not executing, we’re not implementing, we’re not doing the things. We’re actually not really working on a business. I’m not saying that super thinking and thinking at a high level. And all of that isn’t part of building a business, it most definitely is. But once that goes on for too long, it becomes a form of procrastination. So that’s one way we can think about procrasti-planning. The other way is that we are planning in a way that stops us from taking action. So it enables procrastination.
So let me just make this distinction a little bit more clear. So when we are planning in a way that stops us from taking action, that might mean you’re not actually spending that long planning, maybe you’re not even planning it at all, because if you don’t even think you follow through with your plan. So why bother. But you are planning in a way that puts you in the Oh and I think mindset without you even realizing it, that makes you feel overwhelmed. That’s making you procrastinate, that’s making you burned out. And you might be thinking that you’re planning properly, because you’re following all the advice out there about planning and how to do and I’m going to be giving a very specific example in a second of some really common advice around planning and why it doesn’t work for a perfectionist like the pieces that are missing.
But if we go back to this definition of procrasti-planning, it’s when planning becomes a form of procrastination. So we’re doing for so long, that we’re not taking any action, there’s no time left for that. Or we’re planning in a way that stops us from taking action that turns that perfectionism handbrake on. And this can really happen without us intending for any of that to happen. And again, this isn’t because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s just because you’ve been following advice that doesn’t work for a perfectionist, so less about some of the signs that your procrasti-planning, in case you’re not clear yet, whether this is you now, I just want to preface this with, if you can relate to everything I say, don’t feel bad about it.
Self-awareness is so important. That’s the first thing that you need in order to be able to change. And also the fact that I can articulate it so clearly means, A. I’ve experienced it, B. you’re not the only one. Because if it was only you, no one would be able to explain it in a way that actually clicked with you. So here are some of the signs that you’re procrasti-planning. The first is feeling guilty, because you haven’t done enough, even though you’re always working. So you always feel behind. And yet you’re always doing things for your business, you’re making a long to do list, but then you don’t even know which task to work on first. So you end up doing nothing at all, you’re rewriting your plans from scratch, because you fell too far behind by the third day. So maybe you sit down, you do this big planning session. And you follow through perfectly for a couple of days. But you can’t sustain it. You fall behind then the list of unfinished tasks is just so long, that it becomes overwhelming and you just scrap it, you wipe the whole thing. And you rewrite it. You’re deleting the Instagram app of your phone to try to stop yourself from procrastinating. So you kind of at that point where you’re just trying to.. like that desire to procrastinate is very strong. And you’re just trying to do every trick and tip and tactic you can to try to get yourself to stop. So maybe you’ve used those internet blocking apps, maybe you have use an app on your phone, for example, where there’s this one that I used to use actually, like a tree grows on your screen. And then if you exit the app, the tree dies. And the idea is you can’t look at anything else while this app is open on your phone. So you might be doing things like that where you are just trying to get yourself to stop procrastinate. You’re kind of doing the equivalent of if you’re trying to eat healthy, then you remove all the junk food from the house, you are trying to do that when it comes to procrastination, you’re trying to be focused by despite, willing your way to be there. Because you don’t know how to stop procrastinating. Part of that is you’re just planning in a way that makes it easy to procrastinate, we’re gonna go into that more in this series.
So you’re working through extra hours, when you told your partner, you’d only need five more minutes. So it might be the end of the day and be like, Hey, you ready for dinner? Like, yeah, just five more minutes, five minutes. And then before you know it, the whole night is gone. Because you’re just still working away your business, you’re pushing off tasks, because there’s no boss relying on you to get your work done. So you probably have done quite well. And maybe you’re still working in a full time or part time job with someone else managing you. And sure, it might be procrastinating while you’re in your job, but you always get it done by the deadline for your boss. But when it comes to business, there’s no deadline. There’s no external person, a boss or manager who’s saying, Hey, where’s that I need to buy this date. And so you just push things off. Because you aren’t able to honor your own deadlines with yourself. Also, you have notebooks full of ideas for your business that you haven’t done anything with. Those are just some of the signs that you are procrasti-planning, so for planning for so long, that it takes away time for you to actually do things. Or you are planning in a way that stops you from taking action and is actually enabling procrastination.
