Procrasti-working is when we work on our business as a form of procrastination. And if you do it, you’re not alone.
Perfectionist entrepreneurs don’t procrastinate in the same ways as everyone else. Instead of avoiding work, we procrasti-work. This can look like scrambling to get all of your content created each week, moving sales tasks from one to-do list to the next or eating lunch at your desk while procrasti-learning something about marketing.
This episode will teach you about the 3 types of procrasti-working. By the end of the episode, you’ll know how to spot procrasti-working and my proven process for cutting it in half. Plus you’ll learn why procrasti-working is a normal part of building a successful business (I still do it) and why zero procrastination is not the goal.
In this episode I dissect procrastination advice from some of the top ranked articles on google and explain why this advice doesn’t work for perfectionists. The episode is worth listening to for this alone. All you need to do is hit play…
Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode387.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- The difference between working and procrasti-working
- The hidden reasons that perfectionists procrasti-work
- What happens when we cut our procrasti-working in half
- Why common procrastination advice doesn’t work for perfectionists
- The 3 types of procrasti-working and how to tell whether you’re doing them
Featured In The Episode:
- Sign up for The Power Planning Course – samlaurabrown.com/powerplanning
- Join the waitlist for Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (PGSD) – samlaurabrown.com/pgsd
- Sign up for daily Perfectionist Power-Ups – samlaurabrown.com/power
- Follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject
Listen To The Episode
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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 that perfectionism handbrake so they can get out of that way, and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Power Planning Course and Perfectionist Getting Shit Done, 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
So what is procrasti-working? This is when working becomes a form of procrastination. And we perfectionist who loves staying busy who feel guilty when we rest. This is the kind of procrastination alongside procrasti-cleaning, procrasti-learning that kind of subsets within procrasti-working is the kind of procrastination that we tend to engage in the most. Yes, we might scroll through our phones. Yes, we might watch Netflix when we plan to work. But really, a lot of the time it’s not blatant procrastination.
I’m going to be talking about why a lot of the procrastination advice that’s out there doesn’t work for perfectionists and giving you some specific examples of that. But one of the main reasons is because so much of that advice is focused on procrastination being inaction. When for us perfectionist entrepreneurs, when we are procrastinating a lot of times we are still working on the business. We’re just not doing the needle movers or we’re spending too much time on a needle mover or we’re jumping from needle mover to needle mover when they’re incompletes. I’m going to be going more into that later in this session episode.
But at this point, you just need to know that procrasti-working is when working becomes a form of procrastination, we are working as a way to avoid something else. And when it comes to why perfectionist procrasti-work, so this is one of the ways that our perfectionism handbrake comes on, and we get in our own way. And the reason that we do this is not because there’s something wrong with us, or because we should know better, but we’re not actually doing it all. We don’t realize that done is better than perfect. The reason that we are procrasti-working is because it’s a strategy to avoid shame.
So by procrasti-working, we can feel busy without having to risk the shame that might come with failure, or with success. And we don’t feel guilty when we’re not being productive with our time. So procrasti-working really ticks a lot of boxes. That’s why we do it. And I still procrasti-work in different ways at different times. Again, it’s not that zero procrastination is the goal. We don’t want to shame ourselves for procrasti-working. But when we really start to understand it, and understand how to stop doing it, by focusing instead on follow through, we’re going to be talking more about that later.
But when we can really have this self awareness that doesn’t involve shame, it’s really helpful when it comes to releasing our perfectionism handbrake, because if we feel ashamed about the procrasti-working or about the procrastination, then it’s only going to make our perfectionism handbrake come on even harder. So procrasti-working also helps us feel deserving, as it creates the experience of hard work. So either by working hard on tasks that don’t really matter, or by jumping from important tasks to important task and getting them not complete, like kind of doing it 50% done, 80% done and jumping from thing to thing to thing, or when we are doing something and spending so much time on it way more time than we need to.
And we’re perfecting and a lot of times that’s editing and formatting and that kind of thing that we are creating for ourselves experience of hard work. And by virtue of that, because we have been told that we need to work hard to be successful. And if we’re not working hard, we don’t deserve success. We are kind of easing that guilt, we might feel about having easy success. So when it comes to procrasti-working, it’s so important that you know that it’s not some deeply rooted reason that you need to spend years exploring for you to be able to stop procrasti-working.
The solution is simple, I’m going to be sharing this solution throughout this five part series. To break it down very quickly for you it’s planning properly is infectious, following through 80% of the time, resting without guilt and repeating that. That is the process for stopping procrasti-working. And I’m going to be sharing exactly why that’s the case, how it works and very specific things to help you.
