Episode 447: [Stop Procrastination] Why You Procrastinate (There Are 3 Hidden Reasons)

This is part 1 of my 5-part series on how to *actually* stop procrastinating. In this episode (part 1) you’ll understand the 3 hidden reasons why you haven’t been able to stop procrastinating…

You’re not lazy, unmotivated or incapable of building a successful business. There are three hidden reasons you procrastinate. And none of them having anything to do with whether or not you’re cut out for entrepreneurship.

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand why it’s not your fault that you procrastinate on putting yourself out there, why your attempts to stop procrastinating haven’t worked and the simple things you need to do to create the confidence you need to put yourself out there.

Listen to this episode now!

This 5-part series is for perfectionists who:

  • Get stuck in research mode when it comes to your niche, messaging and branding
  • Buy cameras, domains and planners to try to motivate themselves to show up
  • Push important tasks off until the last minute because you need the pressure

Everything you’ve learned about how to stop procrastinating doesn’t apply to perfectionists!

During this 5-part procrastination series I’ll be teaching you the surprising truth about procrastination, the hidden reasons you haven’t been able to stop and the simple process you can immediately start following to actually stop procrastinating. 

I won’t be telling you to delete social media apps or write a reminder on a post-it note to remind you ‘done is better than perfect’. 

This series is going to help you create emotional safety and feelings that are going to allow you to actually have the confidence to stop procrastinating and put yourself out there.

Tune into this series to learn how to stop procrastinating so your business can finally get off the ground.

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode447.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The surprising truth about procrastination 
  • How procrastination & perfectionism made me get in my own way when I started my business
  • The 3 hidden reasons why you procrastinate
  • Why it’s not your fault that you procrastinate
  • Why your attempts to stop procrastinating haven’t worked
  • Simple things you need to do to create the confidence you need to put yourself out there

Featured In The Episode:

PGSD is opening to new students on 14 March 2024:

The PGSD Process will get you out of your own way in your business and have you making more money more easily. The doors to Perfectionists Getting Shit Done will be opening at 6am New York time on 14 March and closing at 11:59pm New York time on 21 March 2024. Find out more about the program and join the waitlist here: samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Take The Perfectionism Quiz To Get Your Personalised Perfectionism Score

If you’re not sure whether perfectionism is what’s making you get in your own way, I invite you to take The Perfectionism Quiz. 

After working with over 1,000 perfectionist entrepreneurs, I created this free quiz so you can get your personalised perfectionism score and discover which of the 5 areas of perfectionism you would most benefit from working on overcoming the most: whether it’s overthinking, procrastination, burnout, all-or-nothing thinking or fear of judgement.

It takes less than 3 minutes to get your unique result and be one step closer to getting shit done without burning out. If you love learning about yourself and you’re ready to get out of your own way, go to samlaurabrown.com/quiz to take the quiz today. 

Work With Me:

My coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD) teaches you how to plan properly as a perfectionist so you can get out of your own way in your business. 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

Listen to the episode on the player above, click here to download the episode and take it with you or listen anywhere you normally listen to podcasts – just find Episode 447 of The Perfectionism Project Podcast!

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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
Welcome to this five part series on how to stop procrastinating. If you’re a perfectionist entrepreneur, and you have been getting in your own way, then this series is going to give you the practical steps you need to follow to actually stop procrastinating. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating on deciding what your niche is, or which social media platform to be on or which equipment to use. Maybe you have been procrastinating on taking the next steps, hitting publish, launching that course putting yourself out there, or maybe you have been procrastinating, on showing up fully, you’re going through the motions, you are posting, but you know that you’re not doing it as well as you could, because you’re scared of putting yourself out there and being judged.

So in this series, we’re gonna be covering exactly what you need to do the practical steps to follow. And there are going to be so many actionable takeaways from this series to help you stop procrastinating and actually feel safe doing that. One of the things I just want to mention right here is that as much as we want to stop procrastinating, we avoid stopping procrastinating, because it means we’re gonna have to do scary things. So this series as well is going to help you create some emotional safety and feelings that are going to allow you to actually have the confidence to stop procrastinating and put yourself out there, we perfectionist don’t want to get it wrong, we don’t want to make a bad first impression. We don’t want to get laughed at we don’t want to waste effort.