So let’s talk about why perfection is constantly the same planning advice as everyone else. So what I did just before recording this is I Googled how to plan your week, or a similar phrase to that. And I just wanted to see, like, what advice would come up when I google that. And obviously, there’s a lot of advice on the internet about planning. And I want to mention a couple of things I saw on the first article I read and explain why this advice it is so common doesn’t actually work for a perfectionist. And it actually makes a perfectionist mindset work against us. So then this is an uphill battle. So first example was they said, spend 15 to 30 minutes, planning your week on a Friday afternoon or a Sunday evening. So basically, at the end of your week, spend a couple of minutes to plan your next one. So a couple of problems with this. The first is that 15 to 30 minutes is not enough time to plan your week properly, it’s enough time to write a fucking long to do list that never gets done. It’s enough time to overwhelm yourself with all the things that you need to do and kind of do that brain dump. But it’s not enough time to actually think it through prioritizing it.
Part of prioritization is deciding what you’re not going to do, deciding what you’re going to leave for later, to make contingency plans to figure out how long the tasks are going to take you how much time you need for rest. And I’m going to talk about that more in a second. But 15 to 30 minutes. In my experience, as someone who’s been planning properly as a perfectionist now for, I’d say at least three years, that that’s not enough time, it’s enough time to get you into overwhelm, it’s not enough time to get you out of it again.
So when we’re power planning, as the first step of that we are writing a huge brain dump of the things that we need to do, just getting out of our brain and onto the page. But it can’t stop there the other 45 minutes is spent getting out of the overwhelm, making the plan workable, considering contingencies, like what happens if my child is sick, what happens if I need to stay back at work? What happens if I don’t have the energy after I get home from my full-time job to do the thing I know I need to do for my business.
If we do spend 15 to 30 minutes, then we’re not going to actually set ourselves up for success. And so while you might have a few lists of things in your planner, that to-do list, you’re not actually going to be able to follow through with those plans. Also, it’d been on the Friday afternoon or the Sunday evening. That’s great. You can do your planning then. But when we think it has to be then if something comes up on Friday afternoon or something comes up on Sunday evening, or whenever it is, then we don’t get it done at all. And we just kind of skip the whole week.
So in power planning, we do the power hour and we also do a weekly review. And I tend to do my weekly review immediately before my power hour so that combined and I don’t always do that on a Sunday. I don’t always do that on a Monday. I don’t always do it on a Tuesday. It’s just kind of within that realm of the end of my weekend beginning of the next one. And for example today I’m recording this, it’s Tuesday, and I haven’t done my weekly review yet. I already have my power planning in my calendar, but I haven’t done the weekly review. I’m going to do it this evening but something came up. So I had to adjust. So if we are in this mindset that it needs to be this specific time, and we’re in that all or nothing way of thinking, then if something happens, we just don’t do the weekly review at all. We don’t do the planning session at all. And then we’re just winging it for the whole week hoping we’re going to be productive.
The other thing that I want to talk about in that article, there are many that I could have mentioned was, this is what it said, start by making a list of everything you want to get done that week, then look at each item and decide on your four or five biggest priorities for the week. If you plan your week, but fail to prioritize, you don’t know where to start. Agree, prioritization is important. But first of all, as I’ve mentioned here of the importance of prioritizing rest. But that aside, you need to decide what you will and won’t do. So the way this is talked about is that there is this long to-do list. And then you’re probably highlighting four or five things you want to get done this week.
Now on the surface. Cool, that sounds great. That sounds helpful. But what tends to happen is we think, Well, yeah, they’re my priorities. But I should be able to get all of this done. And we don’t intentionally decide what isn’t going to happen this week, what are we going to leave for the next week or for next month, we don’t have a framework to actually make that decision. So we just kind of have this whole thing hovering over us. And even if we got those four or five biggest priorities done, we still wouldn’t feel like we’ve done enough, because we’re focusing on what wasn’t done, rather than what was. Also, do you actually have enough time in your week for those priorities? And are they too vague? So for example, these priorities, if we do what’s taken, you know, what’s in this advice, we would write this long to do list with vague things like, you know, work on Instagram strategy, write posts, whatever, like these vague things. And then you might highlight a few of them. But you don’t know some of them might be this big project. So it might be like, work on launch of my product. That’s so vague, you’re gonna feel so overwhelmed. promote my business, that’s so vague, you’re gonna feel so overwhelmed with that? And do you even have enough time to do that? Like, what else is going on in your week? What are your commitments? How much rest do you want to have? Do you need to exercise and workout? Like, what does that look like? Do you have enough time to do that?
