Episode 378: How To Determine When Productivity Is An Act of Self-Care + When It’s Not

In this episode, I wanted to chat with you about something I’ve been going through while being 32 weeks pregnant with twins. I’ve noticed I’m asking myself this question: when is it an act of self-care for me to be productive and when is it an act of self-care instead to change my plans and take clean rest?

When we perfectionists are not operating at our normal capacity, it can be a challenge to discern the answer to this question for ourselves. This is especially when we need to tune in to ourselves, put aside the pressure we can put on ourselves to be and do things a certain way, and give ourselves some grace and compassion.

Sometimes that grace and compassion means changing our plans, taking our clean rest and doing the things our brains are telling us to do. Other times, that means following through with the plans we made even if we don’t feel like it in the moment.

And in this episode, I share how I determine which choice to make.

Tune in to hear about the questions that help me figure out whether to follow my plans or not, a trick I use to get myself to do the work I had planned, and the highest act of self-care you can do for yourself in a similar situation.

If you have health issues, family commitments or anything else going on in your life that’s making operating at your normal capacity a challenge, this episode is for you.

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode378.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How I’m currently feeling and what I’ve been struggling with
  • The questions I ask myself to help me figure out whether to follow my plans or not
  • A trick I use to get myself to do the work I had planned
  • The highest act of self-care you can do for yourself in any situation
  • How to avoid all-or-nothing thinking when deciding whether to follow through

Featured In The Episode:

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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 their 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 program, 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.

Sam Laura Brown

00:28  Introduction of the episode and why it is relevant to Sam Laura Brown’s pregnancy?

Today, I thought I would chat to you about something that has been going on for me recently, in the hope that me sharing some of my experience and the work that I’ve done myself on this is going to be helpful for you as well. This might be a bit of a, unusual New Year’s kind of topic since typically, at this time of year, it is easier to find motivation and get shit done. But at the moment, at the time of recording this, I am 32 weeks pregnant with twins. And I am feeling tired and ready to spend a lot of time nesting and preparing for the boys to come. And I am finding that I’m asking myself this question a lot of, ‘When is it an act of self care to be productive for me to be working in the business and continuing to do what I had committed to doing?’ And when is it self care for me to actually, instead change my plans, take clean rest and have the experience that my brain is telling me I want to have, which basically just involves organizing everything in the house, to with an inch of its life, and watching a whole lot of YouTube birth vlogs, and all of that kind of stuff, just like getting myself surrounded by baby things, which if you already know I have a daughter, Lydia. I already have those vibes in my life. But I can really just feel with every week that passes of the pregnancy, my nesting just gets stronger and stronger and I have been doing a decent amount of that. But not as much as I want to be doing and my brain can just be very convincing of telling me that, we should just be doing solely that and absolutely nothing else. That’s all we have energy for. And so anyway, I just wanted to chat about this question of ‘when is it an act of self care to be productive’ and ‘when is it an act of self care to not be productive’, quote, unquote, to take the clean rest to change the plans to do the things that your brain is telling you to do. And I think sometimes it can be challenging to discern when it is an act of self care versus when it isn’t, especially if we have needed to do some work on ourselves, thrust and really tuning into ourselves and what we need and putting aside our expectations that we have for ourselves. The pressure that we can put on ourselves to be a certain way and have things done a certain way, particularly for myself, I have found that during pregnancy, both this pregnancy and my pregnancy with Lydia, that I have really had to do a lot of work on not expecting myself to just be operating as normal, like business as usual, so to speak, and to give myself a lot more grace, and to also, at the same time still maintain the standards that I have for myself. But to do that in a way that really is an act of self care and to not use that against myself or to beat myself up and not kind of thing, but I just find it, it’s very easy and comfortable for my brain, to put pressure on me, to just be like acting as normal, and telling myself a story of I should be able to do things at the capacity that I normally can. And intellectually, I know that isn’t the case. And also, if it’s someone else that I was talking to, I would never expected them in this situation to be able to do the things that they’re normally able to do. 

04:18  Why is this episode particularly for people who are in challenging situations to be operating in their normal capacities?

