COVID19 Goals Planners

Day 124: Daily Morning Rituals/Planning

July 17, 2020

Ideal Morning:

Up @ 5. Coffee has been set to begin brewing at 4:50 am so it’s always ready by the time I make it downstairs.

Completion of yesterday’s bullet journal/tracking. Things I enter:

✔︎ Screen Time totals on phone (I subtract time spent in EPIC, Doximity, and Webex Meet as well as Kindle App time)

✔︎ Number of steps from the prior day.

✔︎ My daily habits from the day prior – recorded as dots on my monthly habit tracker. These include: spending time outside, hitting 10,000 steps, meditation app, listening to music, reading, and completing my workout.

Planning the current day

Having completed my review of the day prior (which is quick!), I plan the current day. To start, I look at my ‘hard landscape’, both on my phone and on my current weekly planner (for now, the Live Rich Planner). Apple Calendar on my phone works best for this since it pulls in from all other sources — Outlook, Google calendar, and anything that got natively entered. I record these fixed meetings at the top of my bullet journal page.

If it’s a patient care day, I will also open up Haiku (phone version of EPIC) and see how many patients I have scheduled and whether I have any gaps. I put the patients on my planner as little boxes (one diagonal line means I have seen the patient, the other means I completed the note & closed chart).

THEN (and only then) do I decide what to put on my daily to-do list, keeping the amount of time I will have in mind. I always have to prevent myself from adding too much! As my wise podcast cohost has pointed out, having a daily list with an unrealistic number of items does more harm than good.

Finally, I add spaces to track meals, reading, the day’s steps/screen time, and podcasts/music.

sorry the lighting is terrible on this – it is storming like crazy outside and dark!

Morning Activities

I went through a phase when I read nonfiction some mornings, but that has largely fallen by the wayside. For now, after I complete my planning rituals above, I write a post (daily for now as you know!) and then immediately get my workout started. This usually happens by 6 AM or a bit before.

(Current workouts: Beachbody’s 80 Day Obsession. They are generally 40-60 minutes, with at least 3 each week that are closer to 60. I am on day #54 today and starting to wonder what I will choose next! Considering The Prep/The Work. I am actually starting to miss running somewhat, but plan to continue these primarily indoor workouts until our weather sucks less which will probably be around Oct/Nov. PS: It is thundering/lightning rather violently as I type this, so I am very glad my workout is indoors and at home!)

IF there happens to be an extra 10 minutes before the kids are up, I will try to fit in my Headspace meditation, but that’s pretty rare.

Okay that was fun! Feel free to share your AM rituals in the comments (why are AM rituals so fascinating?!)

book stack (heavy on antiracism picks because I put in a bookstore order for several titles at once and they all just came in!)


  • Reply Chelsea July 17, 2020 at 7:08 am

    I don’t have a very involved morning ritual. I’ve found that I like to take a few minutes to plan the next day after dinner with a little bowl of dark chocolate chips :). I wake up about 30-45 minutes before I plan to run (on the short side if I’m running from home, on the long side if I’m driving to our group meeting place), take meds, drink coffee and water, read a bit of internet while my brain wakes up, dress/grab anything I need and go. I’ve actually been running a lot these days, so by the time I get back and shower, it’s time to take a quick look at the calendar to refresh my memory of what’s going on and start the day!

    I’m really enjoying Gretchen Rubin’s recommendations by Black authors. I just got Broken Places and Outer Spaces by Nnedi Okorafor and am waiting for Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.

    • Reply CNM July 17, 2020 at 10:53 am

      I just finished Broken Places and Outer Spaces too, and started Akata Witch!

  • Reply Ana July 17, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I am feeling inspired to try to wake up a bit earlier. I don’t know about 5 AM, but maybe 5:30 (instead of 5:45-6:00), so I can do more planning than just a quick glance at my calendar as I get ready. I am also very much wanting to try 80 DO but my husband has been doing the 21 day fix workouts with me and he is NOT on board for waking up earlier & doing longer workouts…and I really do like working out together…so I may table that for a bit.
    And of course, the day they don’t have to go anywhere, my kids that usually sleep until 9 AM are up at 7.

  • Reply Omdg July 17, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Was thinking about doing 21 day fix, but we will have to set up the tv to do that.

    I’m about 20% into Big Summer, which is decent. I tend to like her books.

  • Reply Justine July 17, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for this- love reading your planning posts. I’d also love to hear how you do “inbox 0” for work and personal life (unless this is part of your upcoming podcast?) I am a NP and will be taking on some admin leadership role time soon (like 0.7 clinical, 0.3 admin). If I’m not careful I can get obsessed with email checking. Just wondering how you organize things for waiting on people to respond, do you separate boxes for any people that report to you directly, etc?