So when you are procrasti-working, a lot of times, that’s just a sign that you’re not planning properly, as a perfectionist, that’s why planning properly is the first step in stopping and procrasti-working. A lot of times if we are just writing these long to do lists, or wish lists, as I like to call them, we are filling those with tasks that don’t really matter. And we are also not keeping track of when we are jumping from task to task to task, we’re not able to have the self awareness around it that we need to as opposed to when it’s in a calendar, like when we’re power planning. And also we don’t notice when Yes, we might take something off the to do list, but maybe we spent an extra two hours on that. So that’s procrasti-working, one of the three different types.
And we’re not able to notice it when we’re working from a to do list and therefore we can’t really do anything about it. So planning properly and this is what you’ll learn inside PGSD. That is really going to help you stop procrasti-working. Also, you have probably just been following a lot of procrastination advice that doesn’t actually work for perfectionist. So as I said much of the advice around procrastination actually focuses on how to get yourself into action. Instead of what us perfectionist entrepreneurs do which is we are working but we are procrasti-working. How to stop that form of procrastination?
So why do we want to start procrasti-working? The first reason is it leads the feeling behind. If you feel like you should be further along with your business based on how long you’ve been working, like how many years you’ve been in business, or that you should be further along based on how hard you’ve been working. It’s a very good sign that you are procrasti-working. And again, this isn’t a problem It’s very human to do this, I still do it, I’ve still been able to achieve a lot of success in my business. With some procrasti-working going on. This is why zero procrastination is not the aim. But if we are doing a lot of procrasti-working and spending the vast majority of our time on this, then we’re going to feel behind. And this leads to a lot of comparing ourselves to others and all those different kinds of things which lead to shame, which make our perfectionism handbrake come on even hot up.
So an analogy for this, I want you to be thinking about if you were to sign up for a gym, because you wanted to get in shape. And then you spent all your time researching the best exercises to do, buying workout outfits, and looking online for that or going to stores and trying things on and listening to podcasts about working out, hearing stories of how other people have done and getting you all inspired to workout. You may be working out every now and again when you feel motivated. And then with all of that it feels like you’re working so hard on your health and fitness.
And you’re going to feel disappointed that your body doesn’t look the way you wanted to when if you really look at the needle movers that you’ve done, you’ve worked out a few times, which isn’t enough to have that compound effect and for you to see results. But when you aren’t procrasti-working again, it’s not about perfection, we are about following through with our plans 80% of the time. So that is the equivalent of signing up for the gym, doing the workouts and getting the results, getting into shape.
So this is less time consuming, and creates better and quicker results. And that’s all happening with your business, when you are doing less procrasti-working, is that it will take you the same or less time to get more done. And again, your experience won’t be that you’re burning out or exhausted because you will just be replacing what you’re doing with other activities. It’s not going to take you more time and this is where we can really get stuck is that we think well, I’m already not succeeding. And the only way to be more successful is I need more time for my business and I don’t have more time for whatever reason.
Maybe you have kids, maybe you have a health issue, you’ve got other stuff going on and you feel like I just need more time, but I don’t have more time. And then when I get more time I just waste it. If that is going on for you then getting out of this procrasti-working habits, which again is simple to do. Getting out of this procrasti-working habit is going to significantly help with that. And most likely you’re going to actually need less time to work on your business, then you’re already spending.
Even if you’re not spending much time on it currently, you’re going to need less than that, you’re going to be getting more clean rest. And I’m going to share in the fourth part of why clean rest is absolutely essential when it comes to this. A lot of us perfectionist want to skip that part. That’s why I want to do a specific episode on it. Because it’s such an important piece of this situation, I want to say puzzle but it’s not a puzzle like this big thing. It really is quite simple.
So when we procrasti-working, it leads to feeling behind not a great experience when it comes to business. Also, it means that it’s challenging to build self trust and self confidence. So we want to start procrasti-working so that we can trust that we will achieve our goals. And that we can have the self confidence to do things that we’ve never done before and to be a beginner at those things. This all relates back to procrasti-working, if you are spending a lot of time, procrasti-working, you’re not going to be making much progress towards your goals. And it’s going to be very challenging to trust yourself to follow through with your plans.
It’s going to be very challenging to trust yourself to achieve your goals and to be able to keep yourself going through the inevitable ups and downs. And also if you are doing a lot of procrasti-working, then most likely you are not doing things that you feel particularly uncomfortable doing. You’re not developing new skill set and allowing yourself to see to witness to experience that you are capable of doing things that you’ve never done before.