So regardless of whether you’re pregnant like me, or whether you have anything else going on in your life, whether you have a health issue, family commitments, whatever else that is meaning that, it is challenging for you to be operating at your normal capacity. I think this episode is going to be particularly helpful, but I think it is really a principle that can always be applied and it just becomes more obvious and more important when we are going through periods of time where we need to give ourselves some grace and have some self compassion, but at the same time, to recognize that sometimes giving ourselves grace and having that self compassion means doing the things that we had committed to doing, and means doing things that are in our own best interest, but we might not feel like doing them in the moment. And so yeah, I just wanted to chat about it with you, share some of my experience, and also share some of the questions that have been helpful to me.  I’m not pretending that I have completely figured this out for myself at all, by any stretch. And at the time of recording this, I am right in the thick of it, in some ways, too close to it to be able to get a really objective view on it. And even last night, I was saying to Steve, like, here are the things that I want to do before I really start to wind down business stuff, for baby stuff. And I know if I need to, like should I do that stuff or should I just have some extra time off and figure out a different way to get the same result that we’re wanting to get? And it’s, yeah, it’s just I’m in the thick of it. And I personally love hearing people talk about things when they’re in the thick of it, and they don’t yet have that crystal clear clarity about it. And also, obviously, as time goes on, I will be sharing things that I learned from these experiences and have the benefit of hindsight and that objectivity. But also, I just want to let you know, like, I’ve still got shit that I’m figuring out and that’s totally okay. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And so I hope this episode maybe provide some comfort, if you have been thinking that, myself or anyone else.  It’s just some kind of productivity machine and that just because we give the appearance of being productive of time, and like, I’m way more productive than I used to be. And I have a lot more clean rest than I used to have. And I don’t burn out and like all those things are true. And yet, I’m still a human being. And so I love these episodes, I like the whole podcast.  It’s basically this solo episode. 

06:57  Sam shares what she felt after the early scan of her twins and what she wants to do after going back home? (…How she was torn between working and just doing some rest?)

