COVID19 Goals

Day 32: CV19 Goals

April 16, 2020

My “20 for 20” list looks . . . unlikely at this point. Particularly the travel. However, goals in general are not a lost cause, even now. On yesterday’s Happier podcast (they are finally caught up to current times!), Gretchen Rubin mentioned creating an alternative list: 19 for COVID19. That sounds like a lot of goals (particularly for parents without any childcare). BUT, it still got me thinking.

On one hand, it feels kind of selfish to be thinking about little personal achievements — some of them superficial — when many are in crisis. On the other, having goals (which can be a productive coping mechanism) doesn’t necessarily add to the pain of others who are suffering.

SO. What would I like to do, particularly if the rest of 2020 is basically a wash when it comes to travel and other activities?


Read a bunch of books. I indulged and bought several physical books online (I miss the library!), figuring I can always give them away when this is all over. I”d love to get through this whole stack before officially kicking off “summer reading” in June.

mix of things on my Q2 list and some that have been hanging there for a while!

Paint (and perform amateur-mani/pedi on) my nails. SO BASIC, but I want/need to.

Cut C’s hair. Or at least trim it. His longer hair is cute but the sideburns are starting to look comical.

Complete 80 Day Obsession (because if not now, when?)

Start working on wardrobe overhaul (through online ordering and maybe even an online stylist consult). I am saving my allowance (or trying to), hoping to do a significant upgrade perhaps at end of summer.

Do a podcast experiment. I kind of want to start a planning/planner-focused podcast (I KNOW) . . . And since I am technically being forced to take a day off weekly (kind of a mini-furlough of sorts) I SHOULD have time to do this. Theoretically. (This would in no way replace BOBW – just be a little adjunct experiment!)

Clean up our investment portfolio including finishing up estate planning we started like . . . 2 years ago. Oops! (IF NOT NOW . . . WHEN!?). We have funds earmarked for 529s, backdoor Roth, etc, but have not moved it yet. (Turns out that may have been a good thing given the last couple of months, but it’s probably time to just bite the bullet & do it.)

Organize/declutter our home! Totally ready to do this. More on this in a future post!


  • Save at least 20% gross income
  • Host a BOBW meetup (um . . . maybe on Zoom or Instagram live?)
  • Cook Sunday Dinner at least 12 Sundays (I’ve done at least 4 that I tracked already, so that’s only 8 left!)
  • One Mommy day each with A&C — no reason I can’t still do this in some form, just with at-home activities, a walk together, etc
  • Get a perfect pair of new jeans — sales are good right now, too so might be a good time to order a few to try (you guys had some good suggestions!)
  • Spend 48 hours screen free — I COULD STILL DO THIS (though I am quite attached to this little blogging streak)
  • Develop meditation habit – working on it anyway!
  • Get work bag that zips and fits laptop – still doable, though I have not had much reason to bring my laptop to work these days, so probably will table for now
  • Read 40 books – YES I still want to meet this goal!
  • Try Orange Theory can be converted to 80 Day Obsession (or an online home version of OT if they come out with one)

Anyone else working on a CV19-goals list? I don’t think I have 19 but . . . the above looks like more than enough. I should probably come up with some work goals too but the day to day work (patient care, keeping our program running, answering faculty/resident questions, keeping everyone informed) honestly feels like enough right now.

PSA: Antibody testing is all the rage right now, but I can’t help but think of Theranos. From what I have read, many of the tests are not well-regulated and may not be specific. Laboratory testing that is inaccurate or misleading is truly dangerous. Furthermore, even if tests were reliable and specific (doubtful), we don’t have a clear understanding of what a positive immunity test even means. Is it a GUARANTEE that one cannot become ill (or pass on the disease) again? No one knows (the was corroborated by one of our allergy/immunology attendings and my friend’s husband who is an infectious disease doctor). I had one of my patients email me a local commercial testing site and my UH OH meter went off.


  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) April 16, 2020 at 7:16 am

    Thank you for your lovely post! I am SO behind on anything from my normal life – audio books, podcasts (I think I have 5 BOBW episodes and 2 Happier with GR ones waiting). Thank you – I will listen to GR today because I got a bit depressed looking at all my 20 in 2020 goals just staring back at me. So many involve other people (running workshops, travel (alone, with friends, with husband, with family), and contractors coming to the house. I am definitely making a new list and watch me move through this house 🙂

    For noting, in South Africa, we can’t order anything online that is not food or meds (I have books on a back order and two lovely leather pouches which will only be delivered once lockdown is over). I’ve been reading books from my shelves (physical and Kindle) and making a long list of things to buy when lockdown is over (now scheduled for 1 May but I know it can be extended). Things like a kettle (of course mine went kaput a week ago – fortunately for my workshops, I have two so 10 people can have tea all at the same time), new pillows, hair clippers, etc.

