Episode 416: [PLANNING SERIES] A Step-By-Step Walkthrough of Power Planning

Power Planning covers everything perfectionists must do to plan properly. It’s a simple 3 step process that anyone can learn. And I walk you through it in this episode.

Here’s a brief overview of how Power Planning works but be sure to tune into this episode to get all the details!

Step 1. Power Hour – in your weekly Power Hour you’ll put your needle moving tasks in your digital calendar and create simple contingency plans that make it easy to get everything done without feeling overwhelmed.

Step 2. Little Tweaks – every day you’ll spend a little bit of time tweaking your calendar so you can get everything done without ever feeling behind or burning out, even if something unexpected comes up.

Step 3. Weekly Review – at the end of the week you’ll do a brief weekly review to discover what worked, what didn’t work and what to do differently so next week’s plans are even easier to follow through on.

Power Planning helps you avoid the planning mistakes that stop perfectionists from following through with their plans.

After listening to this episode, you’ll know how to make the kind of plans that get you out of your own way – even when you’re scared to put yourself out there.

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode416.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How to plan and follow through with your plans even if you’re not motivated
  • What needs to happen during your weekly Power Hour
  • How to update your calendar so your plans stay workable
  • How to do your weekly review
  • How Power Planning has you doing more in less time without burning out

Featured In The Episode:

Announcement: PGSD will open for enrollment on 10 September 2023 (for one week only)

My 12-month group coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) will teach you how to plan properly as a perfectionist and get out of your own way. The doors to PGSD will open on 10 September 2023 for one week only. To find out more about the program and be the first to know when the doors open, join the waitlist today: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Listen To 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

This is part two of my five part Planning series on how to plan properly as a perfectionist. And today we’re just gonna dive right in into how to power plan how to plan properly. So in part one, I shared with you the difference between procrasti-planning and planning properly, and why it’s so important for a perfectionist to plan in a way that actually gets their perfectionist mindset on their side. If you have been getting in your own way. If you assign who overthinks you procrastinate him burn yourself out, you tend to be in that all or nothing mindset, you’re scared of judgment, it’s really important that you actually plan out your week in a way that supports you with following through and makes it easy to do the things that you know you need to do.

I know for sure that you are someone who is smart, like you have knowledge when it comes to business, even though you might find yourself googling things like how to get customers even though you already know that and you have already consumed so much information about that maybe you tend to be a bit of a procrasti-learner, but you know so much. Your issue isn’t that you lack knowledge, your issue is that you aren’t following through with your plans, you aren’t doing the things that you know you need to do you find yourself doing busy work, you’re always busy, and you love being productive, but you aren’t actually doing those needle movers.

So this series is really going to help you with that. And power planning is a tool that allows you to plan in a way that works for your perfectionist brain and helps you to release your perfectionism handbrake to get into a growth mindset and really build a profitable business that you actually enjoy running that is sustainable, that allows you to take time off without feeling guilty about it. Like you don’t want to feel like you didn’t start a business to feel like you had a job and the most demanding job you’ve ever had and the job where you’re the least appreciated.

And when you’re not planning properly, the reality is that your expectations on yourself are going to be so high. And that you really give yourself so little praise, you probably have someone like me who struggles to celebrate themselves to celebrate the progress you’ve been making. Maybe you feel quite behind and you’re feeling like I just should be further along, I know better than to still be in this place that I am. And so this series is going to be so helpful for you. And this episode in particular, I’m going to be sharing with you how to power plan.

So let’s just get into the steps for how to power plan and plan properly as a perfectionist. And just know as well that like I have studied so many productivity systems mindset stuff, like how the brain works things about business, I have spent 1000s of hours, really learning about what works for people when it comes to this kind of thing. And I was able to get my business to six figures by doing what other people say to do when it comes to productivity. And doing things like to do lists and time blocking like I was able to get somewhere with that. It’s not like you won’t ever be able to get anywhere.