If you’re a new listener, and you didn’t already know that, but I just wanted to share with you what’s been going on for me and even this morning, I, it’s gonna sound probably a bit weird, but I really wanted to do my work today. But I also didn’t want to work today. I just wanted to sleep and hang out and do nothing. And so I’ll talk about that in a bit more detail. But this morning, so we had a scan for the twins, everything’s looking great, which is amazing. Just a routine scan and then go back home and I had in my power planning, like the work I had planned to do and I was just like, I really don’t want to do it. And again, was met with this question of when is it an act of self care to be productive, to follow through with the plans that were made? And when is it an act of self care to deviate from that and to not do that? And what I actually ended up doing this morning, and funny, because I feel really great now. And I think maybe this helps, but it’s also like not my recommendation. But what I did this morning after we got home. So we got home around 9am. It was an early scan and Steve was saying because I was talking about it to him in the car at home, about like, I just want to rest and nest. And that’s all I want to do today. And at the same time, I really wanna do the work that I had planned because I want that for my future self, that I had done that and given myself that gift and all of that.  Anyway, he was like, ‘Well, what if you actually listen to, first of all, he’s actually maybe do some exercise. Like I’ve been doing this pregnancy yoga video from YouTube that I found that I just do on repeat. And he was like, just do your pregnancy yoga. And he was saying as well, like, you know how I used to listen to so many of those motivational YouTube videos because I actually said to him, Can you give me a pep talk? Like, can you pump me up for my work day? And he was like, you know how you should watch those videos or listen to them when you were doing workouts in the gym. There’s one that’s called, I’ll link it up in the show notes. But it’s called like focus, listen, focus lift something else as well in the title anyway, it’s basically Arnold Schwarzenegger and some Tony Robbins, some Will Smith. David Goggins like just the people who are like, just do the thing, like man up and sleep less and all that, like it’s very aggressive, the vibes, but I find it really helpful when I am working out to just like, tap into that. And I like some of that tough love sometimes. So anyway, he’s like, you know, you ould listen to one of them. And just like that used to really help you a lot and you don’t listen to them as much anymore, or to be doing that and that would be helpful. So anyway, what I decided to do was doing my pregnancy yoga, and I’ve done it enough times, I don’t need to listen to the instructions. And instead of listening to the soothing voice of the yoga instructor and the calm music, I had my air pods in. And I was listening to this pumped up motivational video, that it really just helped me kind of get out of the self pity that I was in this morning and just really get clear on like, I did actually want to work. And I don’t agree with everything that’s said in that video, if you do go and watch it, I don’t agree with all the principles in it. But sometimes you just need that energy and that vibe. And it was really helpful for me to just have that and be reminded that I do love what I do. And also for my future self. I do want to complete what I had planned to complete today. And so yeah, I just want to chat a bit about this topic. And just sharing my experience, I hope it’s helpful, comforting. I don’t know what to hear that this is something that I am experiencing at the moment. And I believe we’ll be experiencing similar things for the next month or so until they arrive. Hopefully it’s not for another month or so even I’m so uncomfortable at this point. And at the scan this morning, the sonographer was saying that they’re measuring about 1.9 kilos each, which means I essentially have a four kilo baby in me, which was how heavy Lydia was when she was born. And she was like, late, like overdue. So anyway, I’m feeling it physically. But also, and I’m starting to wind down wax off, I really only have a week left of doing my usual level of commitment to things. And then I’m really starting to wrap things up. But I really wanted to give myself that gift of what I had planned. And so with this question of how to determine when productivity is an act of self care, and when it’s not, I wanted to go through some questions and things that I think about when it comes to this because I don’t think it’s a simple matter of saying like in XYZ situation, you should just follow through. In this situation, you should change your plans, I really think it is different for everyone and more. So it’s dependent on the feelings and the beliefs that are creating the experience you’re having. And it’s also there’s no right or wrong either. So it’s not like if this morning, I had decided that I was just going to rest and nest so to speak, that that wasn’t the wrong decision for me to decide that. And it’s not the right decision that I did pregnancy, wake up with some motivational YouTube video, and then got to work. That there’s no right or wrong, it’s just really a matter of deciding and having your back on the decision that you make, regardless of what decision that is. That is the thing that I think is the greatest act of self care that you make a decision, you don’t stay in this illusion that there’s a right or wrong that you are able to make that decision with the information you have to the best of your ability, and then you back yourself on it. And that doesn’t mean that the next time you’re in that same situation, you’d make exactly the same choice. It just means that the next time you are in that situation, you have better information because you can now also reflect on past experience. But after this, so for example, like maybe in a week from now, whatever or tonight, with the benefit of hindsight, I might be able to say, Okay, next time in that situation, I’m feeling that way, I’m going to rest and nest instead of doing my pregnancy, yoga and watching a motivational YouTube video at the same time. And not making my past self wrong for deciding to do the yoga with a motivational YouTube video. And that, fundamentally, is the highest act of self care, if that’s what we’re talking about in this episode. And not being in this mentality of there’s a right or wrong decision and this pressure to make the right choice and really just recognizing that there are so many right choices, so to speak, and that every time we make a decision and have our own back on that decision. We are further developing our decision making abilities. And we are further able to trust ourselves to make a decision which means less indecision, fatigue, less arming and erring, less second guessing, less sitting on the fence. Because we don’t fear that our future self is going to make us wrong or beat us up for making the wrong decision. We can more confidently make decisions because we know that our future self and our present day self has our back on that decision even if they would make a different decision in this similar circumstance next time. 

14:44  What are some of the questions that Sam asked herself that helped her figure out what decision was right for her that day?