  • Reply Gillian April 16, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I think antibody testing is interesting from a public health perspective (as opposed to a personal perspective). Given the lack of viral PCR testing (in NY we are still largely only testing people in need of hospitalization) we have no idea how many people have actually had CV or what the case fatality rate really is. Widespread antibody testing could help us figure all that out. That said, yes, the testing needs to be reliable.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 16, 2020 at 7:34 am

      YES! But only as good as the test results actually MEAN something . . .

  • Reply Allison April 16, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Sarah – I’m a lawyer by training so I’ll leave the medicine to the experts… but The Flatshare is such a great book! I really enjoyed it. Also, I am really enjoying your blog (and BoBW) during this time. I can’t stomach the news and can’t really understand any of the data in a meaningful way so I find myself looking for “normalcy” in my media consumption. Thanks so much for keeping up with things. P.S. I have a 2-year old Sarah born just two months after G!

  • Reply Amanda April 16, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Reading and Beachbody are the only things I’m keeping up with right now (well, in addition to working full time and caring for/”homeschooling”) a four and seven year old!). Thanks for keeping up the blog. It’s a little treat for me every morning!

  • Reply Lori C April 16, 2020 at 9:17 am

    I listened to one of the special COVID 19 episodes Happier did, and loved the 19 for COVID 19 list. I came up with one and have made some good progress. Here is mine!
    1. Hang towel rack in bathrooms – they have been sitting on the floor in each of our 2 bathrooms since we moved in almost 2 years ago… DONE!
    2. Finish and order 2019 photobook- almost done, need to review it on my laptop and add captions, then order.
    3. Hang white lights over our back patio – yes, I am hopping on this bandwagon because I love the cozy feel it gives restaurants, bars, etc. and I want our guests to have that feeling when they come over (or if hubby and I just want to sit on the patio at night!)
    4. Clear out yard brush – our house was vacant for SEVEN YEARS before we moved in, and the yard reflected that. We’ve gradually been clearing it out. Good progress made here, but not done yet.
    5. Book fall trip – we were thinking Disney, now leaning towards the Smokies. Not booked yet, still debating if we go September (hot) or October (big one will miss school)
    6. Book 2021 Disney trip – can’t do until June
    7. Bike the Cape Cod Canal – waiting for weather to improve a bit!
    8. Walk the dyke – this is a nice scenic walk in town, haven’t done it yet, may earmark it for this weekend
    9. Visit the quarries – similar to #8, prefer nice weather to do this. They turned an old quarry into a park and there is some beautiful graffiti/art all over the stone to check out.
    10. Get outside every day- in progress!
    11. Work out every day – in progress!
    12. Daily reading- in progress, just finished Celine, which I loved, and reading Your Money or Your Life and All the Things I never Told you right now.
    13 – 15 are local spots I wanted to visit and hike, all done!
    16. Outdoor “spring scavenger hunt” – DONE. Kids loved this, plan to do it again. I just googled “spring scavenger hunt” and found cute ones that included things like buds on a tree, a worm, a bird, etc.
    17. Salt/paint craft – done! This was from one of the craft books I have. You squirt glue all over a piece of cardboard, then sprinkle salt all over it. Then the kids use eye droppers (or a brush) to drip food coloring or water colors on the glue. It spreads out beautifully like spider webs. Big hit.
    18. Toy / Car wash – done
    19. Take a course at Treehouse or TGC – started a course on treehouse, wasn’t for me. But I did register for Coursera and there a couple classes there that look interesting.

    Curious to hear about other people’s lists!

  • Reply gwinne April 16, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I hear you. I did Tiny Boy’s sideburns 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 16, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Our son’s hair is getting unruly but we tried to cut it last summer and it was a disaster! Ha! So I might hold off. But he’s 2 so it’s not like you can easily get him to sit still. Different story with C! I’m sure you won’t mess it up!

    I’ve been thinking about Theranos, too, when I hear about things being rushed to market. Man Theranos was such a disaster and should have been a big lesson for the medical device/lab world that it pays to take your time and ensure accuracy. But the antibody testing would be interesting if they can get reliable results, especially since testing is so very limited so no one really knows if they had it or not unless they work in healthcare, need hospitalization or live in community living. So frustrating! I just don’t know how we are ever going to get back to normal honestly. I try not to think about it too much because it depresses me too much!