But it was a constant uphill battle. And it actually took me six years, from the time that I started my business to be able to have my first $100,000 year, it took me so long, because I just wasn’t planning in a way that worked for my brain. It’s why I’m so passionate about sharing. This is why I’m so passionate about PGSD and also inviting you into PGSD as well. Because when you have a productivity system that makes it easy to follow through and show up and even though you’re scared of judgment, and sometimes you feel like an impostor, there’s all of that you’re still able to do the things like it made such a difference.

And I’m all about empowering entrepreneurs to have a positive impact on the world through their business. And for me like the way that I contribute to that is by helping perfectionist entrepreneurs get shit done. So let’s just jump into the three steps of power planning and know that these steps are what are going to help you to achieve your growth goal. That’s what we call it inside PGSD that’s your 12 month revenue goal is really important as well. I don’t have time to go into it in this episode, but you are goal setting in a way that works for your perfectionist brain.

Right now you might have a lot of goals when it comes to business. So you might have a vague goal when it comes to your business. Like going full time or making six figures you don’t really know when like the sooner the better, but you just have this sense that you want to be doing more, but you can’t really say exactly what that is you don’t have a specific timeframe on it. And I won’t go into the whole thing about it now. But you want to have that goal, not be realistic, you want it to actually just be a little bit above what you think is realistic for yourself, so that you can grow into that goal.

That’s why we call it a growth goal. So you need to have that goal so that you can prioritize effectively. But I just wanted to flag here and you will learn about that inside PGSD will help you set the goal at the right level for yourself that you need to have a goal to be able to actually plan your week properly. That’s super important. And also in part four, I’m going to be talking about why making the three month commitment to power planning is essential. So make sure you listen to that episode when it comes out.

So there are three steps to power planning. There’s step one, which is your power hour, step two, which is your little tweaks, and step three, which is your weekly review. So I’m going to be walking you through each of those steps. So that you really start to understand what you need to do. And so you can start planning your week out properly. That’s what this is all about helping you to get out of your own way. And sharing with you a system that actually works for your perfectionist brain so that even though like me, you love writing to do lists like you love all of that, you’re actually able to have a system that is going to get you out of your own way. So you can do the things you know you need to do to build your business.

So step one, the power hour, let’s talk about what you need to do in your Power Hour. What this looks like, why it’s important, like the steps you need to go through. So to just paint a bit of a picture with your power hour, so this is an hour, at the beginning of your week, it might take you a little longer in the beginning, that’s okay. But you have an hour at the beginning of the week, to plan out your week. And we want to make sure that when we are planning our week, we aren’t seeing that as well. You know, this is what we all do. Like, I feel like I don’t have enough time as it is I’m just so behind, I just need to like jump in and start getting things done.

We really feel like we just need to stop doing something, anything to try and relieve those feelings or like rid ourselves of those feelings of guilt. And we also just feel like when we know we have so much to do when we aren’t busy doing something, it just feels so uncomfortable. And so we just tend to just dive right in to the week, or we write that long to do list that I talked about in the first part of this series. So I love the quote from Abraham Lincoln, that’s who this is attributed to that if you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I will spend the first four sharpening the axe, this is what we’re doing when we are doing the power hour, we are planning properly so that execution is 10 times easier, 10 times more effective, 10 times more effortless, like if we do the proper preparation.

We don’t need to feel motivated throughout the week. It’s okay if we have dips in energy or we’re really tired. Like right now for example, I have three kids, I have Lydia who’s two and twin boys who are six months old. I am in the thick of going through the sleep stuff and like very sleep deprived most of the time. And that’s not a problem. Because I plan in a way that really takes into account my perfectionist brain the reality of my week like I am planning properly and sharpening that axe so that it’s easy to follow through with my plans. And I don’t have to feel like it’s an uphill battle.