You want to stop procrastinating because procrastinating stops us from making money and hitting our goals. And again, zero procrastination. I’ll be saying there’s a lot throughout this series. Zero procrastination is not the aim. But when we are procrasti-working for a significant part of our week, it is going to have a dramatic impact on the amount of money we’re making, the number of people that we’re impacting with our work and also our day to day experience of building a business because it’s going to be very disheartening to be putting so much effort and thought into your business and it not be reaping any rewards.
So when it comes to the common advice around procrastination, I just want to talk about why this doesn’t work for perfectionism. Also, it’s so important to recognize this because there’s nothing wrong with you for knowing the better than to procrastinate and still doing it. It’s just that a lot of the advice that is out there on how to stop procrastinating is really focused on addressing symptoms rather than the actual cause.
I’m going to go through some specific examples. I googled before how to stop procrastinating and read a whole lot of different articles on it, and gathered a lot of the common advice from those articles, the top ones that come up on Google, and I’m going to be sharing why these strategies are ineffective. And why the best way, the most effective way, the most simple way to stop procrastinating and specifically to stop procrasti-working, is to plan properly, as a perfectionist, follow through 80% of the time, rest without guilt and repeat.
So let’s talk about some of these strategies. The first one, change your environment. So there was a lot of advice about maybe you’re procrastinating because your office, you know, you’re getting tired of that and you should go to a cafe or a co working space are all of these different kinds of things. Not only does this present a real opportunity for procrasti-cleaning, which is another kind of procrasti-working, but it also is removing our power and removing the acknowledgement that the reason why procrastinating is because of the thoughts that we’re having. And we can change those thoughts.
We don’t have to rely on being in this perfect, distraction free, inspiring, motivating environment to be able to get shit done. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to create that kind of environment. But it does mean that if we say, Oh, I just can’t concentrate until the dishes are done and the house is clean. That’s procrastinating. It’s very easy, though, if the advice is change your environment, to think, Okay well, no, I have to do that. It’s just, it’s just how I work. This is who I am, I just need the house to be clean before I can concentrate. It’s very sneaky. It’s very subtle, but it is procrastination.
And if we are very focused, as many of these strategies are on changing our circumstances, instead of changing ourselves, then we’re just at the whim of what’s going on around us. Another piece of advice was to write lists. This way you don’t forget anything. This way you can see what needs to be done. I have done many an episode on to do lists for perfectionist. We love lists, we love them. And actually a form of busy work is to write and rewrite to do lists. But when we have our perfectionism handbrake on and we’re writing to do lists, we will add a lot of busy work in there. We aren’t able to actually see when we’re overworking or when we’re under working.
Again, I’ll talk more about that later when we go into the three types of procrasti-working. But we don’t even give ourselves the opportunity to experience doneness like to experience that we have got everything ticked off, because that list just gets longer and longer and longer. And it’s filled with things that are all different priority levels. And some things we can know like, I’m not actually going to be doing that for another two months, but I’ll just write it in here now.
It’s really so much more empowering to use power planning and to in your power hour each week. So I teach this in detail in PGSD to use your power hour each week to take your to do list and put it into your calendar and then work from your calendar in a really specific way that has a lot of clean rest that you are planning outcomes rather than activities. So you’re planning the result of time rather than like work on lunch, you’re actually planning out the specific tasks that will be completed with specific time periods.
And if you aren’t familiar with this yet, you might be hearing that and thinking, Yeah, I’ve tried working from a calendar and it was either extremely tedious, or more likely, it was so much pressure you felt so behind. And you just couldn’t hack it for more than a couple of weeks, because of how challenging it was to estimate the right amount of time for a task and that you constantly felt like you were behind and that you weren’t able to actually get everything done. And all of that is sold for with power planning. It takes your perfectionist mindset into account and gets it on your side. So you can actually plan in a way that you can follow through on.
We love over planning, under planning, and doing all of these different things when it comes to planning so that we can feel productive without actually having to do the courageous scary things. I’ve talked about this more in different episodes we go into detail in this in coaching and supporting all those things inside PGSD. But I just wanted to flag that if you were thinking we’ll get I’ve tried the calendar, you just haven’t tried it in a way that actually works for perfectionist. And this is why, when you’re in PGSD, we make the three month commitment because it is a practice to getting a perfectionist mindset on your side.
But once you have it on your side, everything is just so much better, you will be able to show up more fully for your business, you won’t be procrasti-working as much, you’ll be getting more done in less time without burning out. And that doesn’t mean to say that everything you’re going to do well work, or that everything you’re going to do is going to be an instant success or you’re never going to feel uncomfortable, you will feel those things, you will have things that you put a full effort into and it doesn’t work. But you will no longer be thinking that the reason for that is because there’s something wrong with you and you’re not good enough, you’ll be able to identify the real cause and sold for it and you’re going to be so much more successful in your business.