    As far as the books you have picked out, The Flatshare is really cute – perfect distracting read for these times. I’d Rather Be Reading is also delightful. I miss the library so much as I typically rely 100% on the library for books. There are such long waits for ebooks so it’s hard to get ahold of things! Our library system started to offer curbside pickup, though. It’s only at select locations but luckily our library is one of the locations. You have to call ahead and then they put the book in a bag and leave it for you outside of the library. “Such a Fun Age” just became available for me so I am super excited about that!

    I love the idea of a Covid 19 list but can’t bring myself to actually list out 19 things right now… I’m just so worn down between working and caring for our 2yo (we don’t have childcare right now)!!

    • Reply CBS April 16, 2020 at 10:12 am

      I really loved The Flatshare, exactly what I needed. And Such a Fun Age is wonderful.

  • Reply CBS April 16, 2020 at 10:11 am

    You prompted me to get out my neglected planner and look at my 20 for 2020 lists. Pleased to see that some things are still doable – I’ve finally got a good yoga home practice, can make some new recipes, potty train my toddler, teach him his letters and numbers, and get my garden in order, as well as accomplish some big work goals. Reading is going well – I’ve set a goal to read 20 books from non-US/UK authors and am currently reading 17 of 20. Others are out – I don’t know if we’ll squeeze in 10 dates, a couples weekend, and 10 hikes before the end of the year – I guess if some social distancing measures are lifted to enable more outdoor activities, it’s a possibility. I also fully intended to get my driver’s license this year but need lessons (I have a US license but it isn’t valid in the UK and I’ve never learned to drive a manual) but am now regretting putting it off so long as I don’t know how long it’ll be before I can sign up for lessons again. And I had two theatre productions booked and both have been cancelled.

    I had also intended to fully curb my Amazon habit but closed stores meant I had to break down and order a few things. I haven’t been in a chain supermarket in 4 weeks though, just little independent shops, so I guess it’s a worthy tradeoff.

    • Reply Tyra April 21, 2020 at 6:58 am

      I like your book goal! I recently did a shout out amongst my friends for new books to read (I’m Australian), and one that was suggested a lot was The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart. I know a few people who loved it. I could probably suggest a few more Australian books if you’re looking for some titles to complete your list?

  • Reply Marie April 16, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Love this — thanks Sarah! I think it’s okay to think about how to make this a meaningful/manageable time, while acknowledging that we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to do so. I’m personally doing a lot of reading (anything Rosemunde Pilcher for relaxing British scenery and small towns), yard work and gardening, and cooking. My husband and I are also taking advantage of all the walks we’re going on to focus on training our new-ish to us dog to walk well on a leash.

    I can give a work bag recommendation — the Lo & Sons T.T. bag. Fits a 13″ laptop, is a wipeable nylon (in fact, just bought one for my SIL who graduates med school in a few weeks), and easily slips over a suitcase. I’ve been using one as my work bag for the past 2-3 years, and it still looks brand new. Super lightweight as well. With the current sales, they’re ~$125 – 150.

  • Reply Katy Rotman (@katy246) April 16, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Flatshare was such a fun book! I really liked it

  • Reply Ann April 16, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Check out MZ Wallace for work bags – I got a small Belle last summer and it fits my 13 inch MacBook Pro perfectly without being too bulky. Looks like they only have the regular Belle available now – which may be better in terms of not needing to be as disciplined about not adding other things.

  • Reply sreedevi mydam April 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    avid fan here .
    enjoyed your post .. intially i was uncertain of feeling whats going on vs gp ahead with productivity as if i dont care COVID … went through stages of i want to get covid my self to , its probably not that bad , what do we need to focus to being intentional with my time and goals , sop far reading on high list .. has been doing reading , watching all marvel series with kids ( i got hooked ), spending time with kids 10 and 5 and coach them to be self directed in homework situation , while working tele out patient .. i also have been forced to take off all my PTO , its does not feel that bad ..

    thanks for goals . i have a kind of goal to start journal every day … i am planning to .. hope i can do blog like you one day

  • Reply L April 16, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Oh my yes! I really need to get some goals going. As a clinic nurse I’m still going into work full time, now 5 days a week instead of 4. (I lost my day off because due to layoffs and furloughs I have to work more to help cover 😩). When I’m not at work I’m so distracted and tired. I’m not reading or exercising. I’m drinking wine on week nights instead of just weekends. I need to get some focus. (At least I don’t have to home school on top of that. Kids are grown. ) Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Anne April 16, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Check out the work totes from Dagne Dover. They are very sturdy, well organized yet still stylish.

  • Reply Nataliya April 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Orange Theory is posting daily workouts on their app. Can also be found here:

  • Reply Anna Marks April 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    really enjoy your daily blogging so please don’t give it up!! Yes to additional podcast! I love thinking about goals, but honestly feel bad that I have accomplished nothing (besides work and cleaning and cooking) since all this started!