And so this series is not only going to give you those actionable steps you need to follow and can start following right away. But it’s set up in a way so that you’re going to feel safe following these steps. And you’re going to be able even though it will take courage, you’re going to be able to do it without freaking your perfectionist brain out. This is a concept I’ll be talking about a lot in this series, because you really need to get your perfectionist mindset on your side in order to get out of your own way. And that means approaching building your business in a way that doesn’t freak you out and make you want to hide in a hole.

So in case you don’t already know who I am, and maybe this is the first episode of mine that you’re listening to. My name is Sam Laura Brown. And I am a coach for perfectionist entrepreneurs. I’ll talk a bit about what that means in a minute if you haven’t worked with a coach before or don’t really know how they would help you for your business. But at this point, I have made over $2 million in revenue in my business. And I’ve worked with over 1000 perfectionist entrepreneur clients from all different industries, and from all different parts of the world. So I may be in Australia, myself in Brisbane. But I have worked with so many entrepreneurs, particularly in the United States, but also in the UK, in Europe, almost every country and I have podcast listeners for this podcast, which is a top rated podcast from all over the world, millions of downloads.

And so I have seen so many patterns and themes that I can’t help but talk about them with you because I know they’re gonna help. And the industries these perfectionists entrepreneurs are from photographers, artists, financial brokers, real estate agents, therapists, nutritionists, other coaches like me, really, when it comes to entrepreneurship, and perfectionism, and how that impacts our productivity. It’s the same across all of these different industries. It’s the same fears we have around putting ourselves out there and being seen and hitting publish when we don’t feel like our work is good enough. And that’s what I help people with. I’m also a mum of three little ones as well.

So I have my daughter Lydia, who’s two and a half and twin sons, Jack and James who have just turned one. So it hasn’t always been this way that I have been able to put myself out there to do that confidently. It really was quite the opposite. When I first started my business in 2013, I was a university student studying law and finance. And I started a blog and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I was so scared for anyone in my life to actually think that I had no idea what I was doing because that’s how I felt. So I didn’t even tell my now husband Steve about it for almost a year. I just take it away at it while I was meant to be studying. And I just told people on the internet but even better, I really wasn’t putting myself out there. I wasn’t showing my face. I wasn’t posting consistently. I was busy working. I was putting myself out at times but I wasn’t showing up fully, I was just in that research mode, and waiting for everything to feel perfect.

And I didn’t. Because of this. I didn’t make my first dollar until after I graduated and was working full time as an accountant. So in 2016, I made my first dollar in my business. And it wasn’t until 2019, 6 years, after studying that I actually had my first $100,000 a year. And this all comes down to perfectionism, that I didn’t even realize I was a perfectionist. When I first started my business, I just thought I had a motivation problem. But really, I was scared to put myself out there. And I was scared to feel the shame that might follow with me being seen to be imperfect, and that I didn’t know what I was doing, and that I didn’t know what I was talking about. So my brain had all of these clever ways to keep me safe, I spent a lot of time editing, researching, and just getting myself ready. But I wasn’t putting myself out there. Because of the way perfectionism works.

So once I actually started to figure out and piece together, how to get out of my own way. And what perfectionism really is and the impact that was having on my business, to the extent that after learning about all the best marketing strategies, and being a smart person, I couldn’t actually implement them simply because the way my brain was thinking about me and my business. And so I looked at so many different productivity strategies and tools and did all the things I could, and all the trial and error to figure it out. And then I started helping other people with what I had figured out. And I’ve seen it work for over 1000 perfectionists entrepreneur clients, and I want to share some of those insights and those steps with you as well in this series, so that you can get out of your own way.

I’ll be telling you what’s in this series in a second. But I just want to quickly mention if you haven’t worked with a coach before, how to think about how a coach can help you because this can really open up so much for you when it comes to your business. So I just want you to think for a second about elite athletes. Those are people who want to reach peak performance, they want to reach their full potential. They don’t want to leave anything on the table, they hire a coach to help them do that. Yes, there’s a rules of the game and the strategies, but they need someone to help them actually reach that potential to help them where they have failures and setbacks to overcome that, to help them keep going. And to be able to show them what’s possible. And really help them live into that and push them in a productive and effective way.

