My Big Planning Mistake: How I Thought I Was Planning When I Really Wasn't

By Alicia Cohen

Can you relate to the “hamster wheel marathon”? 


You’s that never-ending, hanging-on-by-a-thread, exhausted race of daily life.  The one where you wake up, run around all day doing “stuff,” and by the end of the day feel completely spent but can’t remember what you actually got done.  That’s how I was living.


The hamster wheel marathon was my life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 


And, to make matters worse, it never seemed to matter how hard I worked or how hard I tried -- my to do list was always there, as long as ever, leaving me feeling defeated.  I desperately wanted to get off the hamster wheel marathon, but I just couldn’t.  No matter how hard I tried.  Anyone else know what I’m talking about?



Here’s the part that really got to me.  I was already organized!  I already had a color-coded calendar in my phone, and I already had a to-do list.  I read books, tried different hacks and ideas, and searched for ANYTHING that would free me from my constant feeling of failure and exhaustion.  Typing this now, I feel a little sad thinking about how hard it was for me.  It was a pretty not-fun way to live.


So, if I was already organized, what made the difference?  Planning.



Wait, what?!?



Yes!  ACTUALLY planning.


See, I thought I was planning.  I mentioned my color-coded calendar and my to-do list.  I also had done some reflecting, had done some goal writing, and had even completed an online workshop or two (…..or ten?  Really, I’ve just lost count…) on this topic.  And, in all of this, the missing piece to why my planning system wasn’t working was because I was missing the PLANNING!  


To my credit, I thought I was planning.  I really did.  I thought having an organized calendar and a to-do list were the components of what makes up a planning system.  Now I know that these are included but are NOT what actually makes a planning system a planning system.


It was when I started actually planning in a way that was comprehensive, intentional, and SYNTHESIZED that the magic started to happen. 


I finally got off of the hamster wheel marathon!!!  (Oh the joy I feel being able to type that sentence!!!) 


The results were noticeable to me.  I was calmer and in-control of my days.  I was now running my day instead of my day running me.  I felt successful.  I felt productive.  And, I did NOT feel like I was just running around in a frantic haze all day long trying to get done as much as possible so that I could finally get caught up (which, of course, never happened).  Best of all and most of all?  I was actually including time for the things that were most meaningful and important to me in my day!  My joy was coming back!  I am forever grateful to have discovered that “planning” was what was missing from my planning! 


(Fun side note: The song “Rise Up” by Andra Day just came on as I’m finishing up writing this post.  Love this song!  And, it seems to be an appropriate theme song for this blog post about overcoming my struggle with the hamster wheel marathon!!)


Ok, so, if you want to learn more about my method, please check out my FREE download -- the Chaos to Calm Roadmap -- where I walk you through the steps to how I plan my life!



Heeeey, Sweet Sister!  I'm Alicia, and I'm so excited that you're here!  I love a lot of things in life, but at the top of my list are my wonderful husband, my two precious kids, and helping other planner-mamas get back their joy and peace in life through intentional, functional planning!


Are you feeling frazzled?  Stuck?  Overwhelmed?  Exhausted?  I get it.  I've been there.  It would be my privilege to help you create a new reality for yourself!


Click below to get started with my step-by-step guide!