  • Reply Sam @ Eye to Wonder July 17, 2020 at 8:58 am

    My morning routine at the moment is: shower, meditate for five minutes, write one page in a journal, and write down the three most important tasks of the day in my planner.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns July 17, 2020 at 9:16 am

    I have such a limited morning ritual right now… but even before we had our son, I did not have much of a morning ritual because were out of the house at 6:50 since we both need to be at work by 7:30. So mornings were a rush pre-kids and now they are even more of a rush! Not having to get ready for work helps. I don’t shower/get ready in the mornings anymore, although that might need to change as my company is pushing us to use videos more on calls… I won’t wear make-up but I will need to shower every morning which won’t add too much time. yes, I am super lazy these days, but I’m also pregnant and extra tired so I am giving myself a break! I don’t think I will ever be a person who works out in the morning because of the early start to my day, which is too bad as that is the ideal time to workout. But so it goes! I was just getting to the point where I could workout while our son played in the basement with toys but now that cycle is going to restart when the baby is born in December… But I keep telling myself this is a season of life and eventually, he will be able to play with his brother in the basement while I do a quick 30 minute workout and then hopefully I can do stroller runs on the weekend – but only with one kid. No way I can push a double stroller while running. I know some people do, but they are goddesses in my view!

  • Reply Marina July 17, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Well I have two small children who are up between 5:30-6am, so my mornings are mostly limited to getting all of us ready! The one great thing about the Covid WFH situation is that my commute is gone which means: 1. less time needed to get myself ready in the morning; 2. can start work earlier after daycare drop off and 3. I do my workouts over lunch now. I’ve started strength training per your podcast recommendation and we also have a treadmill so that’s one way to still keep running without having to go outdoors!

  • Reply Young July 17, 2020 at 9:50 am

    I bought the Ta-Nehisi Coates book, too! Bought through Amazon because I was given a significant credit for the Kindle version. White Fragility is on my reading list, too (not white, but I’m interested in this writer’s persective after listening to an interview with her). My morning routine is stretch, sometimes a longish walk since it’s pretty empty outside in the mornings, blog reads, and coffee. This is all before kid care.

  • Reply Jenn July 17, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Pre-baby I had a very committed morning routine that involved getting up at 6:30am, journaling, Bible reading, and prayer. Now that I’m on mat leave I get up later – whenever he wakes up, which is usually around 9am for now (enjoying it while it lasts!). I feed him, pump, then do a much quicker journal/Bible/prayer session usually with him on my lap and coffee in hand (I never used to drink coffee lol), exercise (I’m on Day 14 of 21DF today! Slowly but surely getting through and feeling stronger all the time!), then stick him in the bouncer while I shower!

  • Reply RKK July 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I ADORED The Prep (too scared to start The Work yet – gulp.) I only didi Autumn workouts before this, and was afraid that the new trainer would be too hardcore and yell-y for my precious 5 am mental state, but he’s a lot of fun and keeps it lighthearted.

    I am thinking of doing LIIFT4 next. the perk of this one is that it does both weight training and HIIT, but is 4 days on, 3 days off, so you could fit in your running on the other days if you wanted to!

    Great tip on fitting in your To Do list AFTER your commitments. i have to get better at this!

  • Reply Holly July 17, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    I seem to be the rare morning runner that gets up and is out the door within 10-15 min (not a coffee drinker!). Pre-covid, I was out running a little before 5, shower, get kid to school then at work 7-730am. Now, with wfh, I’m getting up at 6ish and running before work. Running is my mediation/planning time 🙂

    • Reply KGC July 17, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      Same! I’m about 20 minutes from up to out the door – I need to eat something before I run (usually dates or a banana + peanut butter) but no coffee or any other elaborate prep. I don’t do anything else other than get up and ready to go run. Pre-COVID, I was up at 4:30, out the door at 4:45, and starting with my group at 5. Now I’m running solo more often than not and enjoying about an hour more of sleep! I’m finding that my morning running is the one time that I have for podcasts now that I’m not commuting (perhaps the ONE downside to losing the commute was losing podcast time…). It is nice to have that alone time before everyone else gets up to think and enjoy what I’m listening to without feeling rushed. That’s my morning ‘meditation’ too!

      • Reply Chelsea July 17, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        I wish I didn’t take so much time to wake up! We meet to run at 4:30 (meaning I need to leave at 4:15ish) and I set my (vibrating) alarm to go off at 3:30 and 3:45. I’m honestly a little scared to drive if I haven’t had at least 10 minutes worth of caffeine in my system!

  • Reply Kip July 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Current Covid Morning Routine – wake up (6-7am) make coffee (i’d automate but i use this time to empty dishwasher/put away dishes), ~10min meditation (Calm app), read your blog, skim work emails, start work – try to get key work items done before kids(7 & 9) wake up 8-9am!