So when it comes to how I can help you with your business, I just want you to think of me, like your performance coach for your business. Because you are going to experience failure as an entrepreneur, no matter what you do, or how right the decisions are that you make, you will have failed launches or products, you will have times where you have low social media engagement, and no one’s liking or commenting or what you are posting. There will be things that suck. How do you handle it? How do you handle it when things aren’t going your way? Typically for perfectionist, we don’t handle it well, we need support with that. We want to be able to bounce back and be resilient and keep going and keep our head up instead of going into a shame spiral.

Another piece of this as well is fear of failure. Are you scared of failing and is this making you not even want to start not even want to show up, you can actually just change the way that you were thinking about that fear in order to get yourself to show up. So I’m going to be sharing what that looks like in this podcast series as well. But if you just assume that you just need to wait till you start feeling scared, you are never going to actually do the things you need to do. You need to learn how to do it scared and how to feel safe while doing that scared. And that’s what me as your coach can help you to do.

So in this five part series, I am going to be sharing with you in this first part, why you procrastinate and really helping you understand that. In part two, I’m going to be teaching you how to get unstuck with important business decisions, like deciding on your niche. In part three, I’m going to be sharing how to start taking consistent action with power planning. So I’m going to share the three steps you can follow and you can start this right away the three steps you can follow to actually plan your week out in a way that calms your perfectionist brain down so you can show up fully. In part four, I’m going to be sharing how to create positive time pressure. So you can confidently put yourself out there this is so important if you’re someone who works well under pressure but right now you also burn out.

I’m going to teach you how to have positive pressure so that you can keep showing up and show up even better than you currently are. and you’re not going to have any of that burnout that has been coming with it. And in the fifth part, I’m going to be sharing how to actually begin implementing this work. If you do want to work with me, I have a program called perfectionist getting shit done, aka PGSD. It’s for perfectionist entrepreneurs to help you plan properly, as infectious and get out of your own way. So you can build that profitable and fulfilling business have the support that you need. So we are opening for enrollment from the 14th to the 21st of March 2024. And I want to tell you about it. So you can decide whether or not it’s for you. If you can relate to what I share in this series, I invite you to sign up and really do this work so that you can have that peak performance that you want to have so that you can reach your full potential in your business, it is really hard to go it alone.

It’s why elite athletes don’t try to do it, they hire help they get someone to help them with their mindset and really be able to organize themselves to do what they need to do. So I want to invite you into that possibility into that opportunity as well. So let’s get started by talking about how perfectionist entrepreneurs who are making less than $100,000 per year in that business. procrastinate. So as I go through this, I just want you to be thinking about, Is this me? Is this something that I’m doing right now. So I’ve divided up into three categories. I have seen this time and time again, with all the clients that I’ve worked with also my own experience, I am not shy about sharing my perfectionist struggles of the Past, Present Future, I really want to do that to help you.

So all of these things I can relate to I have been there. And there’s still little ways this comes up at times just at a more advanced level. So first of all procrastinate on decisions, things like your niche. Maybe you are getting stuck with deciding what your I help statement is your statement about who you help and what you help them with and how you do that. Or maybe you’re trying to figure out what niche you can be in, that’s not too saturated. You know what you actually want to do, but you’re worried that there are already too many competitors in the market for that to make sense for you. Maybe you’re procrastinating on deciding your branding and your website, your colors, which website host to use. Or maybe you’re procrastinating on deciding which social media platforms to be on. Should you start a YouTube channel? Should you have a podcast? Should you just do Instagram, but what about TikTok so you have these decisions you need to make that you are getting stuck with.

Another way that prefectures entrepreneurs, making less than six figures procrastinate is by procrastinating on taking the next steps, whether that’s launching your course, or product or program like actually launching your services into the world. This can also be that you have some services or a product that you get paid for. But it’s not really the thing you want to be doing. But you haven’t yet launched that thing you really want to do. Posting consistently on social media, that’s something you have been procrastinating on doing. You try so hard to motivate yourself, but you just haven’t been able to make it happen. without falling off the wagon, you have an endless To Do List important things get constantly pushed back again. And again, maybe you’ve been wanting to do an email list freebie, and that just keeps getting pushed back. Maybe it’s creating a quiz, your time blocking your calendar out, and then it just gets abandoned. Or maybe you’re procrastinating on putting yourself out there.