That’s what I love with power planning. We work from a digital calendar. So you are really, really confronted with the constraints of how much time we have in a week. And also the abundance of how much time we have in a week when we use that time well, so this advice here, really doesn’t pay any regard. And I read the rest of the article, it wasn’t mentioned there either to figuring out how long things are going to take. And spoiler alert, none of us know how long a new task we’ve never done before is going to take. It’s not like everyone else knows exactly how long they need to work for to get something done. And you’re the only one who doesn’t know, you’re the only one who’s bad at judging time for how long it will take. It’s a skill, it takes practice. And there’s a lot of different approaches to that. But you need to actually have a look at “Do I have time?” Like, am I setting myself up for failure from the get-go if those four or five biggest priorities that I am committing to doing?
If they aren’t really gonna have enough time, even if I was a robot who didn’t need to eat or sleep or do anything else? And also, are those four or five biggest priorities? Like, where do they fall into in terms of the bigger goals that you have. And what you’re working towards is something we often forget as well, I think this article did mention like you have your long-term vision. But we want to make sure that your plans are actually going to get you closer to your goal.
Now, as I said before, that doesn’t mean that everything you put in your calendar is going to work and get you the desired outcome. And you’re never gonna fail and any of that. And that’s one of the reasons we procrastri-plan is because we think we should only put things that are right into our calendar. But we need to make sure that we are actually planning in a way that sets us up for success and makes follow through easy rather than having these four or five vague priorities that are usually worded in such a way that it’s almost impossible to even tell if you did it or not. And then beating ourselves up because even if we got them done, there was still more to do if we didn’t get them done. We’ll look at all these other things I still have to do and I didn’t even get that stuff done.
A huge problem with this as well is commitment that when you’re planning in this way, it’s really challenging to commit because you can’t even see what you’re really committing to so like I hope I’m productive. And also, this is this whole all of this advice those two points. And everything that’s encompassed by that is written as if you’re meant to feel like doing it like you feel like planning your week, you feel like doing your weekly review, you feel like choosing what those four or five biggest priorities are. And that’s easy. And that is such an important part of planning properly, is to plan for your unmotivated self as in if you weren’t motivated, you could follow through on these plans.
What we tend to do, especially when we follow normal planning advice, is that we think we’re meant to feel like our planning session, because trust me, when you’re planning properly, as a perfectionist, you will have some resistance to that planning session, because it requires a lot of brain power, that one hour of brainpower in the Power Hour is going to set you up for such an incredible week with ups and downs and all the things that business involves, but it is going to set you up for success. But you’re going to resist it the same with the weekly review, you’re going to want to put it off. The same with any task in your business that requires courage and requires you to do something new, you’re going to want to put it off. So if we plan as if Oh, well, that’s just so easy you just sit down and make these decisions and do the things, then we end up creating this idea that it should be easy. And there’s something wrong with us because it’s not.
It’s gonna be challenging, especially in the beginning, to practice making decisions and backing yourself. And to practice having constraint and not writing this huge to-do list. And then trying to do it all by constraining yourself to these are the things I’m going to do. I have looked at my calendar, I’ve looked at how much energy I have in a day. And I’ve made an assumption that you’re gonna test. So what you do in power planning is you will make your plan, you will and I’m talking about this in the next episode, the three steps.
So as a Power Hour, little tweaks, and the weekly review so you’re gonna make your plan that everyday you are going to tweak it, keep it workable, make adjustments as needed. And then you’re going to review it, what worked, what didn’t work, what to do differently, so that you can plan better than next week. So it’s gonna take practice, to really be in this place where you’re in this groove with it. And it’s so easy. It’s fun that you can get that like, trust me, so I used to be so frustrated with planning and having that love-hate relationship and feeling like there was something wrong with me, because I should be smarter than procrastinating all the time and being overwhelmed and being burned out like I knew better. And yet I wasn’t doing better. And that was so frustrating. But when I was able to really see the planning problem, and make those tweaks that I needed to make, so that I could plan properly as a perfectionist, it doesn’t mean that it was all easy. There was no challenges ever. But when I was able to be in a growth minded approach to it, and I’m going to talk about that later in the series as well with a three month commitment. But when I was able to do that, things got so much more fun, so much more fulfilling.