So when you are doing your Power Hour, there are a few important things that need to happen. So we are planning in a digital calendar. So I personally use iCal because I have a MacBook, but you might prefer to use Google Calendar. But pick one of those two, do the iCal or it’s Google Calendar. If you love working from a to do list, know that you will still get that really great feeling of taking items off when you are planning. So I’ll talk about that in a little bit. But you won’t have the overwhelm of like having way too much off your plate.

We perfections we’re very optimistic about what we can get done. And we over schedule ourselves. And power planning really helps you to not over schedule yourself, but still be able to really feel optimistic about the week because you know, you’ll actually do the things you need to do. And then follow through with that. And each week you create more momentum and more capacity to do things. So right now when you have an over scheduled calendar, you aren’t able to do that. But in a few months time, your capacity for doing things because you have more self trust.

And because you’re actually able to plan in a way that works for you like you will have more capacity to do things so that overschedule calendar now might actually be realistic for you a few months from now. In some ways I’d be I’m not gonna get into the nuance of it here. Do you need to definitely have time for lunch and commuting and those things that we tend to forget that you might not have on your calendar. But ultimately, it’s so empowering, I find to know that I’m increasing my capacity for work and for execution, which means I’m gonna get more done in less time. And I can rest without feeling guilty.

So when you are scheduling in your calendar, what you’re going to be doing is scheduling needle moving tasks, and guilt free rest. And this is what’s going to turn your overwhelming to do list into a plan that you can calmly and consistently execute on. And that’s going to get you to your goals as well. I think that I mean, that sounds obvious, right? Like, we want to get to our goals. But a lot of times when we’re writing our to do list, we’re not even thinking about our goal. We’re thinking about what everyone else is doing what we should be doing and what we feel excited about or inspired to do, we’re not actually looking at, okay, where do I want to go, and what’s going to get me closer to that, because some things are more long term things that definitely aren’t urgent right now.

And that easy to put off, you need to start doing those non urgent things and have the ability to do them when they need to be done. And you also need to really understand like, what are those little daily things that you need to be getting done, and really know that you’re going to want to do all the things and you’re just going to need to say no to something. So you want to be scheduling needle moving tasks, and guilt free rest into your digital calendar, and know that your calendar will include buffer time, I’m going to talk about this more in part three. So I won’t go into it too much here. But your calendar will include buffer time, for unexpected distractions, for dips in energy.

And that’s what’s really going to allow you to follow through with your plans. Even when things don’t go to plan. There’s a lot of us who feel like our weeks too uncertain to plan like that’s why part three is going to be all about that. Because we feel like I don’t know what’s going to happen this week. I don’t know how I’m going to be feeling this week. So how can I possibly plan things in a calendar, I really want the flexibility that comes with the to do list. That’s what so many of us feel like like, I know when it’ll happen, but I just need to have somewhere that holds all these ideas I have about what I want to do.

But because power planning really gives you flexible structure, and part of that is through buffer time, you are able to have that feeling of control that you want. So we also want to be making sure that when we are scheduling, we have our needle movers that again, again as to a clear goal, but those needle movers are really framed as outcomes, rather than activities. So what I mean by that is when it’s an activity, that tends to be something like and this is what happens a lot when we are writing a to do list or we’re doing something like time blocking, that it’s just like Instagram, launch, lead generation, like it’s just a general activity like work on website, what we want to have it be is really specific, so your brain knows exactly what needs to be done in that amount of time.

So for example, it might be publish one post on Instagram, it might be that you are finishing updating. So in your calendar, you would have published about me page on website or like the update to that page, you’ve probably already got one of those. But there are those little things that we need to do to keep building the business. And if we just have it be this vague, like website update kind of thing, this really nebulous, like, I know it needs to get done, the sooner the better.

But like we don’t actually break it down, it’s so hard for our brain to really be able to, if it’s a courageous task, have the courage to do that, like when we feel like I love to use the example of if you are doing burpees, most of us are familiar with burpees it’s a very hard exercise that uses all of the muscles in your body and takes a lot of energy to do if you as a working with a personal trainer, and they say okay, I need you to do 10 burpees.