So you’re getting more degrees for qualifications. You have a Google doc of Instagram captions that are 80% written or your recorded reels, but you were stuck in the editing phase of the process, because they’re not good enough yet to publish. So if you can relate to that, no, this is all normal. And also it’s not your fault. So I’m going to be telling you more about why that’s the case in a second. But just for a moment, understand that if I could just articulate that in a way that resonated for you. It means it’s not a you problem. It’s a perfectionism problem. And there’s something that you can do about that. And there’s so many others who had this as well. I’ve had all of this experience too, and I’ve been able to build a really successful business. So this isn’t a sign that you’re just a procrastinator and you’re never going to be able to succeed. And you just need to manage your procrastination tendencies. No, we can actually reduce that desire to procrastinate by creating safety, emotional safety, and having tools that calm your perfectionist brain down so you can confidently and consistently put yourself out there.

So let’s talk about how perfectionist entrepreneurs try to stop themselves procrastinating. These are things that you have for sure tried, that haven’t worked and just know that it’s normal that these haven’t worked, even though you’ve seen them maybe work for others around you. So doing a lot of research, we just try to motivate ourselves to be confident enough by getting more and more knowledge books, webinars, podcasts, YouTube videos, talking to people googling things, using ChatGPT. We just want to make sure that we have all the information and we have this belief that Once I actually have the clarity I need, I’ll be able to start procrastinating. If that doesn’t work. I’ll explain why in a second.

So another way that perfectionist entrepreneurs try to stop procrastinating is investing in things to help them do it, right. So that impostor syndrome goes away. So degrees certifications courses, you are just wanting to actually feel like you’re qualified to do what you were doing, even though you already are, whether that’s literally or you have the experience to be able to do it. But you just want it that imposter syndrome, that feeling that I don’t really know what I’m talking about, you want it to go away, and you are educating yourself to try and get that to go away. It never will. I’ll talk about that more in a second. And it’s okay that it never will.

So the other thing we try to do, waking up early and a morning routine, that perfect morning routine, we hope that that will motivate us to actually do the things we need to do and stop procrastinating on them, buying new equipment, a camera and microphone to try and motivate yourself getting meaner and meaner to yourself, you should know better than to be procrastinator, this, you should have already done this by now. The self talk we can have to try and motivate ourselves to not procrastinate can be very, very, very severe. Asking friends and family to keep you accountable. Maybe you text them your to do list items and say hey, I’m just texting you this. So you can make sure I actually do it, you don’t trust yourself to be able to do the things you want to do. So you are trying to get others around you to help maybe you have a business bestie and keep each other accountable. But you are just trying to add in all this accountability support. Because you don’t trust yourself to actually do the things you need to do.

You’re setting timers and alarms, you were using internet blocking apps, or deleting social media to try and get yourself to do those things. You’re wanting more information, you want the clarity to make sure you don’t waste your time and you don’t make the wrong decision. You want more time because there are so many little things to be done that you don’t have time for the big things. Also, you’ve got too much going on in your personal life right now to even have the full mental energy that you want to have. And you also want to feel more confident, you want to feel ready, you don’t want to be locked out, you don’t want to do anything. cringy you don’t want to get any weird comments from friends or family or people on the internet.

And so you have been putting things off. But let’s talk about the real reason why you have been procrastinating. It’s not your fault. So hear about these three and just really understand underneath this all is it is not your fault. Yes, you are smart. Yes, you are intelligent. And you procrastinate, it isn’t a sign that you’re lazy. It’s not a sign that you’re not cut out for business, it’s not a sign that you’ll never be successful. It’s just because of these three things. So there are three reasons why you procrastinate, one of them you need to learn to manage, but two of them you can actually solve for that will help you eliminate your desire to procrastinate. So you can show up confidently and consistently put yourself out there.