And you’ll actually enjoy the day to day experience as well, which is so important, you’re going to feel accomplished in a way that you’ve been thinking your to do list will help you with but it hasn’t actually been working. There’s just so many reasons why power planning and having your growth goal and then power planning. Getting a lot of clean rest is so important for perfectionist. But again, going back to this one of the pieces of advice is to write lists. That’s not going to help.
The next is to get rid of social media. So this actually reinforces a self image your story about yourself that you tell yourself that you are unfocused, that you’re a procrastinator, that you are someone who can’t follow through with their plans unless they have the perfect environment. And while you can, yes, get rid of social media, maybe you delete the Instagram app of your phone. When you’re doing that, again, you are telling yourself that you’re just someone who procrastinate that procrastination is normal for you. And that’s actually going to make your pull to procrastinate stronger.
So we really want to be focusing instead on creating the self image of a non procrastinator, and a non procrastinator doesn’t need to delete social media apps. Because they’re able to follow through with their plans 80% of the time, rest without guilt, they’re able to actually do what they need to do. And they can intentionally check on social media if they want to. But their desire to procrastinate with social media is significantly lessened because they’re planning properly as a perfectionist.
Another piece of advice. And really, this is one of the main reasons I have a whole podcast on this topic of perfectionism why we have PGSD, realize it will never be perfect is the advice. I wrote down in my notes we already fucking know. We know it’s never going to be perfect. We intellectually understand that. But what do we do about the fact that we still find ourselves trying to perfect things or to avoid anything that’s imperfect? That’s what we do in PGSD. We do that work.
And so a lot of this advice is just talking as if we just haven’t realized that it’s not possible to do perfect things. And that done is better than perfect. Get a motivation buddy was another piece of advice. Lack of motivation isn’t the problem. And I’ve talked about this on the podcast quite a bit before that. For me, perfectionism, before I understood it, and I had the language around it and I really got what it was and that perfectionists aren’t perfect people.
Perfection is the people who feel ashamed. They’re not perfect. I thought I had a motivation problem. I spent a lot of time googling how to stay motivated, doing a lot of these external focused strategies on trying to create the perfect environment trying to get myself motivated. And I wasn’t able to get out of my own way until I started doing the work on my perfectionism, and releasing my perfectionism handbrake.
So yes, you can get a motivation buddy and that might temporarily work. But a lot of times what happens when you have a motivation buddy, unless you’re both self motivated. And in PGSD, you will learn how to be self motivated. Unless both people are that way. It’s going to end in resentment and bitterness. And someone kind of motivating the other person and that person not wanting to do it and both letting each other off the hook.
So I would much rather you learn how to be self motivated. And then you can work on things alongside others. And you don’t need them to have to show up consistently for you to be able to show up consistently. Tell others about your goals, was another piece of advice so that they can check in on you and so that you feel more motivated. Again, this is kind of just trying to use all these strategies to actually get us to do things instead of having us create the ability to do that ourselves.
And tell others if we want to. And the reason this piece of advice particularly stood out to me, was because when I started my business, I was so embarrassed about it, I had so much shame around it, like Who did I think I was have a business, that telling others about my goals just did not feel like an option. And goal, shame can be a real thing. And I really believe that it can be helpful to tell others about your goals, but also, it’s okay if you don’t tell others about your goals. And it’s okay if you’re not the kind of person who’s wanting to shout about your goals from the rooftop, you may be the kind of person that prefers to show others what you’re up to, with your actions rather than your words. And that’s all okay.
Another piece of advice, get a grip and just do it. And it said, and I quote, at the end, it all boils down to taking action. This whole series is about why doesn’t oil all boil down to taking action. Because we perfectionist entrepreneurs, we can spend a lot of time taking action that isn’t actually moving the needle in our business. It said as well. And one of these pieces of advice, one of these articles are someone to check up on you. Peer pressure works, that was a quote. And again, yes, peer pressure might work in the short term, but is it actually creating a version of you where you are self motivated, when you are able to make plans and follow through with them and trust yourself to do that, and set big goals for yourself and pursue them continuously.
And also, to pursue goals that people around you might not think are realistic for you. This is what we do in PGSD, we set a growth goal and this goal is going to be above what you believe is possible for you. And it might also be above what other people think is possible for you. So if you’re telling others about your goal, and if you are asking them to check in on you, you really a lot of times as well, depending who you tell inviting in extra cause for self doubt, like we already doubt ourselves enough. And yet you are bringing in his opportunity to say actually, I don’t really know if he should be doing that.