It also brought up challenging perfectionism work that I’ve been able to avoid by working from a to do list. But it all really that that’s when my business really started to take off is when I got this planning piece down. So let’s talk about why we procrasti-plan. So we unknowingly follow advice. It doesn’t work for perfectionist, that’s one of the biggest reasons that we procrasti-plan. Plus, spending time planning means we don’t have to be doing and doing feels scary. Because we might fail, we might succeed, we might be rejected all of those different things. But also trying to compensate often for lack of belief in our goals or ourselves. By trying to make these plans that are just right.
We’re also trying to compensate for a lack of self-trust. We don’t trust ourselves to follow through with our plans. We don’t trust ourselves to be okay with failure. We don’t trust ourselves to make decisions. So we compensate for that and think if I can just plan everything just right. And I can just get enough willpower to follow through with it. Then maybe I can actually do all these things that I wanna do. When the irony of that is when we’re trying to compensate for lack of self trust by procrasti-planning and planning in a way that doesn’t actually work for perfectionist. Often the result of that is that when making plans we can’t follow through on which further depletes self-trust.
We also love procrasti-planning because when it comes to planning, especially when we’re doing it in this kind of unintentionally indulgent way that we get this sense of catharsis like it’s really soothing, especially when we kind of know we don’t have to follow through with the plans anyway, we’re not really committed, we hope we’ll be productive. That it’s cathartic in the sense of like, okay, well, maybe I will get this done. And like, we can tick those boxes and kind of get this sense of order and control. Also, I like to think of this like buying a lottery ticket. So even though you know, your chances of falling through a slam, it gives you a sense of hope for a better future. So when it comes to an actual lottery ticket, where you could win money, but you literally know the chances are so, so tiny that you would win, you’re buying the hope of a better future, you’re buying the dream, the opportunity to dream that many people feel like they don’t have unless they have that lottery ticket. This is what I buy, this is what I gift. This is what I do with that money.
And that’s kind of what we’re doing when we procrasti-planning. We know we’re not going to follow through with it. But like, but what if. We just get to live in that place of hope, instead of stepping into a place of courage and being growth minded, and actually doing the things and learning how to experience that failure and bounce back from it and experience a success and be okay with it and all those different things. So when we procrasti-planning, there’s a few problems with that.
The first is that we think the reason we’re not following through is because there’s something wrong with us. And when we’re in this place of shame and inadequacy, that’s when burnout happens. That is when we aren’t able to be resourceful when we think that the problem is there’s something wrong with us. And there’s nothing we can do about that, like, that’s really what shame is, it’s, there’s something wrong with me, rather than I did something wrong. So when we’re in that place of shame, our resourcefulness just evaporates.
Because like, well, it’s just something wrong with me, there’s nothing I can do about it. And we try and do things about it by trying to achieve all these things and make up for it with success and all these other challenges that we have that don’t work. But if we are thinking that there’s something wrong with us, and it’s easy to think this, when you procrastinate planning, and as a human being, and we have this tendency to think there’s something wrong with us, we don’t pull up, and everyone’s gonna find us out. That when we are not able to really identify the planning problem, and there’s something that can be done about it, and I can just learn how to plan properly, we’re then kind of just stuck in this rut. And this is where there really becomes this big gap between what you know you have the potential to do and what your day-to-day life looks like.
Another problem with procrasti-planning is that if you procrasti-planning, you’ll be thinking you’re doing more to build your business than you actually are doing. And this is, especially if you’re doing the form of procrasti-planning, where you’re spending a lot of time planning, or maybe you’ve spent a lot of time planning to plan learning different planning systems and all that kind of thing, where it’s just like, maybe you have like these five different methods you’re trying to piece together. So it actually works for your perfectionist brain. When we are doing that, we feel like we’re working on the business. But we’re not, a lot of times when it goes into that procrastinate planning, it’s no longer productive. And this then creates entitlement. So it’s kind of like if you are, you know, you want to get fit, you buy a gym membership. Or you think about going to the gym, you buy workout outfits. You write up a meal plan, you do all these things that are like periphery activities, you’re kind of like getting ready to get ready. But you don’t actually go to the gym, then you will feel like, why am I not fit yet? Like, why don’t I have the body I want. I joined the gym three years ago, like I should be fitter.