So with that said, I just want to go through some of the questions that I find helpful to ponder and ask myself in this kind of situation. And also specifically as well what I wanted to mention though, it will probably come up as I told work through some of these questions is that when it comes to the remaining work tasks that I have just to provide some context for that, that we, I’m so proud of the work that we have done as a team, all through 2022. Now in 2023, and just, especially with the help of power planning, been able to really make the most of the time that we are spending, working on the business and getting so much done. And being able to do that at a really high level and to do courageous things and to do new things and make decisions. And I have experienced so much growth, personally in 2022. And I’m just really proud of the year and everything like that. And when it comes to the remaining tasks of, when I said like I really wanted to give myself the gift of doing the tasks that I had on my plate today. Those tasks specifically, we’re recording this episode, so it can get out to you, though, if needed, I can always find another way to get an episode to you whether it’s repurposing or republishing an old one, which I’ve done a few of those in the last few months. And I’ve always told myself, like, I’m never going to do that. I always want to do a new one. And I’ve just been like, Wait, that actually doesn’t make sense. Because at this point, I have nearly 400 episodes, not everyone has listened to all of them. Also, if they have value in re-listening to them, and like, ‘Why have I created this rule for myself?’  That makes it harder for me to do my best work and also isn’t beneficial for the person on the other end, either. It’s just this kind of made up rule that I have for myself. And so anyway, it’s really helpful to just look at that and see like, where am I requiring myself to do things from scratch or to always do something new when I could actually be making things easy for myself, at the same time as benefiting the person on the other end as well, and just letting go of some of those standards, and like just pressure and expectations that we place on ourselves. So anyway, I wanted to get this episode to you, I had actually planned to record a different episode. But I was like, You know what I actually just, as always, I love just talking about what I’m going through and how I’m working through that. And I get so much positive feedback about the episodes where they are like that, so I’m just gonna do a chatty one. And that really helped energize me as well about recording the episode. But I also wanted to record a video for the Power Planning Course, one of the bonuses, and that I actually recorded that video yesterday. And I recorded it on Loom,  L double O M, which is what we use as a team to communicate via video and that kind of thing. I also use it to record video modules and things like that. So I have my slides on Canva and then I use Loom to do it. And I did the first two videos that I needed to do. And the third one, which is a 40-minute video, I was really happy with it. And then I finished it. And it said that it didn’t upload successfully. And so I needed to rerecord it. And thankfully, over the years I have developed beliefs about it’s going to be better the second time around instead of like, ‘Oh, that was perfect that I could never recreate it.’ like no, it’s going to be even better, it’s going to be even easier. And I’m gonna say different things because of the way that I teach, in the way that obviously, it’s not that different to how I do a podcast in the sense that I’m not reading from a script, in case you couldn’t tell. I am just really speaking, as I would if we were having a conversation and teaching in that way as well. And so I’m going to be saying different things showing different examples, but it’s gonna be great. And so anyway, I needed to rerecord that video today. And then I also have a few emails that I need to write in terms of, they’re not like emails to specific people, they’re emails that are going to be going out to people who are on our email list, and then also a few operational things relating to freelance contracts and that kind of, like an unexciting things that need to get done, to have our business’ back end be where it needs to be and have things set up operationally, how they need to be set up. So a few things like that and then writing some perfectionist power ups. And that’s basically it. Like it wasn’t anything too crazy. But some of those tasks. I was just sitting down this morning when I was like, okay, I can do my pregnancy yoga, watch a motivational YouTube video at the same time I listen to it. And then what I’m going to do with my workday that I have, is I am going to be thinking to max out the next three days off, I’m not working again until Monday.  That I am going to be really prioritizing what definitely needs to get done, like if I might have less energy next week, like what do I need to get done this week? But also like doing them in that order, but also, ‘Are there any things that I really just don’t feel like doing?’ But I know that at the end of today, I’m going to be so glad that I got them done. And it’s going to help me have an even more restful next three days because those things that I have been thinking about doing that might be kind of in the back of my mind that rather than scheduling them on my power planning for next week, and even though I know they would be done next week, like just getting them done today, like how can I really, if I am going to work today, give myself the gift fully of that work, and really set myself up for a great three days off, and all of that. So when I sat down this morning, I, after that yoga, I really got present, too. I would set my planning, set already power planned out, next week as well. And I got present, too like what I really want to do today, so that I can generate that feeling for myself.  I know that I’m going to be finishing at five at the latest on the dot. And that I need to kind of work back from that, also have time for lunch, I also have a bit of buffer time for not potentially having the energy that I want to have, though I love that when I actually got excited, coz I started with recording that video that I needed to re-record. And just talking about the things that I get to teach just gets me so energized, it’s not true 100% of the time, like sometimes I’ll still record it, and then I won’t feel so excited to get on with the rest of my work day after that. But a lot of the time doing a recording like this, or the one that I did before this. It’s really like I might not feel like it beforehand, beforehand, I might really be feeling like, I just, I don’t have it in me to like, share stuff and to think of examples and to be compelling and all of that and just getting myself to do it anyway. 