And you probably know by now when it comes to business. Everyone, especially non business owners have a lot of great advice about how to run your business. So I would rather you check up on yourself with your weekly review with your quarterly review, with your annual review, with the coaches and the coaching calls in PGSD, with our PGSD forum and the community who were all doing this work together. But it’s not this like checking up on you. Because you can’t trust yourself to do it. Like it’s really reinforcing this belief, this self image that we can’t trust ourselves.
So we have to get other people to check up on us. The five second rule. So this is something if you’re familiar with a lot of personal development, Mel Robbins, who I think she’s fantastic, but one rule that she teaches, one concept is the five second rule. And this is if you’re procrastinating on something, say for example, getting out of bed, you count down 54321 and then you do it. And that might be very effective when it comes to inaction. But when it comes to procrasti-working, it doesn’t help. Because you are already doing something like it looks to you like you are in action.
And so when it comes to counting down to something, it’s not going to be an effective strategy. Set realistic goals, so you don’t get disappointed and disheartened is another piece of advice is out there to help you stop procrastinating. And what I want to say on this is that we want to set a growth goal. This is a goal that you need to get more into a growth mindset in order to achieve.
So it’s going to be a bit above what you currently believe is possible for you. Your brain is going to feel like it’s a little bit unrealistic, just because it’s mistaken about the possibilities and the potential that you have. But we want your daily and weekly plans to be achievable. That’s why we power planning, we really make sure that we’re not over planning, which is a habit that most perfectionists have is we put way too much on our plate. And then we have this addiction to feeling behind. We put weight on our plate, and then we beat ourselves up for not getting it all done and then promise ourselves we’ll be more motivated tomorrow. And then the same thing happens again and again. And then eventually we say okay, I’m just going to start planning because this whole thing is just getting me down.
And then after a few weeks of that, like no, no, I actually do want to plan and then we do it again and go through that whole thing. That is what power planning helps you to avoid. But we want to make sure that our goals are actually going to require growth in order to achieve them. And day to day steps to get there are achievable and doable.
So let’s now talk about the three types of procrasti-working. So generally speaking, here are some of the signs you procrasti-working, you don’t have enough time to get all your needle movers done during the week. Maybe you don’t really even know what your needle movers are, I’m going to be talking about that more in a second. You feel silly when you’re planning because you know, you won’t follow through with everything. You’re constantly under estimating how long a task will take, and you have more ideas and you can actually implement, you’re embarrassed that you’re not making more money in your business by now, that is a big one. That is a big sign that you’re procrasti-working, not a sign that you’re not fit for business, not a sign that you’re never going to make it to goals. It’s just a sign that you have been procrasti-working because you haven’t been planning properly as a perfectionist. And you’ve been following procrastination advice and productivity advice that doesn’t work for perfectionist.
So the good news is that if you procrasti-working, it’s a sign that, A. You’re human, with the human brain that’s working and, B. That you’ll be able to achieve your business goals in the same hours or less than what you’re currently working. So I’m going to be sharing three types of procrasti-working, the reality is you’re going to be doing probably a blend of all three, with a preference for one in particular.
And you don’t need to be able to categorize everything precisely. Some things you might be like, well, is that busy work or is that under working, that doesn’t really matter. I’m just sharing these so that you really start to seeprocrasti-working and you have more awareness around it. And you can more easily spot it when you’re doing your weekly review. And when you’re in the moment as well. And to help give you some language around it, but we don’t need to have it in exact categories, or anything like that.
But let’s talk quickly as well about the needle movers. So when it comes to busy work, this is the first time there’s working on non needle moving tasks. Under working is moving on from a needle mover before it’s complete. Overworking is staying on a needle mover after it’s complete. So what is a needle mover? A needle mover is a task that directly impacts the growth of your business.
And I want to say here that this includes boring admin tasks that are needed to keep your business operational. So there are things you need to do. A lot of times needle movers are related to selling and marketing and making offers. So there’s that and there’s also backend things that might need to be done that are going to move the needle, for example, setting up PayPal so that you can receive payments. There are things like that or doing your taxes.
They are needle movers, and they are going to help you keep your business in business so that it can grow. So how to figure out whether something is a needle mover is a question that I get asked a lot. And when it comes to that, you set your growth goal, it’s really important you have a growth goal. The process for this is in the first module of PGSD, and the PGSD process. So you set your growth goal. So you know what you’re working towards, you’re very clear about exactly what that is a timeline for that, your goal is set at the right level, so you need to grow in order to achieve it, but not so it’s so high that it freaks your brain completely out.
