life Work

AM routine & call day 1/7

February 5, 2020

I’ve probably written at least a dozen morning routine posts over the years, because it’s always changing! But since I had a recent request, here is the current one:

4:40 or so: alarm (using iPhone Bedtime alarm)

4:50 downstairs. Coffee is set to brew on a timer and is hot/ready when I get downstairs (VERY IMPORTANT. This has become a mandatory ritual for me.)

5:00 plan out day using daily Hobonichi page. Create to do list and schedule referring to weekly view to do so.

5:10 write a post. Or podcast prep if needed. Sometimes read a bit.

5:40 workout. Run or BB. (Yesterday = successful tempo run in 55F temperatures; today = plan is BB Extreme Upper Fix)

6:30 (really ideally 6:20, will aim for that today!) shower. On a good day, G sleeps until 6:45. On many days, she’s up at 6:20 or so and Josh will get her if I’m finishing a workout or in shower

6:45 breakfast w/ kids. (Nothing elaborate; cereal/fruit vs bagel/cream cheese and on rare occasions oatmeal or eggs). Make sure they get dressed/brush teeth.

7:20 out the door if I am taking the kids (usually 3/5 days; Monday I leave at 7:15 and go straight to work for resident AM report, and often Thursday Josh takes the kids). Park at playground. Walk w/ stroller while big kids scooter OR drive to drop them off. Whole thing takes ~30 min for just the big kid drop off (due to scootering OR car pool line).

7:50 drive to drop of G (on way to work)

8:10 drop off G

8:30 arrive at work

the day starts out so peacefully . . .


Hours worked: 8:40 – 7 pm. Took break for 40 minutes at lunchtime to read/eat in peace. Work meeting from 5:45 – 7 pm took up the end of this. Total hours = 9 hours 40 minutes (9.6 hours)

Calls outside of work hours: 3. One at 8:26 pm, one at 8:54 pm, one at 3:45 am (womp womp). Without going into specifics, I partially blame myself for that last one because some very strategic education could have prevented it. Next time! Sadly I could not fall back asleep after that, so today may be rough.

Grade: B+. I was really busy (accumulated 21,000 steps — yes 9,000 was my run but the rest was walking back and forth from hospital to clinic and back what seemed like 20 times). 2 new consults, 2 discharges, 2 follow ups (one very complicated), and 3 outpatients. (That doesn’t sound like that many patients to many of you, I am sure — but it is a pretty typical call day load for the size of our program).

Since I tracked time, for the record:

Hours spent w/ kids: ~2 (morning, then hanging with G and dropping her off because Josh actually took the big kid early yesterday, and a brief snippet at bedtime)

Hours spent exercising: 0.75

Hours spent “relaxing”: 1.8 (my lunch break, my morning, and briefly having dinner with Josh after kids in bed)

Hours spent asleep: 6.5. Not enough for my taste.


  • Reply CBS February 5, 2020 at 5:39 am

    Oof, that wake-up time. I’m quite tempted to start waking up a bit earlier, I stress wake at 4:15 anyways, might as well use the time for myself, but I suspect I’d be going to sleep at about 7:45. I also need to sort out my workspace as my current set-up isn’t really ready to go in the morning.

    I think the morning scoot sounds like such a good idea. I read some research recently that suggested that a walk to school can really be beneficial for children. Some combination of activity, parent time, and often physical contact (if they hold hands to cross the road, etc).

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) February 5, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I love that you’re tracking your time. I’m too scared to do so as I suspect my Instagram usage is too high – I don’t even look at my individual app usage anymore. I’m happy with using my phone 4 – 5 hours because I listen to podcasts, do photos, emails, etc. all of it but…. I suspect IG is still way too high.

  • Reply Kaye February 5, 2020 at 7:49 am

    Thanks for posting the updated morning routine! It helps to see how it all fits together sometimes and I find it fun to see how others spend those lovely a.m. hours. Seems like the key for you to getting so many different morning activities in is the quite early wake up time. I am impressed that you can go from a 6:30 shower to 6:45 breakfast and still be ready for work! That is fast! If I got in the shower at 6:30 I’d still probably be drying off and putting lotion on at 6:45 or running around in my bathrobe with wet hair trying to wrangle my children toward the breakfast table! 🙂

    • Reply Ana February 5, 2020 at 8:21 am

      I don’t wash my hair every day—that way I am done with shower/dress/make-up in less than 15 minutes most days. Otherwise there would be NO WAY!

    • Reply Rachel February 5, 2020 at 9:11 am

      I agree that 15 minutes is impressive! No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get any faster than 30 minutes, even on days I don’t wash my hair. Is there a secret I’m missing? Someone please tell me! 😂 I love seeing how it all fits together though!!

  • Reply Ana February 5, 2020 at 8:19 am

    You have inspired me to track my next call week (end of the month), to see if dialing down exactly what I’m doing can help me reframe my general hatred of those weeks. I suspect its often not as bad as I make it out to be—though there are those super tough weeks, I shouldn’t let the memory of 1-2 bad weeks a year make the other 4-5 weeks some “terrible” when they aren’t.

  • Reply Kristi February 5, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Wow, you get a lot done in the AM! My morning routine basically consists of a workout, getting ready, getting the kids ready until the nanny arrives and I leave for work. I think you mentioned at some point that you shifted your nanny’s hours- what time does she start now? That seems to be reflected here as you took the kids to school. I have a similar planning process as you, taking things from monthly and weekly lists to make my daily list. But rather than reviewing each day, I usually do that on Sunday, so the week is laid out going into it.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 5, 2020 at 10:32 am

      She works 10-730 most days now!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns February 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Oof. That early morning wake up is impressive! I used to wake up around 5-5:15 a couple of days/week to workout before having our son but now I get up a little bit before 6 and fit workouts in after work. I wish I had the energy/motivation to get up earlier! But 5:15 is probably the easiest I could get up! I am a terrible sleeper so I need to be in bed about 8.5 hours to get 7.5 hours of sleep since it takes awhile to fall asleep some nights and I wake up multiple times… Bleh.

    I’m also impressed with how quickly you get ready! I need about 30 minutes, even on days when I don’t wash my hair!

  • Reply A February 5, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Sarah, I’m loving this! Not sure if you planned to do all 7 days, but either way, as a non-doctor, it was fascinating to see what call looks like! and your life around it! Congrats on still getting some personal and workout time in!

  • Reply Elisabeth February 5, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    You’ve touched on the schedule change with the nanny (starting later), but I’m curious what tasks she completes outside of childcare vs. what you outsource separately. I’d guess this is case-specific, but I’m wondering what’s reasonable to ask a childcare provider to do around the house!

  • Reply Maggie February 5, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Remind us your bedtime again? I am definitely a morning person and as an NP in clinic and also in grad school (with a small child) should really be harnessing my early hours better. But! I find it so hard to shut it down early, disengage from my night owl husband, etc to get that done. Very impressed by your routine!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 5, 2020 at 3:16 pm


  • Reply Aly February 5, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I love this! It’s very informative to see your morning structure as I try to implement changes in my morning routine. Thank you!

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