21:51  How do you get yourself to do what you want to do anyway in your best interest?

And actually it’s one of the things that was being mentioned in that motivational YouTube video, I think it was David Goggin,  Goggins,  who was talking about how, okay, maybe it was someone else anyway, doesn’t matter, that his idea of if you don’t feel like doing something, but it’s in your best interest to do it, you want to do it, but you don’t feel like it. If it fits that, then what you can do is instead of telling yourself, like you have to do it in the perfect way that you can tell yourself, like you’re just going to do a lesser version of it. And your brain will think that mediocrity has one and then obviously, once you start a lot of the time, your brain is like, okay, let’s just do the thing. And so that was really helpful for me to hear that and be reminded of that, because that is a tactic that I do pull out every now and again, when I need to have like, if something feels like it’s a big overwhelming task, or whatever. That I would just be like, ‘Okay, I’m just gonna do it for five minutes.’ Or this how I used to do this with workouts as well, like, I’m just gonna go and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. And whatever it is. And then if I still don’t feel like being at the gym, I can leave after that 10 minutes. And obviously, like, the hurdle is getting there and like getting dressed and whatever. And once I break a sweat, I’m like, ‘Okay, well, I may as well do a proper workout.’ So that kind of idea, I think that I was like, I’m just going to record it and if it ends up being to a standard, I feel like it was so flat and uncompelling that I need to re record it again. And that’s okay. But I’m just going to sit down and record it. And then five minutes and I’ll decide whether I’ll keep recording it or whether I will just ditch it and do it again another time. And once I got into it, I was just able to keep going. And I feel like if you’re watching it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I was feeling the way that I was feeling right before the video because I just got myself to do it. Got myself over that hump and then once I was doing it, I could actually access the energy and I could actually do it to the level and quality that I wanted to do it and create something that I felt proud of. So yes, all of that to say that, that is really what I was thinking about this morning when I was coming to like what I want to get done today. And I’m gonna go through some of these questions that I have been mentioning that helped me figure out what decision is right for me if we want to use that time, but I don’t. But what decision would best serve me in this moment based on the information that I have? And what decision am I going to make and back myself on? And so these questions just really helped me figure that out. And so I’m just going to share this maybe like 10 of them, just going to chat through some of them so that there might be like one or two questions in particular that resonate with you or that you find helpful and maybe the rest of you don’t, but these are just basically different questions to get to the same thing like different angles to help your brain kind of figure out what’s going on for you. 

25:06  What are some questions you need to ask yourself to best support yourself? (…Why does journaling help you to get the answer from yourself?)

And anyway, these are the ones that helped me. So the first one is, what can I do to support myself right now? And also with that, what do I need in this moment? And those are two questions that really just helped me get present to supporting myself like thinking about it in that way. And not just thinking about like, the business and my team and my family and like, my brain wants to go there. But to just be like, if I’m just thinking about myself and supporting myself, what can I do to best support myself right now? Or what might supporting myself right now look like? And just being willing to tune into that answer? And being willing to hear an answer we might not want to hear.  That answer might be, I just need to do the things that I had planned to do so I can get the benefits from that or just because that is going to be how I best support myself right now. Or it might be the answer is actually I just need to clear my calendar and breast, when maybe I’m feeling like actually do need to get stuff done. But I’m just like, tuning into that gut. And so that wisdom that we have that often we ignore, in favor of shoulds and musts and have to’s. But to just get tuned into what can I do to support myself right now, I find this as well journaling about it with pen and paper is much more effective than just asking myself mentally though, if I’m not in a moment where I’m journaling or things like that, I will still ask myself the question. But I’ve just, find that when I am handwriting, and doing it in that way, that I find it easier to get the answer from myself, and to pay attention to it and for my brain not to get distracted and wander off. But to really just answer with the answer that first comes up for me. And then I can examine like, okay, is that something I actually want to do or not, but letting it come up without judgment. Because I think sometimes we’re so set on doing things a certain way that we don’t even let ourselves ask ourselves what we want? Or what would best support us. So what will my future self be glad that I did in this moment, or today or, or whatever period of time it is. And that can be your future self from this weekend, it can be your future self from the end of this year, it can be from five years, 10 years, 90 years, whatever. But I just find it a general like, ‘What will my future self be glad that I did?’ And again, this is just another way to help you have a look at your brain and what you really need to do to support yourself. And what your future self we’ll be glad you did is a question that often can help us remove expectations and pressure. And just really get some clarity on what actually is important, what’s going to help me live in alignment with my values, so to speak, like what’s important to me, actually be taking care of myself, like our future self, if your future self is tying you to, is like talking down to you and not being nice, then it’s not really your future self. And this has come up sometimes in PGSD when we’re doing future self stuff. And in PGSD it  might say like, all my future self is telling me like you have to make the right decision, for example.  It might be in a different context that’s coming up, but like that your future self might be telling you something like that. And that isn’t really your future self. So it’s basically present to you, not really accessing your future self because your future self isn’t going to talk to you that way. Because they’re actually living the result of either way, whatever decision you made, like they they kind of ultimately, when we access our future self, our future self knows that everything’s going to be okay. And everything works out, am I going to assume our future self is not just more successful, but has a really great relationship with themselves and even better relationship than we currently have right now. Like did they have this access point for wisdom and all of that kind of thing. So if your future self was like you have to make the right decision and putting pressure on you, that isn’t your future self. Just to put that as a side note. That is really about accessing that version of you that knows everything will be okay, that knows that regardless of the decision you make, that you will find your way to where you need to go and all of that kind of thing. 