Having said that, a normal part of the growth goal is that you’ll have this new goal high after you set it and then potentially you might ghost your goal. And then you kind of go into this dip where you feel like it’s not working, even though it actually is. That’s all normal. But we really want to have you with this growth goal, there’s going to be a revenue based goal. So that you can really easily tell what’s going to be a needle mover and what isn’t.
Thing I say this in pretty much every episode. I hope it goes without saying but some people think it doesn’t. So when we are achieving this growth goal, this revenue goal that we have for our business, we are doing so in a way that’s in alignment with our values in alignment with our lifestyle that we’re wanting to have. In alignment with what’s in the highest good of our customers, our clients, the people we’re working with, that’s not going to burn us out, it’s not achieve this goal at any cost.
And a lot of times your growth goal is really learning how to do it in alignment with your values, how to do it without burning out. And so if you have been thinking that having a revenue goal just means that you then have to put your values and your lifestyle goals aside, that is definitely not the case. So you have your growth goal and then your power planning is your hypothesis as to what your needle movers are. So when we set your growth goal, which is a 12 month goal, you create quarterly milestones and then you focus on specific outcomes for each quarter.
So those are your hypotheses, those quarterly outcomes as to what is going to move the needle and then within those outcomes each week, you are coming up with a hypothesis as to what is going to create that outcome. So your needle movers are really uncovered through your weekly review. And we also do a quarterly and annual review as well. But your weekly review is your main focus. This is when you’re going to be paying attention to the outcome of what you’re doing with your time in your business. Where you’re spending your time if something is actually needle mover, or if it’s not, because needle movers are different for different businesses, for different stages of business.
So I’m not going to be here telling you, well this is a needle mover. For example, writing an email to your email list is a needle mover, but posting on Instagram isn’t, “No that might not be the case”, it might be completely reverse or none of those things are true or both of those things are true. It really is about with your growth goal and power planning, understanding yourself better. Understand your business better. And it’s about experimenting and actually reviewing the results of that experiment and iterating.
A lot of times when our perfectionism handbrake is on, we are doing a whole lot of things, and am I scared to see that they’re not actually adding up to anything, so we don’t really look at the results. And we just feel very disheartened that we’re not making progress. And we just keep doing the same things over and over again and trying harder and harder and harder. Instead of actually putting a full effort into what we think is going to work. And then reviewing did that work, yes or no. And then making a different plan, if it wasn’t working.
And it takes some time, it might take more than a week to figure that out. But when you’re doing your weekly review each week, you really get the compounding benefits of paying attention to where your time is going to the outcomes that you’re achieving. And together with your quarterly review and your annual review, you really get such great insight into what is working for your business and what isn’t working for your business.
So that you don’t need to then be spending all his time trying to just sign up for all these marketing courses, where someone can just tell you what to do. If you’re like, just tell me what to do. And I will do it. But then you notice, you’re signing up for a whole lot of marketing programs, or you’re learning the things but you’re not actually doing them. It’s because all you need to do is plan properly as a perfectionist, you know enough already. You know enough already.
If you’re like our PHSDers you love learning, you love listening to podcasts, you know enough. And now it’s really a matter of doing what you intellectually know you need to do. And coming up with a hypothesis as to what your needle movers are and giving it a go. And being growth minded about that. So you actually look at the results and see what’s working and what isn’t, is what’s going to help you determine what a needle mover is.
ThoughI will say if you’re like I really don’t know what my needle movers are for my business, there’s a good chance, they are the tasks that you feel the least comfortable about doing that you want to put off the most because generally speaking, we wouldn’t put something in our calendar or on our to do list that feels uncomfortable if we didn’t believe that it would actually make a difference. So it can be that if you’re like, I really don’t know what the needle movers are, especially if you’re in the first three months of power planning.
When you are in your Power Hour, and you’re doing this step of identifying needle movers, you can just highlight all the things you really don’t want to do. And that’s going to give you a really good indication of what your needle movers are, as you were developing your skill around identifying needle movers. I’m still figuring out the needle movers for my business. You don’t have to have that perfected and dialed in completely.
It’s just really figuring out what’s actually going to make a difference. And say, for example, like, I don’t know if Instagram is a needle movers for me. So I’m going to spend this quarter focusing on that these are the outcomes that I want to see, for me to be able to tell if it’s working a lot of times, we just have this vague, like I’m going to post consistently. And we haven’t even figured out okay, what does success look like? Hey, like how will I know at the end of this quarter? If this is actually moving the needle for me in my business or not?