So the first and this is the one you just need to learn how to manage is you have a human brain, this might include some neuro divergence, but you have a human brain that doesn’t want you to do things. So we’ll talk about that. You’re also in the perfectionist mindset. This is number two, your brain right now is thinking thoughts. And not everyone thinks this, a lot of people do. But your brain right now is thinking thoughts that are making you procrastinate. So we’ll talk about what that looks like specifically, because you can do something about that for sure. And number three is that the productivity tools you’re using, and making your perfectionist mindset work against you instead of for you.

So it can really just be understanding as well, like I just have the wrong tools. And it’s such a relief to know that too. So let’s go into it. So first of all, you have a human brain understanding this piece alone, it’s just so impactful. Because of the way that we want all fear to be gone before we can start taking any steps forward, just knowing that your brain is wired for survival. And it wants to avoid rejection. We want to avoid as well discomfort unless absolutely necessary. So how our brains work is that they seek pleasure, avoid pain, and they also conserve energy. That means that your brain in order to conserve energy is going to want to think the same thought it’s always thought. I’m not good enough. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know enough, your brain is going to think those as a habit because it’s more efficient for your brain.

And your brain needs to conserve energy in case something dangerous is going to happen. And it needs that energy to get you into safety. So this is primitive stuff we’re talking about here. But this is like your brain thinking you might have to run away from a tiger. So we don’t want to spend any mental energy on things If we can avoid it, let’s just think the same thoughts. The problem too with this, the more you think of thought, the more true it feels. And so when we are not understanding that our brain is literally wired, to have thought patterns, and that this is different to those sorts of being true, when we don’t understand that our brain is really just wanting to keep us alive. And that often doesn’t align with us doing amazing things and reaching our potential. It just wants us to stay safe in the cave. And also, if you think back to how things were when we were in tribes, that if your tribe was to reject you, you would die.

You needed that support of the tribe to be able to have shelter, food, water, that connection was everything, that connection was literally your livelihood. And so your brain still has that primitive thinking. And that is always going to be there to contend with, I mentioned to about neuro divergence, because many of my clients have things like ADHD, OCD, things like that. And so it’s understanding that your human brain might also have some of those things going on. And there are strategies that can help with that, or medication or whatever that looks like for you personally. But your human brain doesn’t want you to do things, it doesn’t want you to put yourself out there. So you can’t wait for complete confidence. Because your brain will always want to keep you in safety, in familiarity, to try and keep you alive.

What has been such a relief for me and my clients to know is that when we are getting in our own way, that is a sign we have a smart brain, it is doing its job, we can rewire it so that we can feel safe in unfamiliar situations. And it doesn’t trigger that flight fight or freeze response. But you’re never going to have complete confidence. Because your brain wants to keep you safe. So you’ve got to learn to do things when your legs are trembling, or your ideas are going to go with you to your grave. I don’t say that to be dramatic. I just say that because it’s true. One of the biggest Regrets of the Dying is that I wish I had actually given it a go, I wish I had actually done the things that I wanted to do. Because our human brain makes us get in our own way.

And we need to actually overcome that actively. Rather than waiting for the fear to go away all those people you admire and you look up to and you think they feel so confident. They are just people who have learned how to do things scared. So let’s talk about the second thing I mentioned, you’re a perfectionist, you have a perfectionist brain, right now you’re in the perfectionist mindset. So alongside having a human brain, that’s always going to not want you to do things to some degree. Understanding that you’re in the perfectionist mindset. And the extra resistance this creates can really help you to eliminate it, because we’re not trying to get to a place where you never ever procrastinate. You never ever have any resistance, you’re always in alignment and flow. I know that sounds amazing. But trying to aspire to that actually keeps us stuck.

But when it comes to the procrastination, that happens due to your perfectionist mindset in particular, you can do something about it, you can reduce that procrastination. So if you think about having 100% of the procrastination right now is where you’re at, maybe 20% of that will always be there. But 80% of it, you can do something about by understanding your perfectionist brain getting the right tools to support it. And then learning how to rewire those perfectionist thoughts and have growth minded thoughts instead that allow you to confidently and courageously do things, because you’re not making failure means something about your adequacy, your sufficiency, your love ability.