But it’s because you’re not doing the actual work. So we can do a lot of these periphery activities that feel like they’re important, but they’re not actually helping us. And so when you are procrasti-planning, you’re gonna end up feeling entitled that you should be further along. So if you’ve been feeling like, I just know, I should be further along in my business, if you’re feeling frustrated that new businesses are already more successful than yours. So you might see someone who started their Instagram account after yours and they already have more followers. This is a sign that you are procrasti-planning, this is a sign that because of that procrasti-planning, you think you’re doing more in your business than you actually are, which means you think you should be further along than you actually should, based on how you’ve been showing up. So it also creates a lot of shame when you think you’re doing more than you are because it’s so easy to have that story that well. I’m putting in all this time and it’s not working. There must be something wrong with me. When that’s not the case. It’s just the procrasti-planning and not planning properly as a perfectionist. It also creates quitting, when we procrasti-plan and we think that we are doing more in our business than we actually are. And we have that entitlement and that shame and all those other things. Because we’re rational, we decide it’s best to quit.
And quitting often doesn’t look like a blatant quit. It’s usually Oh, I have this other idea instead, I’m going to explore, it looks like jumping around from one goal to the next is why in PGSD, you set one goal, your impossible goal for your business, which fits in with power planning, you need that impossible goal in order to power plan effectively. But if we have so many goals, and a lot of perfectionist when they’re not planning properly, they will have a big goal for every area of their life. And this means that you will be jumping from one goal to the next to the next, whenever any of them get uncomfortable, which they all will, if you’re doing anything properly with goal setting, you’re going to be in that dip where motivation is gone, and you haven’t yet got results. So when you get to that dip, you’re going to want to jump to focusing on the next goal. Or actually, I thought I really wanted to work on my business this year, but my health and fitness like, that’s actually the work I need to do first, and then that’s going to create a really solid foundation of habits. And then when I have better habits, I’ll be able to show up for my business more fully. Maybe you’ve been thinking something like that. It’s not to say when you have an impossible goal around your business, that you don’t have things you’re working on in other areas of life, but because how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Having one goal that really brings up your perfectionism work brings up the business work you need to do as well. Those benefits flow over into every area of life. But when you’re in this habit of jumping from one goal to the next to the next, and this is common goal-setting advice, set realistic goals. And we’re going to in this episode, why I don’t agree with that. Let’s set realistic goals is what we’re told. And also to have a goal for every area of your life. So set three goals, set seven goals, like there are, you know, people teach these, what do they call a circle thing that has all these different pieces of the pie for your life, a circle, a life wheel, something like that? Anyway, it’ll have like relationships, spirituality, health, mental health, business, Career, whatever it is, all these different things, say have a goal in every area. We love that. Because we get to feel again, it’s like that lottery ticket, what if, what if, what if, and then anytime we get uncomfortable, we get to jump between things. And that is a form of quitting. We don’t recognize it as that we think, Oh, no, I just had this great idea. But often my quitting on the idea we had. And a lot of times you won’t even committed to that in the first place. We really want to be setting goals as perfectionist in a way that actually gives you that opportunity to commit.
But we are really creating this with procrasti-planning we are creating this idea that we should be further along. And that really stops us from being further along. Also, when we’re procrasti-planning, as I mentioned, it destroys self-trust rather than building it, which makes it harder to handle failure to make decisions to follow through with our plans. And it eventually leads to not wanting to plan at all, because of the way that procrasti-planning. And following advice. It doesn’t work for perfectionist. That destroys self trust so much that we think what is the point, why even bother, I’m not even going to do any of this anyway. And you might know like, you have a history of being a great planner, when it comes to your job, perhaps where you have a boss, who you are ultimately reporting to, or maybe you manage other people and you can plan in that context. But when it comes to just me, myself and I when it is you planning for yourself and your goals and your business. And sometimes that might mean disappointing others and what requests others have of you throughout the day, or throughout the week, when that might mean you’re not able to people-please and do all the things to keep everyone happy. And like you like it can be really confronting for that, for that to be happening. And so we love being in this, procrasti-planning, but then we end up in a situation where we just decide why even bother. I’m just going to wing it.
And often this will look like saying things like, you know what, I just don’t like I’ve been putting all this pressure on myself. I just don’t want to put any pressure on myself anymore. And I’m just gonna, you know, have this really simple list of things. And I’m just gonna focus on doing that and letting that be enough. And there’s so much nuance to this, I probably don’t have time to go into it all. But that is another way we quit and in power planning for example, when we’re using that we are kind to ourselves, we don’t burn out, we’re able to notice procrastination and do something about it and do it in the most effective way, not having to delete the Instagram app or doing things like that. And we recognize that it is our brain that is thinking pressuring thoughts. It’s not the plans that are making us feel pressured. And so what can happen, and I’ve seen this in PGSD as well, when PGSDer will say, you know, what, I just don’t want the pressure of this impossible goal, I just don’t want the pressure of these plans. So I’m just gonna wing it and go with the flow. But that isn’t helpful, either.