This is why it’s so helpful to focus on revenue, not just followers, because you can have a lot of followers and not have a business and not have a successful business because you’re not selling anything. And you might be thinking, well, if I just get more followers, then I will have more sales, I’ll make more money, but it’s so much better to just focus on the revenue and to really be open to the different ways that you might achieve that goal.
So as I said at different stages of business, different tasks will be needle movers. And this is why power planning is so important. It helps you connect with yourself and your business so you can figure this out. So I’ve talked a lot around the three different types of procrasti-working. So let’s talk about specifically what they are. So it’s busy work under working and overworking.
So busy work is when you are working on non needle moving tasks. Again, this isn’t about being perfect with figuring out what a needle mover is, and what a needle mover isn’t, I don’t want you to get so focus on that, that you’re not actually making your plans and giving them a go following throug them 80% of the time. It’s different for every business as well, as I said, but the signs that you might be in busy work, this is working for work sake, again, it’s working on non needle moving tasks, is that the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is you check Instagram or your email. And you don’t even reply to anything.
So you might have DMS, you might have emails, you just leave your messages unread. So you remember to reply later, when you know what to say. You’re focused on more followers or more subscribers, and you’re searching YouTube and following Instagram accounts that give you advice on how to do it. So as I said, this is why we set our growth goal as revenue, not as followers, that focusing on followers and subscribers can really be for a lot of businesses, a form of busy work.
This isn’t to say that social media won’t be a needle mover in your business. But when we’re very focused on followers, rather than on our revenue, and building our business, it’s very easy to get caught up in getting more engagement and the latest real strategy, instead of actually doing the needle moving tasks, which are things like selling.
You don’t feel much resistance to the task that you’re working on in your business. So this is another sign that you might be doing busy work. So if you’re like, Oh, I get to work my business. And so for me, for example, when I started my business, and it was a blog, at that time, I would sit down and I would spend a good three hours creating a graphic for Pinterest to go with that blog post. And that was quite enjoyable. I quite liked doing that. Obviously, that’s why I was doing that as a way to actually avoid promoting my business telling others about my business, creating something to sell it was like, Oh, well, no, I need to get this graphic done. And I don’t want to create a bad first impression. So it needs to be just right and that whole thing.
Under working is the next kind of procrasti-working. This is when you are moving on from a needle mover before it’s complete. So yes, we do busy work, as I’ve just mentioned, but I think under working and overworking and the two that we spend our most time in, you might have a preference for one over the other. But I know for me, all of these three are present when I’m doing my weekly review and looking back, it’s all normal. As I’ve said zero procrastination is not the goal.
We want to have self awareness around this. So that we can focus on following through and be able to do that most of the time which will your self trust, make us more money, all those beautiful things. So the signs that you might be moving on from a needle mover before it’s complete. And thereby under working, is that on Monday mornings, you write a to do list to consolidate everything you didn’t get done last week, as well as your new ideas. You have a Google Document full of Instagram captions that are 80% written, maybe some of them are even complete like that, I just need to review that again and edit it a little bit more before I put it out.
You are up and down from your desk all day doing loads of laundry and making cups of tea or coffee. Your phone has notes full of business ideas that you haven’t done anything with. You say yes to coffee with your mom, when you plan to work on your business. You have a stack of business books on your bedside table that you keep forgetting to read. You spend the day jumping from writing an Instagram caption to an email newsletter to researching how to get more followers, like you’re just moving from task to task to task. Or maybe you’re working on something. And maybe you write an email, for example, and it’s 80% done and then you’re like actually, I’m really hungry, I’m to go to the kitchen and get lunch and watch a motivational YouTube video.
So those are signs that you might be under working. Let’s talk about the third one, which is overworking. This is staying on a needle mover once it’s complete. So here are some signs. After you write an email and Instagram caption, a sales page etc. You edit and re edit every sentence you read over multiple times. You then also have a whole lot of tabs open. On your laptop you are looking to say for example the sales page you’re looking to see what everyone else’s sales page says. If you’re doing it right, whether you should make edits to it based on that. It takes you a lot of time to get any of those kinds of tasks done.
You usually have lunch at your desk while watching a video from the latest marketing program you’re in. You are procrastinati-learning so you’re wanting to learn everything first so you can get it right when you start doing this doing it and I say that this is overworking because learning can be a very important needle mover for your business. But there comes a point at which learning becomes procrastinate-learning. And instead of implementing what you have learned, and getting the best kind of learning, which is learning by experience, we are so focused when our handbrake is on on doing it right. Like, actually, I’m just going to watch another video, actually, I’m just going to rewatch that video, instead of accessing our own wisdom that we have, and giving something to go.