So let’s talk about what it actually means to be a perfectionist. Because there are so many misconceptions around what perfectionism actually is. The misconceptions are, perfectionists are neat and organized. They’re control freaks, and they do everything to a really high standard. So some of my clients have described themselves as being the most disorganized, organized person that they know. And I think this is so accurate. This is definitely how I felt as a perfectionist. I loved organizing things, writing to do lists, planning, getting my ducks in a row. But also, for example, I had things in the boot of my car, like just random bits and pieces of things that needed to just be put away. For years at a time, I would have those things and to Sorry, can’t put anything in my boot. It’s full of just junk, but it’s full, things like that, that happened that we don’t associate that with being a perfectionist.

But when you really understand what perfectionism is, you can start to see actually, that so many people who don’t identify as a perfectionist, the way we typically think about it as a society are actually perfectionist and just knowing this and having a word for it. It’s not to give you a label, and something that you’re going to be stuck with. But having language around it gives you access to solutions. Once I started to understand and piece together what perfectionism really is, and therefore what I could do about it. That’s when I was able to get out of my own way, but I thought it was just a motivation problem or a me problem, that I wasn’t able to do anything so it’s not about labels here. It is really about understanding how your brain is currently working.

So I love Brene Brown. She’s a shame and vulnerability researcher, you might have seen some of her TED Talks and things like that they’re very popular. But I love the way she talks about perfectionism, particularly as it relates to shame. So she says that perfectionism, like when we’re in that mindset, it’s the belief that if I just look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid it shame, judgment and blame. And really, the way I’ve interpreted this and seen with so many of my clients, is that perfectionism is just a strategy to avoid shame. It’s a pretty ineffective one, given that we shame ourselves so much. But that’s why we want to avoid shame, because we are shaming ourselves so much. We don’t want anyone else to add to that, because then that will feel unbearable.

So we do all sorts of things, to try to avoid shame. After working with and studying so many of my clients, I have seen time and time again, these five signs of perfectionism that manifests for perfectionist entrepreneurs, especially when they are going from zero to six figures, though beyond that this applies to so the first sign of perfectionism is overthinking. Then there’s procrastination, burnout, fear of judgment, and the all or nothing mindset. So these aren’t things that as a society, we typically coupled with perfectionism, if you go into the research, you’ll see that those connections are there. But as a society, day to day when we talk about perfectionism, we’re just talking about neat organized people.

But perfectionist, we are scared people. And it’s not just fear of failure and rejection, though that’s part of it. There’s also fear of success, we are fearful of being unlovable being abandoned, the shame that will come with that. We don’t want to be too successful that our friends can’t relate to us anymore. But we don’t want to be too unsuccessful, that our friends can’t relate to us anymore. Either. We want to be fitting in there’s that people pleaser that goes on with perfectionism. We are just scared of experiencing that physical sensation of shame that sensation that research has shown is physically painful. We are trying so damn hard to avoid that. And we do all sorts of creative things. Like the things I mentioned earlier, to avoid feeling that shame.

So in this series, we’re just talking about procrastination in particular. But there are so many ways, those five ways that perfectionism manifests in business. And they’re all ways that we get to avoid putting in a full effort, because ultimately, we are so scared that if we put in a full effort, we will find out that we aren’t good enough, and our greatest fear that we are unlovable will be confirmed. So we hold ourselves back. So we can say, Well, I would have done better if I tried harder, or I would be successful if I had more time, if I actually had gotten started, we love the potential that we have, especially if you have been praised growing up for being smart and intelligent, if you are someone who has a degree or two like myself, that you are someone who really deeply believes in your potential as an entrepreneur, and it scares the shit out of you to find out that that might not be the truth.

So we do these things. And we bend over backwards to avoid putting ourselves out there fully so that we get to hold on to that potential and what I help my clients do. And the work that I do on my own perfectionism is really helping me get into a different mindset. So that I can be willing to give a full effort because of course, we intellectually understand better what’s needed to really be successful. But I can give a full effort without going into over preparing and stress and burnout, I can give a full clean effort. And I can handle whatever comes from that.