And then you’re going to have a break for a minute and then you’re going to do 10 More, and then you’re going to have a break for a minute and then you’ll do 10 more, your brain can wrap itself around that and really start to take on that task and to give a full effort as well because you know when the end is, but if your personal training was to say just do burpees I’ll tell you when to stop, like first of all, you’re gonna be half assing it because you’re like, Well, I don’t know how long this is gonna go on for. So I need to like, make sure I have more energy, and it’s just going to be like you’re going to not want to actually do it fully.

You’re probably going to want to put it off like it just we want to make sure our brain can really conceptualize what needs to be done. And we also when we are doing this before we get to scheduling and our calendar, and all the steps all the full steps for power planning are in PGSD I’m just really giving you here like the basics. You can understand what it is and really start doing it if you want to that you are able to before you get to your calendar, eliminate delegate and automate as much as possible. You need to have a step in your productivity process, where you question your perfectionist brain about what is essential, because your brain is going to tell you, everything is important.

So before like, if you’re thinking like, how am I gonna get my whole to do list into my calendar, if your time blocking, you’re probably trying to do something like that, you need to have a few filters that you go through fast. And this is really what we’re doing in the Power Hour, you are questioning your brain about, hey, do I really need to do this what’s most important, let’s look at the goal. Let’s look at the long term as well not just like what I need to do this week, or what someone else is doing that I saw this morning. Now I feel like I should be doing that too.

You really want to have an opportunity to question your brain before it gets into your calendar, then we want to make sure that we are scheduling when it comes to that your commitments first. So this is things like appointments, that you might have commitments with family or other people, then we want to schedule in your guilt free rest, I call this clean rest. This is time that you were deciding is not for business. Because if you’re anything like me, and like how I used to be was always kind of working, that you probably at the moment have this mentality, like I love being productive. And I’d rather just like rest once everything is done. And if I feel inspired, I want to work into the night.

But really having time where your brain knows, like with the burpees like this is I’m going to have a rest. So I need to not procrastinate right now. Because I can’t do it later. Like I can’t complete this task later. You’re probably at the moment like, Okay, I It’s okay, if I push this off, because I’ll just do it tonight. I’ll just do it tomorrow morning. I’ll just do it tomorrow afternoon. Okay, I’ll just do it tomorrow night, I’ll just do it the next day. Like, you want to actually have some boundaries and parameters around your work time so that it’s easy to be courageous because you know, a break is coming.

And also so that you have more motivation, especially if you’re someone who works well with deadlines, like external deadlines, so that you have motivation to actually do the thing that you need to do. So you schedule commitments, guilt free rest, and then in the time that’s left over, that’s when you schedule your business needle movers. You also need to review your calendar for workability. Like, can you actually follow through with it. Inside PGSD, we have some prompts to really help you look at is this a plan that I can actually stick to, and you need to commit to your plans.

And we want to make sure it’s so important to know you are really only going to be aiming for 80% follow through of your plans, but you need to be 100% committed because that 20% of your not following through, isn’t going to come from lack of commitment is going to come from you getting in your own way when you couldn’t help it, it’s going to come from external things that are going on. So we want to be 100% committed and not like I hope I can do this, you want to feel like okay, I really feel like there’s a good chance I can do it.

And because you have things like buffer time in your calendar as well, that gives you the confidence that you are going to be able to do those things. So you want to make sure that if you can’t commit to those plans, if you kind of know it’s a good intention, and not actually a plan that you want to adjust that plan until it is something you can commit to and then at the end of your power hour, you are going to take the screenshot of your calendar.