We want to be self-compassionate in a way that actually works. That helps us have a better relationship with ourselves. When we are being “self-compassionate”, in a way, that is actually ignoring ourselves, dismissing what we’re here to do and what we’re capable of. It doesn’t help us build self-trust. And we only further proof that we aren’t as capable as we thought we were. So we want to really have productivity being an act of self-care. And often self care will be an act of productivity, doing something that you don’t want to do. Because you know that it’s in your own best interest. And that’s why with power planning, you make the plans, we often can be a bitch to ourselves, we will make plans that if someone gave them to us, we would think like, do you even know that I need to sleep and eat and do all these other things, we do that to ourselves, just because we haven’t learned how to plan properly as a perfectionist. And so if that is happening, when you stop power planning, so we do that for three months, and probably the first few weeks, you are going to plan in the way that you’ve always planned before. And you’re going to feel like you’re not able to follow through on your plans. And there’s a lot of pressure. But that’s just because you’re over planning, or under planning or both. And with the help of that planning method, you’re going to be able to notice that and get coaching and get support and actually do something about it.
And that’s why we have that three month commitment. But when we are in this mindset that, well, if planning isn’t working for me, then I should just not plan at all and wing it and go with a flow, then we’re really denying ourselves such an opportunity for growth. And such an opportunity for really just having that solid relationship with ourselves. It makes me think of, say, for example, if you are wanting to lose weight, and you need to change the way you’re eating in order to do that, that you might think, Okay, I’m going to follow this really, really strict diet. And then you, you know, you set that up in a way that wasn’t sustainable. So of course, you’re not able to sustain it. And then you’re like, well, that was too strict. And I’m just gonna learn to you know, love myself, whatever I eat, and all of that. And I’m all for intuitive eating. But there’s a difference between that and ignoring yourself. That’s not what intuitive eating is intuitive eating is being in tune with yourself. Not ignoring yourself, and your feelings and your relationship with yourself.
The same with power planning, we’re doing it in a way that’s self compassionate, and being tuned in instead of being tuned out. And ignoring the growth and the work that there is for us to do. So that is why procrasti planning is a problem. We went into that a bit. But let’s talk about how to plan properly as perfectionist. And this actually sets up the next episode really nicely, because I will be going into the three steps of power planning.
So I’m just going to give you a very brief overview in this episode, we’re gonna go into it in more detail in the next one. So the first step is the power hour. So in your weekly Power Hour, you’ll put your needle-moving tasks into your digital calendar. And you’ll create contingency plans that make it easy to get everything done without feeling overwhelmed. So you don’t know exactly which tasks to do now, which tasks leave for the future, and you will start feeling start the week feeling on top of your business, even if you have a full-time job, or you’re raising children or there’s any kind of uncertainty in your week.
The second step is little tweaks. So every day you spend a little bit of time tweaking your calendar so you can get everything done without falling behind without burning out. Even if something unexpected comes up. And you’ll know when changing your plans is self-sabotage and when it’s the right thing to do. This is something that’s really important because we feel like everything is important. So when you can really start to see okay, what do I need to prioritize and leave for later. And in the moment throughout the week, you can say okay, me changing the plan right now is self-sabotage, or me changing the plan right now is truly an act of self-compassion and is truly in my own best interests.
That makes such a big difference when it comes to following through showing up fully all those things, then the third step is a weekly review. So at the end of the week, you’ll do a brief weekly review, to really reflect and discover what worked, what didn’t work and what to do differently. So that next week’s plans is even easier to follow. So here are some of the key elements of planning properly, there’s a time limit on your planning session. So you don’t spend a whole day planning out a week.
Now, when you start power planning, it might take you more than the 60 minutes, it might take you maybe 90 minutes as you’re learning that. But you want to have a time limit on your planning session. You’re also not over planning or under planning, when you’re planning properly as a perfectionist. So over planning looks like putting too much on your plates. We love to do this. This is again, like that lottery ticket, the hope of being productive has such a pull to it, that we put so much on our plate. But by doing that, we’re actually setting ourselves up to fail, and setting ourselves up to feel bad.