When it comes to perfectionism, it’s really important to know, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s not toxic. People talk about perfectionism. As if it’s just as bad habit you should cut out you know, all you need to do is just write on a post it note. Done is better than perfect. And then just stop trying to do things perfectly. But I was so frustrated with that advice, because I intellectually understood that I needed to just let things be good enough and keep moving. But I couldn’t emotionally do that. And so learning how to get yourself to do that emotionally and again, feel safe while doing that and have your own back while doing that is absolutely everything.

Perfectionism is not something that you are stuck with. You can change your brain and as a coach, that’s what I help you to do. I help you rewire your brain so that you can do the things you want to do and implement all the things you already know are your next step. You can have confidence making those decisions, you can get yourself to show up, you can do it in a way that doesn’t freak you out. You can handle failure, you can handle rejection, and literally not make it mean anything about you. I know that people say, just don’t worry about what other people think. But you do worry. So what do we actually do about that, that’s what I’m going to help you with.

And the third reason that you procrastinate is that you’re unknowingly using productivity tools that are turning your perfectionism handbrake on that are making your perfectionist mindset work against you instead of working for you. So you probably don’t know this. But perfectionist constantly the same productivity advice as everyone else, I got so stuck, trying to do to do lists time blocking the Pomodoro method, paper planners. post-it notes, all these different things, calendars, I tried so many different time management techniques, trying to get myself to stop procrastinating to show up for lean to actually do the things that I told myself that I would do. And they didn’t work. And once I realized that once I realized that actually, it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me, I just needed a tool that worked with my perfectionist brain, that’s when I was able to actually get my business off the ground.

And to be able to build a successful business that I just actually had a problem with the tools that I was using. And as much as I love a to do list, you need to have something that actually gets your perfectionist brain on your side, so you can get out of your own way. And so let’s just talk for a second specifically about to do lists, because it’s something perfectionist love, we love that cathartic feeling of writing out the to do list, and the optimism of like, I might actually get all of this done. And even though it never gets done, and we just feel more and more guilty that everything is looming over us. And we still haven’t done it. And we’re getting even more behind because we have so many ideas as an entrepreneur that we’re always adding to that list.

Even though we love it, it is making you procrastinate just by virtue of trying to use that tool. So if you go to Google or chatGPT, and you ask it, how do I organize my time? How do I plan my time, so I can be effective. One of the top things that will come up, this is such an example of why popular productivity vise, it just doesn’t work for perfectionist, one of the things that comes up is this. And you might have tried this before, write a to do list. And then what you need to do is prioritize it. So get out your highlighter, and highlight the top three to five things, and then work on those. And then once those are complete, you can come back to the list. So that sounds like great advice, of course, prioritization, that’s an important thing, you’re always going to have an endless list of things to do. But there’s quite a few reasons. And I’ll talk about them more in part three.

But there’s quite a few reasons that doesn’t work. But let’s just think about the experience of that, to really see how it plays out. For a perfectionist entrepreneur using a to do list. So you’re a creative person you love working, you have lots of ideas. So that to do list is long, it is a long, long, long to do list. And there’s lots of big projects on there. Maybe it’s like start a YouTube channel. And there’s lots of little things that needs to be on there as well. It’s just this big mix of things. So you write this list, and you highlight those things. And you get so overwhelmed, you just feel like pause and redo it like I don’t have it, I literally just don’t have enough time to get this done and to make any progress with this.

And so what we tend to do in that situation is we go into busy work, we start ticking off the little unimportant things just to get a feeling of progress. So maybe you’re going on and you’re checking social media stats, or you’re doing market research or just wanting to do something because you feel so overwhelmed about where to start is that all or nothing mindset that perfectionist have that we feel like if we can’t do all of it, there’s no point doing any of it has other problems with this as well. You need to have your productivity system, it needs to have a goal. And a lot of perfectionist have so many things that go on with goal setting. We’ll talk about that too, in part three. But when it comes to this experience, you have this free list, you get overwhelmed, you go into that busy work, and then you feel guilty.

And also there’s that like time pressure that’s building throughout the week, you don’t want to waste the week. So towards the end of the week, you’re like okay, I might actually start working on those big things that I need to get done. So you’ll either actually start doing that and you’ll end up like working through the night and just completely throwing your personal life out the door. If you have the option to do that. If you don’t have kids or whatever, maybe you do and then you’re just kind of thinking about it always in your mind working on it on your phone and just trying to sneak things in.