  • Reply Catherine April 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    For work totes, look at the Kate Spade molly large work tote. It has a pocket for your laptop. A coworker has this one and it’s gorgeous. I have a Michael Kors tech tote I got at the outlet a couple years ago and it zips closed and has a padded slot for my laptop. I’ve never found it on their webpage. I also like Dagne Dover bags.

    I think you’ve said you liked Sunday Riley skin care products. Flash sale ending today -

  • Reply Liz B. April 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    GAHHHHH!!!! So excited about the planner podcast experiment!!!! I’ve imagined listening to your planner tip a day (or week) podcast, similar to LV’s “Before Breakfast” and “The New Corner Office.” DO IT!!!

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly April 16, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    You totally need to do a planning podcast!! I would listen for sure. I just went through my yearly goals (fortunately not 20 for 20!) and rethought some of them. I removed a few, reframed a few and shifted some to later in the year (hopefully). It was actually nice because it helped me see a silver lining in all this!

  • Reply Chantal April 17, 2020 at 6:06 am

    Hi Sarah, love your posts and goals list 😍 to Alison Lumbatis from Get Your Pretty On helps ladies with fashion! She shows you how to do a capsule wardrobe and shows how to wear each item over a time frame eg 30 days. You should google her 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 17, 2020 at 6:10 am

      ooh! will look back at her. I know someone had previously suggested her for a podcast guest 🙂

  • Reply Natalie April 17, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I’d love to hear how you’re finding your change to the Full Focus planner (or if you went back to your Hobonochi). I’m always up for more planner content!

  • Reply Louisa April 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you so much for these daily COVID posts! They have been a bright-spot in my new COVID-19 morning routine. 🙂

    My 20 for 20 is looking more and more ridiculous, so I also came up with a COVID-19 list. I incorporated some of my 2020 list that will still be possible.
    1. Get outside daily- in progress!
    2. Meditate daily. I have really struggled with maintaining a meditation habit. I’m a busy-body and it is hard for me to sit still. I have had much better success with doing walking meditations. Spending the last 10 minutes of my daily walk around the neighborhood doing a guided walking meditation off youtube.
    3. Write reviews for my favorite podcasts (BOBW will be included, of course!)
    4. 1,000 piece puzzle-in progress!
    5. Still hoping to reach my 20 for 20 goal of reading 60 books. Using this time to get through 2 of my “bigger” books that, I have been wanting to read, but are not commuter friendly. As I normally do the bulk of my reading on my hour-long train commute into DC. One down, one 995 page book to go!
    6. Do at home dry cleaning (Dryell) on all my work jackets- done!
    7. Download pictures off my phone to external hard-drive
    8. Organize the garage
    9. Clean all the closets in the house- in progress!
    10. Foot peel mask- done!
    11. Order a clothes steamer
    12. Order Adirondack chairs for the porch- done and loving them!
    13. Go through my wedding cards that are still in the card box from three years ago. Pare them down to the most special.
    14. Ride my lovely bike that hasn’t left the wall of my garage in three years!
    15. Email or send letter to my 94-year old Granny at least once a week- in progress!
    16. Write quick breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack idea lists so I have ideas when life gets back to “normal”.
    17. Try 2 new recipes each week, and learn ways to utilize my instant pot more- in progress!
    18. Hang art that is currently leaning against the wall.
    19. Have 2 phone dates or video calls a week. This seems ridiculous now-I feel like I’m playing video-call tetras!

    Please do start a planner podcast!! I had been considering trying the Full Focus planner for awhile, and inspired by you, I finally ordered one! I’m on my second week and LOVING it. It provides great structure to my days, especially during these strange times.

  • Reply Abigail McMillan April 18, 2020 at 7:01 am

    A BOBW meet up via Zoom? YES PLEASE. I live in UK, so am never going to make a physical meet-up. But a Zoom one? Count me in.

  • Reply Karin April 18, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I would listen to your planner podcast!!!! #teamplannerlove

  • Reply Monica Saksena Joye April 18, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    I would love to hear a planner podcast from you please! Your blog posts and BOBW podcast are helping with feeling some sort of normal.
    Keep going! Avid fan from the UK – NHS GP and mum of 3 👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻Monica x

  • Reply Nancy Leger April 19, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Loved loved LOVED The Flatshare! Also have been trying to implement GTD for a while; recently purchased the book and am wondering your thoughts on the workbook. Any value in purchasing that as well? I always look forward to reading your blog – keep up the great job!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 19, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      I haven’t even cracked it yet but I’ll let you know 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.