So step two, is your little tweaks. So this is what you are doing throughout the week, you are working off your calendar, like to do lists, and you are making little are sometimes big adjustments to your plan so that you can get everything done. Even if for example, you underestimate how long something is going to take you. I like to think of this, like the Google Maps rerouting feature. And then it gets you to your destination, even if an obstacle like a car crash means you can’t follow through with your original plan. And you can’t go the original way that you had hoped to, instead of just driving back home, you just adjust the plan.

That’s what we’re doing instead of if you tend to be someone who just start over from scratch again and again and again, that you’ll know what I’m talking about here, we just want to get into this habit of making adjustments rather than starting over from scratch. And what you’re going to do as well is you are going to as you go through the week, update your calendar to reflect what was done.

So I mentioned about your calendar being a to do list, what I like to do is I have a little checkmark emoji that I copy and paste into each task. And I do that after I’ve adjusted it to reflect how long it took me, well, that might be tasks I plan to do that I didn’t get done. So I just delete that or I move it to the day where it will get done. But this means that at the end of the week, you know where your time went. And you can see when you were getting in your own way. And also when you were really focused and this is gonna give you so much insight into yourself, you’re going to have so much self awareness and not just that you’re going to then be able to self coach and create a really productive week for yourself every week, no matter what’s going on in your life.

Part of productivity is getting shit done. Part of productivity is resting without guilt. And you’re going to be able to do all of that because you have this record approximately of where your time went and you’re going to know what’s working and what isn’t, and really be able to dissect that, and just have a whole new level understanding if you’re like me, and you love personal development, and this kind of thing is so appealing. If you love understanding yourself, the little tweaks part of power planning is going to be so incredible for you.

The third step is your weekly review. So the skill of debriefing is actually one of the most important skills in business, this is when you are reflecting on something that has happened, and you are able to identify what worked, what didn’t work, and what to do differently. And if right now, for example, you have customers, or clients, but you feel like you don’t know how you got them. That’s a debrief issue, like if you feel like it’s a fluke, or you find yourself googling those topics, even though you know the answer, like you literally know what you’re going to find in the article or the YouTube video or whatever. It’s because you haven’t got the skill of debriefing at anyone can learn that.

And in PGSD. We do this, of course, with the weekly review. But we also do a quarterly review and annual review, and I love to do them and I share them on the podcast, like after I do a launch, I share what that debrief was having the skill of debriefing is so important. So you’re going to be doing that in your weekly review. And there are four things really that you’re going to be doing.

First of all, you’re going to be sharing your before and after screenshot of your calendar. This way you can really get those insights into what’s working, what isn’t working, what to do differently, like you are really going to be able to see like, Okay, you plan to wake up early, did that actually happen? Or not? What time did you wake up and so the next week, instead of again, hey, well, I’m just going to try and be more motivated and try and wake up at 5am. Again, okay, like, I naturally seem to wake up at 630. Let’s just plan that I wake up at 630. So I’m not behind before I even open my eyelid.

So you’re going to be comparing your before and after screenshot of your calendar and in PGSD we have all the prompts for you to go through with this. But I’m sharing the process here, it really is quite simple. So you’re going to be celebrating your accomplishments, we perfectionist tend not to do that we focus on how behind we are we focus on what didn’t work and what didn’t get done. So we have in our weekly review a little moment to be like, Okay, let’s actually look at the progress I have made. And you’re going to understand what works so you can double down on it.

We love reinventing the wheel, we love overcomplicating things because we feel like we need to work hard in order to be deserving of success. And for people not to think we’re scamming them or like we’re doing something shady, like we have this idea that I can have anything I want if I work hard, and if it’s easy, that means that I’m doing something wrong. So we tend to dismiss what’s working, we tend to just start things over from scratch, instead of just saying, Hey, it works. When I, for example, put my have my email newsletter look a certain way.