29:55 How do you pose a question to yourself to get your own attention when there is overwhelm?

So is, this is a question, is it that I don’t want to do this thing or that I’m trying to get my own attention slash connect with myself. This is a question I’ve only recently started asking myself, I’d say in the last three or so months, that I really started to recognize that for me when I feel overwhelmed, a lot of times, that’s just the way that my brain is trying to get my own attention and support and care. And that’s when I’m overwhelmed, that kind of makes me sit up and pay attention to myself in a way that I might not be paying attention to myself, when I’m not overwhelmed. So I will subconsciously manufacture overwhelm, so that I can get my own attention and care for myself in a better way. So I’m not sure if that makes sense, but it really is something that once I realized I was doing that, that I could see like, ‘Oh, I’m not actually overwhelmed, by just wanting to feel supported.’ And I’m not feeling that from myself right now. And so if I actually just give my focus to supporting myself, that this overwhelm, is just going to be able to dissipate, because it’s not the actual emotion that is present for me. It’s just kind of this way of alerting myself to myself. And so I like asking that question of, is it that I don’t actually say today, for example, is it that I actually don’t want to work? Or is it that I’m just trying to get my own attention? This is especially the case to when we are in self pity and feeling sorry for ourselves, hard done by, or resentful, or bitter, or those kinds of feelings, to just really ask like, is it that I really feel that way? Or is it that I’m just trying to get my own attention? Because I don’t feel supported, loved, heard, seen. And it’s very easy to be like, Oh, well, if this person was just more supportive, or if this person just acted in this way, but whenever I find my brain wanting to go down that thought path, that I just redirect it to, like, how can like, am I fully supporting myself? Am I fully hearing myself? Am I fully, like, see myself, rather than being like, Oh, if this person acted differently, then I would feel better, which is where our brain loves to go, because it’s my responsibility. And we just get to be the victim about it, to redirect to actually, before I look at that, let’s just look at me, myself, and I, how could I better be supporting myself and being connected to myself and I can always 100% of the time, identify that I’m not fully supporting myself. And when I just focus on cleaning that up, the resentment or any other kinds of feelings like that about anyone else just dissipate, because it was actually just a signal a sign that I wasn’t giving myself the support that I needed from myself, and that was just manifesting and being projected onto other people. But it was really about my relationship with myself. So that can be a question again, is that I don’t want to do this thing, or that I’m just feeling unheard or unappreciated by myself, I forgot to add that little bit in, or that I’m trying to get my own attention and connect with myself. That is a really insightful question that we can be asking, what would I tell a friend in this situation? Kind of an obvious one, but I think there’s a lot of times that that question can be really helpful. It depends obviously, on the friend that you had mentally imagine and choose because it’s gonna depend on the reason that, like, their personality, different things, habits, they have tendencies, they have some of our friends, we might need to encourage them to rest more, because they tend to not do that. Other friends who might want to take it easy, more, we might encourage them to just do the thing. So anyway, it’s about thinking about like, if a friend was you, in the situation you’re currently in, what would you tell them? And the reason this kind of question is helpful. And also, when it comes to coaching, this kind of question gets asked a lot is because that when it’s someone else, that we don’t have all that pressure attached to it, the expectations, we don’t have the ego attached to it, like the self worth self, we’re just able to more objectively look at the situation and say, Actually, it’s clear here, you should just take the day off what actually is clear here, just do the thing. You’re just actually in self pity right now you’re just feeling tired and whatever. But actually, what you want to do is to do the work, so just do the work. So that question, I find really helpful to ask myself. 

