Episode 470: [Follow Through Series] 4 Simple Steps To Consistent, Sustainable Follow Through

Welcome to Part 2 of my 5-part Follow Through Series.  A series to help you release your perfectionism handbrake and consistently follow through with your plans without burning yourself out.

Today I’m sharing 4 simple steps to taking consistent, sustainable action. And they’re easier than you think. 

You don’t need to be motivated. You don’t need to banish procrastination or overthinking. You don’t need more willpower. You also don’t need more time or less distractions. And you don’t need to feel more confident.

Tune into the episode to discover the 4 simple steps to consistent, sustainable follow through. If you’ve been struggling to stay motivated, this episode is going to be a revelation.

If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to take a screenshot and tag me on instagram @perfectionismproject.

And for the episode transcript and full show notes, visit at samlaurabrown.com/episode470.

In The Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The real reason most perfectionists struggle to make take consistent action
  • Where perfectionists go wrong with goal-setting
  • Why you never have enough time to get everything done
  • The hard truth that perfectionists ignore about productivity
  • How to support yourself to get shit done even when you don’t feel like it

Featured In The Episode:

Work With Me:
If you’re ready to plan properly as a perfectionist so it’s easy to follow through with your plans, I invite you to join us inside Perfectionists Getting Shit Done (aka PGSD). Inside you’ll be using my proven productivity process to take consistent action on the most important things for your business and mentally switch off when you’re not working. 
Now is the perfect time to join as our 12 Week Power Planning Challenge gets started on 1 July. To join us for the challenge, simply sign up for PGSD by 11:59pm New York Time on Sunday, 30 June by visiting 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 470 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
It’s part two of my five part series on follow through. And in this episode, I’m going to be sharing with you four simple steps to taking action. So in part one, we already talked about the follow through fallacy, where you don’t need to be more motivated or more disciplined or have more willpower than you have right now. You just need to learn how to plan properly as a perfectionist, and once you’re planning properly as a perfectionist, it is so much easier to follow through. If you are someone who struggles to trust themselves to follow through with their plans, if you’re scared of wasting effort on the wrong thing, if you’re overwhelmed by everything that there is to do, if there’s maybe something you’ve been procrastinating on doing, like creating something or launching something, you struggle to market yourself consistently. You start things but you don’t finish them. Or if you do finish them, it takes you way longer than you wanted. You’re just working longer hours and you’re burned out and you can’t switch off.

If that is you, this series is going to be incredibly helpful. And really, I think, just give you such a sense of relief, because if you have been busy trying to be more motivated and more disciplined and more willpowered, if that’s a word, you don’t actually need to do those things. You don’t need to wake up early. You don’t need to have a really amazing morning routine. You can if you like, but it’s not a necessity. And I want to really have you focusing on what’s necessary and what’s essential so that you can actually really move the needle for yourself in your business, so that your business can grow, so that your effort and energy you’re putting into your business is going into the most helpful place.

So today, I’m going to be sharing with you the four simple steps to taking action. So first of all, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to do. Second, you need to know it will be worth the effort. Third, you need to be well rested enough to actually do it, especially if you’re trying to do anything courageous or boring or tedious, or a mix of all of the above. And then fourth, you need a weekly practice that makes it easy to do all those three things. So let’s just get into a bit about each of those. So you need to know exactly what you’re trying to do. This is the first planning mistake that perfectionists make, that you don’t actually know what you’re working towards, that you might have a rough goal and when it comes to business. So of course, businesses make money, and your revenue is one of the ways to measure the success of your business.

Of course, there’s other metrics as well. But if you want to be full time in your business and comfortably supporting yourself, the revenue is a really important aspect of it. Even if you had a charity, you would be doing fundraising like money is a very important part of business. So right now you might have a vague goal, and I see this so often. I’ve had a lot of conversations recently where the perfectionist entrepreneur either has a goal like, you know, I want to make $100,000 at some point, or they have a goal like, I just want to cover my expenses and then some. Or they have a specific amount they want to be making, but they don’t actually know how much the business needs to make in order for them to make that amount, you need to have clarity.

You need to know what you’re trying to do. You need to know, if we use an analogy of driving a car, you need to actually have a destination in the GPS. You need to know where you’re going. Otherwise, it is so hard to be productive. It’s actually impossible, because what result are you trying to produce? Productivity is about producing and not just taking action and being busy, but producing a result. And if you don’t know what result you are trying to get to, then of course you’re gonna have the other problems that I talk about as well in this episode, like you’re not gonna know what’s important and what isn’t, and you’re gonna be so confused and so overwhelmed when it gets to the beginning of your week about what you need to do.

Everything is gonna feel so important when you don’t actually know your goal. And there really is no point trying to be productive unless you know what you’re trying to produce. And there’s so much talk about smart goals and having a realistic goal. I do not believe in that you need to have a goal that isn’t this fairy tale goal, but it actually needs to be a bit above what you believe is possible to be able to release your perfectionism handbrake. If you have a goal that feels realistic to you, that just means that it’s in alignment with your limiting beliefs. So having a goal, a growth goal, we call it inside Perfectionist Getting Shit Done. Having a goal that works for your perfectionist brain is a really important part of planning properly as a perfectionist, and is a really important part of following through with your plans.