Part of the reason for that is we’re so used to feeling bad and feeling behind and feeling overwhelmed but that’s normal for us. So we kind of recreate that and that sign that planning properly will help you to get out of out of this addiction to feeling behind and this addiction to feeling overwhelmed. Wherein those under planning, which we often do after over planning that they can sometimes kind of go on at the same time, which is having plans that are too vague.
So the advice I mentioned before, about having those four or five priorities and that kind of thing, when you do that, you’re going to end up over planning and putting too much on your plate probably because those four or five priorities depending what they are, might take more time than you have in the week, or you’re subconsciously or even consciously thinking, well, these are my priorities, but I should be able to do everything. And then you’re under planning by having plans that are too vague. So it’s like work on this project, write posts for Instagram, or whatever, that is not actually very clear about what you need to do, and how you will tell you’re done.
So another important part of planning properly is cost correcting during the week, so you don’t fall behind. So this is keeping your plans workable. Instead of just kind of throwing them out the window, the moment you don’t follow through or if you know, you follow through perfectly for a couple of days, and then you start falling behind. And then the list of unfinished tasks is just so long, you’re like, No, I’m just gonna start over because I feel so behind. I feel so stressed, I feel so much pressure.
Having a framework that allows you to figure out when to change your plans and when to follow through with the plans that you made during the power hour, that’s really important part of planning properly. Also making plans for your unmotivated self, rather than your ideal self. So that even if you’re not motivated, you’re able to follow through with them. Rather than planning as if you have this limitless amount of motivation. And then feeling confused, when you get to the time of doing the task, and like, huh I don’t feel like it. Oh, that must mean I shouldn’t do it. Because so many of us interpret resistance as like this signal from the universe, that it’s not in alignment with us. And we shouldn’t do it. When so often, it’s just a sign that we’re gonna grow. And we’re not used to actually just being with that feeling and working through it.
This is often why we leave things until the last minute because we haven’t practiced how to be with that resistance and just keep working. We end up needing to have that, you know, last-minute rush. Because when we watched the last minute we tell ourselves the story of well, it’s at the last minute, so if I don’t do as well as I want, but like we can blame the last minute, we don’t say ourselves that to ourselves consciously. But if you and maybe did this in school, I definitely did. I left everything to the last minute had this whole story that I do my best work at the last minute. And then if I didn’t do well, I usually did though, and it kind of reinforced the whole thing. And the fact was I just hadn’t even experienced my best work, but I thought I did my best work under pressure. And so I was like, Okay, well, I could have done even better if I didn’t leave it to the last minute got to feel extra smart. And then if I didn’t do as well as I want to I could say well, you know, I did leave it to the last minute. And we need to get out of that when it comes to business because there’s no last minute. And even if there is a last minute in terms of maybe doing a promotion or something like that, where there’s a time you’ve publicly announced it’s not sustainable, it’s not enjoyable. And it’s one form of getting in your own way.
And like in PGSD, we help people who are committed to get out of their own way and who have been through that and are ready for something else. So we want to have you planning in a way that actually makes it easy to follow through even if you’re not motivated. Clean rest. I’ve talked about on this on the podcast already. Resting without guilt. That’s such an important part of planning. You need to plan that. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re not going to want to rest. You’re going to want to rest in a leftover time, which never happens, because there’s always something more to do. So clean rest is a really important part having a clear goal in mind, so you know what’s important and what isn’t like that’s your North Star. That’s how you figure out what the needle movers are. That’s how you figure out whether you should just rest or you should push through, or whatever that looks like. That’s, that’s part of it. Also planning in a way that lets you feel a sense of accomplishment every single day, even when there’s still more things to do. That’s such an important piece of the puzzle. And that advice I shared earlier about, you know, your four or five priorities, and, you know, highlight them or whatever it is, and then just work on them. You’re not going to feel accomplished, because you haven’t decided what completion looks like. You haven’t decided what success looks like. It’s just this vague, get everything done kind of thing. So I’ve said a lot.
I hope this has been helpful. If it has, please take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram, I’m @perfectionismproject. So the next part of the series will be coming out in a couple of days on the third of January. And I will be going into more detail around the power planning method, how that works, why it works, and all that good stuff.
If you’re ready to start planning properly as a perfectionist, then I invite you to join us inside Perfectionist Getting Shit Done. So you can find out more about the program at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd. That’s also where you can sign up the doors will be open from the 10th of Jan to the 16th of Jan 2022.