34:51  Another question to ask yourself is, what are the available paths that will make you feel better? 

The next question is, what are the better feeling paths are available to the same or a similar result? So this is just getting present to as I was saying, like there’s no right or wrong decision and also as it relates to, you know, we’re talking about if you stick to the plan you have or you deviate from that plan, if that’s the decision we’re making, that we can tend to be all or nothing about it.  All or nothing thinking is one of the signs that we have a perfectionist handbrake on, perfectionism handbrake on. So with that, with this question of what are better-feeling pause, what other better-feeling pause are available in this set. Oh my goodness, I’ve just handwritten, scribbled this down and I can’t read my own writing.  What other better feeling pauses are available to the same or a similar result that this just opens our brain up to the fact that it’s not just A or B, that I either do what I had planned, or I chained to the plan, there’s actually so many other options as well. So for example, it might be that I do, like in the case of my workday today, that I do a half work day, and I just do a couple of the most important things. Or what I really recognize today is that if I’m going to work.  I’m going to work at my full capacity. And it’s tempting for me in this state that I’m in. And to think that like, giving myself grace, so to speak, would look like showing up and just kind of tinkering away, but I was like I just need to get in, do my work, finish as early as possible, like work at what might feel like a higher intensity. It’s not beyond what I’m capable of, even in the state that I’m currently in. But I need to just be present, be focused, get shit done, and then finish my day. And that,  that is a different path that was available to just kind of showing up and plodding through things and telling myself that was self care to just kind of, you know, plod along and still get it done, but not actually be getting that done in a not intense, that’s not really the right word. But in a focused way. There might be other things.

36:51  What were the decisions Sam made with regards to the podcast, in anticipation of having to go through sleep deprivation for the coming of the new babies?

So for example, like with the podcast episodes, one of the things that I’m wanting to do before I really start to wrap up a lot of my business stuff for the next little while, is to record the podcast episodes that will be coming out over the next few months. This is something that I did, as well, before I had Lydia,  that I recorded about four months worth of podcast episodes. And it was such a gift to myself, because I love the podcast, I love that there are episodes going out to you, but I wasn’t requiring my sleep deprived self to record them. And especially after having that experience of having Lydia and in the newborn days, when there’s sleep deprivation.  It was very challenging to hold the train of thought to, I’m sure I could if I gave it a more proper go. But it was just challenging it was my brain wasn’t functioning in the way that it otherwise would be. And so I really want to give myself that gift of recording those episodes and having them be available to you during the time that I am going to be sleep deprived. And so with that as well, I was brainstorming yesterday like a list of 20 different things we could do instead of me needing to record all of these episodes and have them be new episodes, whether it is compilation episodes of say for example, all the episodes that I might have done on a topic like procrastination, pulling little snippets from that and putting it together into something that is new, or repurposing and republishing old ones or publishing interviews I’ve done on other podcasts because I’ve done a decent amount of those at this point. And I share things in a different way when I’m talking to a different audience. All these different things like I don’t actually have to record any episodes for me to give myself that gift of having the episodes we recorded. Of course, there’s also the option of not putting any podcast episodes out whatsoever. Like there’s so many different ways to do it. And that was just really helpful for me to recognize. It’s not just do I record all these episodes, it’s about 20 episodes, do I do that? Or do I not do it? It’s like, here’s so many options. And from that place with that divergent thinking, now I’m able to identify, Okay, which path do I want to choose? So that question of what other better feeling paths are available to the same or a similar result can just help us get out of that all or nothing perfectionist thinking and to allow us to see actually there might be something and that often is when I do this kind of exercise. There’s a way better option that I hadn’t even considered because I was thinking very much like A or B, like black or white kind of thinking.  Who do I want to be in this moment, is a question that can be helpful. And not from this place of like proving and pressure, but really from a place of, again, thinking about your future self like and who you want to be and who you’re becoming, just who do, what kind of person do I want to be in this moment. And it not been about like, ‘I’m the person who pushes through or whatever.’ But like, I want to be the person who takes care of myself. And I want to be the person who is connected with myself, and is able to meet my own needs. And that kind of thing, like more of that angle than like, ‘I want to be the person who, like no matter what’s going on, is always getting things done.’ Like I’m a robot, like, it’s, it’s not about that. But just a question that can maybe prompt you to identify what self care looks like for you in that moment, whether it is productivity or something else. 