You don’t need more time. You just need to use a time you have more intentionally. And setting a growth goal is the first step towards that. You need to know exactly what you’re trying to do. The second step to taking action is you need to know it’ll be worth the effort. So we perfectionist. We don’t want to waste effort on the wrong thing. And if you are having a hard time following through, most likely, you feel like, well, what’s a difference? Either I’m not going to get it done fully. You can’t trust yourself to actually complete it, or I will get it done, but I don’t even know if it will make a difference.

So this is also a symptom of not having a growth goal for your business. But additionally, you need to be thinking about the needle movers for your business. These are the tasks and projects that will actually make the biggest difference to the growth of your business at any given point in time, in your business, there are always a million things to do. There are so many different areas of business, as marketing, sales, delivery, operations, finances, HR, like so many things to be doing in business. And so while we like to think like if I just had more time, I’d be able to get it all done. There is no amount of time that would have you getting everything done.

Even businesses that have 1000s of employees need to actually think about their needle movers and what are the most important things? What are the most impactful things for me to be focusing on and completing right now. They need to be aligned with a goal. Otherwise, of course, you’re going to feel like, I don’t know if it’ll be worth the effort. You don’t even know what you’re trying to have it build up to. So you need to be thinking about your needle movers and what they are. And inside Perfectionist Getting Shit Done when you are doing your power planning in your Power Hour, which is the first step when you’re planning out your week, what you will do is you actually understand and decide what your needle movers are.

So number three is that you need to be well rested enough to actually do the things that you plan to do. So not only do you have a goal, so you know what you’re working towards, and not only do you know it’ll be worth the effort, because with the time that you have, you are using that for what matters most. You are doing only what’s essential, then you need to be well rested enough to actually do it. This is incredibly important. If you have courageous things that you need to do, if you are needing to put yourself out there, or have uncomfortable conversations, or maybe there’s a system or process in your business you need to set up that is really tedious and really boring, and your brain just wants to be overwhelmed by the tech or all the systems and processes and things that need to go into it.

So I love this saying that I heard recently, never do more today than you can fully recover from by tomorrow, and one thing that I see is that so many people struggle to follow through with their plans because they are so exhausted, or because they’re half pace, because they’re always working. If you imagine like you want to go for a run, and you know that it’s a 30 minute run, you could probably do a pretty decent run, even if you’re not great at running, like your brain can know I just need to be running for 30 minutes. In 31 minutes, I won’t be running anymore. I will be resting. But if you are trying to run all day, every day, you’re either going to be sprinting and then just burning yourself out and not being able to continue, or this is what a lot of perfectionist entrepreneurs do, you’ll be kind of just jogging along, working at half pace because it is unsustainable to sprint all the time, but because you’re telling yourself that you need to be productive. 24/7, then you aren’t actually able to really operate at the highest level.

You’re not able to be focused. You’re not able to say no to distractions or to adjust when there are disruptions. You’re just trying to just keep going, instead of having times where you’re being focused and then times when you’re resting. So when you are power planning and planning properly as a perfectionist, which I’ll talk about in a second, what that full process looks like, you’ll be scheduling what I call clean rest into your calendar. So clean rest is when you are resting without guilt. Though, I will say in the beginning you will feel guilty because there’s some deconditioning that needs to be done for you to not feel guilty while resting. But it’s time that you’re saying this is not for my business, and it’s a bit uncomfortable. But when you’re working, you are really working. You’re able to be focused. You’re able to do the hard things, the scary things, because, you know, the equivalent of 31 minutes from now, I will be resting, and you can trust yourself to do that. It feels like, well, once my business is more successful, then I can take more time off. No, your business isn’t more successful because you were so exhausted and so busy, and you don’t switch off. You have switch off so you can fully switch on. A rested mind achieves so much more than a tired mind can.

So number four is that you need a weekly practice that makes it easy to do all of these three things. So when you get to Wednesday morning, you’re not feeling like, oh my God, I’m so far behind I don’t even know what to do like, I know what to do today. I know that it matters. I know that it is going to add up to something, and I’m well rested enough to actually do it. So that process is power planning. I just want to share with you what the three steps to power planning are, so you get a bit of a feel for it. So this is when you are planning. You’ll use a digital calendar, and you are working through three steps each week. Your Power Hour. Your little tweaks. Your weekly review. Very simple. Anyone can learn how to do them.

So first of all, in your Power Hour, it’s a one hour period at the beginning of your week. Can be any day of the week that you’re going to put your needle moving tasks in your digital calendar and create contingency plans that make it easy to get everything done without feeling overwhelmed. You’ll know exactly which task to leave for the future. And will start your week feeling on top of your business, even if you have a full time job, you’re raising young kids like you’ve got a lot on your plate. Most perfectionists do. You will actually feel such a sense of calm and control, because you know what you’re working towards. You know that what you’re going to do will actually be worth the effort, and you know that you’re going to be well rested enough to do it. You are supporting yourself and being kind to yourself with your calendar. You are not over scheduling yourself and pressuring yourself as most perfectionists do when they have attempted calendaring before.

