The first thing is to obsess about it.
The next is to use good products.
But I'll keep that one secret. The rest is in the process.
Do a search on detailing and you should find loads of info. 2 bucket wash. only water or micro fiber touches my car, no "dusters" or "wash cloths". If it hits the ground, it never touches the paint again. If it touches the wheels and brake dust, it never touches the paint again.
Once 2 or three times a year, I polish the car in 2 or 3 stages (of grit level). Then wax the car with several layers of gloss. I then keep up with the cleaning and detail spray between the polish sessions.
as a result about 90% of the polish I use is able to be the finest grit.
I use a machine buffer, random orbital from Griots, the small one. It is great for the tight curves of the Lotus, but I look forward to getting a bigger one as well, for the larger flat sections.
I will say this, I am very near to having a pro come by and make the car perfect again. I track the car heavily so it is about time for a starshield replacement and some advanced work with the little pin sized chips.