And then in our weekly review, evaluating what the outcome of that was, and what tweaks we want to make, and increasing our own knowledge and our own self trust, we really love learning. And we don’t want to be wasting time. So we eat lunch at our desk, and watch these videos. So that we can make the most of our day, it also takes you 15 minutes to record a 15 second Instagram story, that is a sign that you are overworking, maybe you do one and then the lighting wasn’t quite right, and then you do another one. And you didn’t get your words out properly. And then you do another one you actually have, it’s kind of funny, you do another one.
And you realize it because you’ve done so many now that you’ve already said that thing before at the beginning, and on and on and on it goes. And then maybe at the end of that, and this is how these all kind of tied together, you decide actually, I’m not going to post it all and no one probably even cares about what I’m saying. So that is a sign that you’re under working are sorry, that you’re overworking. And you’re also another sign is you’re working on creating a runway of social media content. So that once you start posting again, you can be consistent.
So instead of just preparing your posts and posting them, you are doing all this work to create this runway that never actually gets created. So that you have, for example, a bank of four weeks worth of posts so that you can explode back onto the Instagram scene and you can post consistently and then you’ll be able to stay consistent. If you were doing that that is a sign that you are overworking.
So again, just to recap, the three types of procrasti-working. Busy work is when you’re working on non needle moving tasks, this will depend on the stage your business you’re in, and also the kind of business you have. And power planning and your growth goal combined are really going to help you discover what a needle mover is and what isn’t for you. Under working, which is when you’re moving on from a needle mover before it’s complete. This is jumping from task to task. This is where you really feel like you’re doing a lot for your business, but you’re not really seen any result of it, you just kind of getting everything 80% done, or you’re getting it completely done and you’re not publishing it.
And you are overworking when you’re staying on a needle mover up once it’s complete. So for example, maybe you are a copywriter, and you have your copywriting clients and you spend time editing and re editing and re editing. So it can be distracting when you get together the email that you’re gonna send with your work. And then you’re editing and re editing and re editing that, that is overworking.
So what do we do about this procrasti-working. So the solution is the same for all three types. It’s solved by planning properly as a perfectionist, following through with your plans 80% of the time, and resting without guilt and then repeating. Zero procrastination is not the goal, you are not wrong or bad for procrasti-working. As I have said, I procrasti-work when it comes to my business. And that’s okay, it’s so human to do at every level, you’re going to notice yourself procrasti-working in different way. So we don’t want to be focused on completely eliminating it, but instead on following through with our plans 80% of the time.
So just to share a specific example with you. Recently, I realized that me spending a lot of time on Instagram was procrasti-working for me. And this might not be the case for every business. So it might not be the case for you. And it might not be the case even if you have a similar kind of business to me for the stage you’re at. But for me the main channels for the business, our podcast, then the email list, and then we have Instagram, and I was spending like when I was doing my power planning and doing my weekly review. I kept noticing how much time I was spending writing Instagram captions, creating Instagram graphics, scheduling them in Planoly and at this stage of business that doesn’t make sense for me to be doing that, especially when it’s coming at the cost of other things that I could be doing for the business.
Because I only have a limited amount of time. I work three days a week. And I don’t have time to spend eight hours in a week doing Instagram stuff. So I realized that for me, that was busy work. And I can hire someone, or I have someone on my team already, who can help me with that. So it’s not to say it’s not going to get done at all. But for me, in my time, it wasn’t a needle mover. And you might be thinking, Okay, well, I don’t have a team to hire things out to and to help me with things that are needle movers. But on a good use of my time, you don’t need to, this is so important every stage of your business even before you have a team, that you are on to yourself about what is important for your business and what isn’t.
And even if you don’t have a team, yet, it’s so helpful to know what the needle movers are so that you don’t hire someone to do a non needle moving task. And if you do it, so they okay, like, we’ve all been there. And anyone who’s had a team will tell you that they have done that it’s part of the process and learning how to build your team and all of that kind of thing. But if you are really thinking that, okay, well, I just need to be so focused on, you know, doing all of the things, being on all the social media platforms, and Instagram and TikTok and all those different things and then the email list and then you need to have a Facebook group and a Facebook page, and I need to be on my website. And maybe I should start a YouTube channel and a podcast too.
To just recognize you don’t need to be everywhere at once. And while I do have the ability at this point to have a team that works on the business, and that someone can work on Instagram, that we’re not on TikTok, we’re not posting on YouTube, there are so many things that could help their business grow that with the resources we have. We aren’t focusing on but we are focusing on things that will grow the business. And that’s what I want you to be focusing on. What is going to grow the business for you? Really identifying what those needle movers are.
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 the return. You can find out more and sign up today at samlaurabrown.com/powerplanning.