So the second step is little tweaks. So every day, you’re going to spend a little bit of time tweaking and adjusting the plans you have in your calendar so you can get everything done, even if something unexpected comes up, then you have step three, which is the weekly review, or as I like to call it, the self study session. So at the end of the week, you’re going to be doing a brief weekly review to discover what worked, what didn’t work, and what to do differently when it comes to your planning and your follow through. We are developing the skill set of planning and following through. Instead of having to try harder and be more motivated and more disciplined, you can actually create plans for yourself that are more supportive and make it easier to follow through.

And it creates this incredible positive compound effect when you do this week after week, that you are actually able to understand yourself so much more deeply, to be making plans that actually support you and are aligned with your goals and also your personal life as well. If you started a business to have more freedom, we don’t want to have you working our 24/7. We want to actually have you been able to have clean rest and to be able to switch off. So by planning properly, as a perfectionist, you’re able to do that.

So those are the three steps of power planning. You have your Power Hour, your little tweaks and your weekly review. I’ll teach you those steps inside my program, Perfectionist, Getting Shit Done, and give you the support and accountability to really get it working for you and your lifestyle, no matter what circumstances you have, how busy you are, how much is on your plate, if you struggle with motivation, if you have a health issue, if you have a full time job, I’ve got you covered. Anyone can learn power planning. I have taught so many different people from all different industries, all different life circumstances, how to power plan and have that makes such a difference for them.

So what I want to share with you now is what to expect, after three months of power planning, and I say three months because it’s so important to take a growth minded approach to power planning, which means, instead of thinking about it, the perfectionist way, the all or nothing way, which is, I need to try this and have it work instantly, to instead say, okay, here I am learning the skill set of planning and following through. And so taking an approach of it’s going to take three months of imperfect practice is really going to help you to actually show up and keep going for it. And inside PGSD, starting on the first of July, we’re going to be doing a 12 week power planning challenge. If you love support and accountability, and if you feel alone in your business and you just want just want to be surrounded by other perfectionist entrepreneurs who love personal development and who are going to be learning power planning alongside you, I really want to invite you inside PGSD, that 12 week challenge is just such a great way to get started with power planning and to really be supported and to be held accountable, if that is something you’re wanting help with.

So after three months inside PGSD, here’s what to expect. So you’re going to start each day feeling clear on exactly what to do and when to do it. You’re going to trust yourself to do what you plan to do and to be able to get yourself back on track. This isn’t about being perfectly productive. This is about trusting yourself to either be productive or if you’re not, to be able to bring yourself back to productivity. You will know when you need to make plans to your calendar, and you’ll be able to adjust your calendar and adjust your plans without feeling guilty about it or stressed about it. You’ll also be able to trust that what you’ve put in your calendar, will actually get you to your goals. Once you actually know that what you’re doing is going to be worth it. Your motivation is going to skyrocket.

You’ll also be able to spend time doing things like posting consistently to social media without overthinking, creating really high quality work and attracting more customers and clients and having that take you less time, because you’re not overthinking, you’re not procrastinating. You’re not putting things off. You’ll be able to do big picture planning and really turn your ideas into reality and to know that you can follow through with them. You’ll be calmly working towards important deadlines and putting yourself confidently forward for opportunities as well. Your fear of judgment, your fear of being seen, that will all reduce as you plan properly. You’ll also have a flexible structure that helps you to get work done at your highest level. And you’ll be able to get a lot done because you’re decisive and clear on what matters most. And if you do procrastinate, but you’re just going to be able to pull yourself out of it. You will finish each day feeling energized and productive. You’ll have clear boundaries between work life and home life, so you can be fully present in both.

And if you do have a full time job or a lot on your plate, you’ll really be able to balance the different areas of your life. Instead of feeling like you’re either all in your business and your personal life is burning down, or you’re in a season of family or personal life things and your business isn’t getting attended to, you’ll actually be able to support both, and you’ll be able to really quickly notice when you’re getting in your own way. Instead of it going on for months or weeks, it’ll be days and hours instead, and then you’ll be able to get yourself back on track. So I hope you found this episode really helpful. In part three, I’m going to be talking about knowing your needle movers. We’re going to go more into detail about prioritizing your tasks and really knowing what’s important, so that you know that when you are working, you’re making good use of that time. It doesn’t matter how much time you have to build your business. What matters is what you do with your time. So I will talk to you in part three, where we get into your needle movers.

If you’re ready to start planning properly as a perfectionist so you can follow through with your plans, I invite you to join us inside perfectionist getting shit done. We will be starting a 12 week power planning challenge on the first of July, and it’s going to be perfect for you. If you’re in need of a mid year reset, or you love extra accountability and support, to join us for the challenge inside the program, all you need to do is be inside PGSD by 11:59pm New York time on Sunday the 30th of June. You can find out more about the program and sign up at samlaurabrown.com/pgsd.

Author: Sam Brown