So I’m just gonna, like stick with that instead of like, okay, well, this person is doing this other thing. So maybe now I should do something that’s better or more professional, like, you just actually identify what’s working and you double down on it. And in your weekly review, you can also solve for what’s not working. So you don’t make the same mistakes again, so the weekly review isn’t about, okay, like, let’s just look at everything through rose colored glasses. It’s really a place and a time for you to be compassionately objective about your week and say, okay, look, there was a time where I procrastinated multiple times, or I was overthinking something like, Okay, why was that was it because of the time of day that I scheduled it to add, and that I was expecting myself to do something that requires a lot of mental energy.

And I was expecting that later in the day, when really, it’s better for me to do that kind of thing. First up in the day like, you can really start to understand why you are getting in your own way throughout the week, because it is going to happen, I still get in my own way. But I know why I’m able to catch it so much sooner. And I’m able to just pick myself up and keep going. It’s not this big shame spiral or this big mystery, I’m just able to see it and solve for it. So that’s what you want to do in your weekly review.

So just to summarize, again, those three steps are your Power Hour, your little tweaks and your weekly review. And that’s what’s going to get you to your growth goal, your 12 month revenue goal at that just above what you believe is possible. In PGSD we talk about how to set that but ultimately, it is broken down into quarterly milestones that increase each quarter. So for example, if you’re like many of our PGSDer who have the growth goal of 100k, it’d be 10k in the first quarter, then 20k 30k 40k so that you can grow into that new identity, that new self image so you’re not putting pressure on yourself instantly to be making 25k per quarter like let’s just actually build that muscle and take a much more realistic approach to getting there rather than expecting consistent 25k quarters from the get go.

So there you have it the three steps of power planning which are your Power Hour, little tweaks and your weekly review. This is how to plan properly as a perfectionist so you can get into a growth mindset and release your perfectionism handbrake, in part one, we talked about procrasti-planning versus planning properly. And I really want to support you in moving away from procrasti-planning and being in that burnout cycle where, for example, you write that long to do list and maybe you highlight a few priorities. And then you feel so overwhelmed that you end up doing busy work. And then you feel guilty because you’re not doing the things that actually matter.

And then after that, you decide, okay, I actually should do that thing that I have been putting off, and I’ve been thinking about for so long, then you don’t have enough time. And so you feel behind because you haven’t really made progress, you get to the end of the week, and you feel like, Oh, my God, another week has passed. And I’ve been so busy, and I’m exhausted, and I barely had any rest. But I don’t actually even know where that time went.

So then next week, to try and make up for past procrastination, you just end up writing even longer to do lists and putting even more pressure on yourself to be perfectly productive. And it just makes things worse and worse and worse. And your self trust when this happens. Like it is so hard to trust yourself, because you’re not planning properly as a perfectionist. So if you want to actually have a planning method, if you want to have a tool that is going to support you so that it is easy to not overthink so that it is easy not to procrastinate so that it is easy not to burn out.

And also first things do happen, you’re able to see it really quickly do yourself coaching on it or get quotes on it, and then pull yourself out of it and get back on track. You need to be power planning. So I hope you have enjoyed this episode. So in the next episode, I’m going to be talking with you about how to power plant even when your week is really uncertain. Maybe you listen to this and you thought like, I don’t know how long things will take me. So that makes it really hard to plan in the calendar.

Maybe you have kids and you have those commitments, or you’re caring for a family member or you have a health issue or you have a job like you have things in your life that make it hard to be able to predict what’s going to happen. And so it feels like Well, this sounds really good. But I don’t actually feel like at the beginning of the week, I could do a power hour because I don’t know what the week is going to look like I don’t know when I’m going to be feeling motivated and when I’m not going to be able to do anything like I’m going to be talking about that in the next episode. So I hope this was helpful and I will talk to you there.

Before you go I want to make sure you know that the doors to my group coaching program for perfectionist entrepreneurs called perfectionist getting shit done aka PGSD are going to be opening at 6am New York time on the 10th of September 2023 But only for one week only. So if you want to be the first to know when the doors open or to find out more about the program, you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Author: Sam Brown