So you just go into that and you could feel really inspired doing this too. But you just go into this like work mode, where you are feeling like okay, I actually need to do it now and if I could just do it perfectly And I need a lot of time to do that, if I could just do it perfectly, maybe I’d be okay. Or you just end up pushing it off and push it off. And when you are in this cycle as well, this burnout cycle that comes from having a to do list and using a tool that doesn’t work for your perfectionist brain, what’s going to happen is that just you are constantly pushing off the big things because you’re trying to get all the little things done, so that you have enough time for the big thing. So that you might find that you are just constantly trying to tick these little things off to get them out of the way. So that you can really give your full attention over to that big thing.

So ultimately, the result of this is that at the end of the week, you actually haven’t made any progress, any real progress, or you have made some progress. But you’re so burned out, you’re letting your whole personal life burn, you are just not actually in this place, we were able to then go into the next week and be really productive and have this feeling of momentum with you. You’re either so exhausted that you can’t do that. But there’s new things to do so that you write and even longer to do lists. And that’s so overwhelming, you go into this cycle again. Or you are trying to now make up for past procrastination. And so you are adding even extra things to that to do lists, which is making you more overwhelmed, which is making you go into their busy work, and then you feel guilty. And then so you try and overwork to compensate for that.

And then you add an even longer to do list. And so it repeats. To Do Lists time blocking SMART goals, they don’t work for perfectionist. And once you can understand this and get the right tools in episode three in this series, I’m going to be going through the three steps of power planning. Once you have that in place, so much of your procrastination is going to subside just from using the right tools alone, we talked about there being your human brain. And then you’re in a perfectionist mindset. And you’re using the wrong tools. Those are the three reasons you procrastinate. What we want to be in the situation of is that you are just left with the procrastination that comes from having a human brain that you are able to then manage that and have effective strategies for that.

But you don’t have all this extra procrastination on top. This really painful procrastination about 80% of your procrastination, coming from you being in a perfectionist mindset. And using the wrong tools for that perfectionist mindset. So the truth is this, that within 72 hours, you can have all of the information you need to make the decisions you’ve been procrastinating on and confidently move forward. Maybe in your situation, it might be seven days, maybe it might be 14. But generally speaking, as someone who loves procrastin-researching, you have a pretty sufficient bank of knowledge that you already have in your brain that you can pull on. And you just need the courage to make a decision and a different way of thinking about decisions to be able to move forward, rather than getting more information.

The only reason you don’t have enough time is because you’re not planning properly as a perfectionist. Not planning properly as a perfectionist is why you push things off and procrastinate, you haven’t got the right tool. So you do revenge bedtime procrastination, where you stay up really late at night, and then you struggle to wake up early in the morning. Because in the middle of the night, that’s the only me time, you actually allow yourself that’s the only time where you don’t have the pressure to be doing everything perfectly. You constantly pushing off the most important things you need to do. That’s just really a planning problem is so important to know that putting stuff out that will feel uncomfortable, your brain is not going to like it. But also there are practical things you can do to help.

So if we bring this together to wrap this episode up, there are really three steps to getting out of your own way as a perfectionist entrepreneur, make business decisions like a business owner, rather than making them like a student or an employee. I’m going to talk about that in the next episode. The next step is to plan your week properly as a perfectionist. So in the third part of this series, I’m going to be sharing with you the three steps of power planning and talking about your growth goal as well. And then the third step is to confidently and consistently put yourself out there. So in the fourth part of this series, I’m going to be talking about how to create positive time pressure so that you can do that so that you can do your best work without it burning you out.

So hope you found this episode incredibly helpful. And in that part five of this series I’m going to be telling you more about how to work with me in my program perfectionist getting shit done. If you do want to find out more about it, you can go to samlaurabrown.com/pgsd to join the waitlist. I want to invite you in there. If you can relate to this. I really want to help you and not just have you understand this but really be able to live this and reduce your procrastination and be able to confidently show up and put yourself out there. And if you haven’t already subscribed to this podcast hit the subscribe button because in two day’s time I’m going to be sharing part two of this series where I’m going to be teaching you how to get unstuck with important business decisions like your niche.

Author: Sam Brown