40:28  Five years from now, what will you be glad you did at this moment?

Five years from now, what will I be glad I did in this moment? So I like this question because it just gets me present to like, it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter at all. And some people might find that kind of approach disheartening, maybe that questioning like, actually, that question just makes me want to go sit on the couch and not do anything. But for me, it just helps me get some perspective of like, it doesn’t really matter what I choose, it does in the sense, it does so much. It’s like the, the nuance and the, I can’t think of the word for it, when it’s like paradoxical, I think. But basically, that it all matters, and none of it matters. And I find it really liberating personally and empowering when I recognize like, it really doesn’t matter what I pick. And of course, it matters what I pick, and what I decide to do. But at the same time, like basically, it’s all going to be okay in the end, because five years from now, will I remember what I did today. And like, of course as arguments for like the compound effect, and you know, the things you do every day, they add up over time. So it might not feel important today, but over time it is, all of that. But this question, the purpose of it is really just, it gives me perspective on like, just take the pressure off, just decide and move on. And it’s not this big deal. It’s not life or death, like just decide and keep on going. Also, is this resistance that I’m experiencing? Is it fear? Or is it something else? Just a question to help you identify like, is it actually that I’m not tired at all, I’m not how I, saying like overwhelm for me. I’ve really noticed isn’t actually overwhelm, it’s just me trying to get my own attention,  that like, is this resistance, maybe it is fear. And there’s, it’s not that the self care thing is for you not to take the action, the self care thing is for you to, to do the thing and to be courageous. So this, is it fear or is it something else? Like is it that you do need to rest that your body is like screaming out for you to take a break? 

42:40  What is the act of self care that you need at this moment?

And the final question is, what is the act of self care that I need in this moment? And as you can see, these questions are just different ways to get at the same thing. But hopefully, if a couple of resonated with you, in particular or been enlightening and helped you potentially see this question that we might have for ourselves in a different way. And just a reminder, there’s no right or wrong answer to this episode, the last thing I want you to think is like, Oh, these are questions to help me get to the right answer about whether productivity on a given day, in a given week, in a given hour, is self care or whether it’s not.  That it’s really just helping you or this is helping you get more connected with yourself, and to make a decision and for you to then have your own back on that decision, regardless of whether future you has more insight, has more self awareness around the situation. And in hindsight can see actually, I do know, rested when for me, I just, it would have been the best act of self care to do the courageous thing.  I love in those situations, instead of being like I should have done XYZ to say, going forward or next time, this is what I’m going to do in a similar situation, and just really have my own back in that way rather than making myself wrong. 

44:00  Closing

So that’s all that I have for you today. I hope it has been helpful for me to share some of the things that I think about when I am having these deliberations about what to do with my plans. Do I follow through and do the thing? Do I change the plans? What is really gonna serve me, what’s going to serve my goal, what’s going to, yeah, just really support me, be the best version of myself and the most connected to myself that I can be. So that said, I will talk to you in the next episode. 

44:33  Podcast Outro

If you want to make sure that the hard work you’re putting into your business isn’t a waste of effort, then I invite you to check out the Power Planning Course. It’ll teach you how to plan properly as a perfectionist with power planning so that you can get out of your own way in your business and so that every hour you put into your business gets doubles in return. You can find out more and sign up today at samlaurabrown.com/powerplanning.

Author: Sam Brown