  • Reply Meghan July 17, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    I’m doing The Prep now! I really like it. This guy is a no joke trainer but still manages to makes me smile. Did you see the new programs Beachbody announced this week? They won’t be on the BOD platform for awhile, but they looked interesting. There is a new Autumn one called 9 Week Control Freak and another one called 30 Day Breakaway that combines running and resistance training.

  • Reply Amy July 17, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I feel like a morning slacker! I wake up at 7am to shower and then eat breakfast while playing Animal Crossing. ha! My lunch is packed up the night before and my clothes are set out for the week on Sundays, so it’s a pretty chill morning at my house. I am considering a 6am wake up to start exercising more days during the week. I like doing Jillian Michaels workouts at home.

  • Reply Amanda July 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I love this topic! You have really inspired my a.m. routine, even though it looks different. I get up at 5 or 5:30 depending when I need to start work and also have my coffee ready! I write in a gratitude journal, meditate and then workout (30 mins), walk outside and/or read before my kids are up (unpredictable between 6:15-7:30). It is harder to have a bad day when the morning starts like this.

  • Reply Maria July 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! Love the details.

    I would be grateful if you devoted a coming post to the HOW of your workouts. Where in the house do you do them? What is your setup? How do you not wake the kids/Josh? I so appreciate the details of others’ workout routines as I try (and admittedly, fail) to figure this out with a two-year-old and 8-month-old! Thanks, Sarah.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      can definitely do that!

      • Reply Irene July 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm

        Oh good! The logistics are interesting to me too. My super light sleepers are one reason I never try for an AM workout

        • Reply Amanda July 17, 2020 at 9:00 pm

          Irene – We live in a condo & use a white noise sound machine in the kids’ shared room. When they were your kids’ ages (mine are now 2&5), I admittedly had more of an approach of trying most days, knowing it would work half of the time.

  • Reply Alyce July 17, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    My morning ritual involves pretending to be asleep so that my husband gets up first and starts taking care of our 16-month old – medicine, diaper, day clothes, breakfast. I try to stay down until she’s started breakfast, because then he’s really in it and will see it through. Then I saunter into the kitchen and kiss everyone on the cheek and drink the tea he’s prepared for me. I hang out with them while he’s feeding her. After she’s done, we’ll play around together for 30-60 minutes or so. Then they’ll get suited up for their morning bike ride, and I’ll go on a walk of 30-60 minutes. If I take a short walk, I may also do 30 minutes of yoga before starting my morning. Shower, breakfast, a couple of small chores. And then 3 hours after waking up, I will start working. In an ideal world, I would wake up at 6am, exercise before they’re up, then start working as soon as they head out on their bike ride. But I just can’t motivate myself to set an alarm (or go to bed early enough for it) and shifting my working hours to later in the day, and working more after our daughter has gone to bed has been working well enough.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      I love this routine 🙂

  • Reply Coco July 17, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    i wrote about my morning routine a while ago. here’s the post
    a very long routine 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      ooh just read it! Love it.

  • Reply Meghan July 17, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I didn’t think I had much of a morning ritual, but I guess it would be 5:30 up (check insta…), drink coffee and read, go for a run most mornings by 7. Kids get up sometime between 5:30 & 6:45 which ends reading time and typically keeps me from going for my run right away. I *wish* I could incorporate more of a morning ritual for work but my husband and my schedules are so unpredictable so I just have to focus/plan when I can. Checking my work calendar Friday afternoon and transferring the next week’s meetings and big to-dos to my planner helps.

    Thanks for posting your books. Big Summer and Beach Read are both on my Libby queue and should be in by December, ha! I will either purchase them by then or postpone them to Summer ’21. I laughed at “How to Stop Losing Your $hit at Your Kids.” I may need that.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Just finished Beach Read and I wasn’t hugely in love with it but did enjoy it. About to crack into Big Summer tonight! Seems appropriate.

  • Reply Meg July 17, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Oh – I’ve been thinking about something that might be a good question for BoBW. We’ve previously relied on daycare and before/after care rather than a nanny, but it’s looking like we might not have in-person school. We live in a college town and we are considering hiring a babysitter to help us get some work done this fall. I know that we will have to have a conversation about expectations for how the sitter spends their time, e.g., Are you sitting for other families? How do you socialize? Who do you live with / where do they spend their time? They should also feel comfortable asking us questions to make sure they align with their risk level. I anticipate this as an interview conversation but also an ongoing conversation once hired; both parties should be comfortable admitting when we might need to quarantine.

    In normal times these questions would feel like a violation of privacy/boundaries. Any recommendations on how to approach these conversations now?

    I’ve you’ve already discussed this on BoBW or in comments, let me know – I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Reply Meg July 17, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      I posted another comment but it looks like it might not have gone through. Hence the “Oh,” as in “I forgot about this but should mention.” 🙂

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:38 pm

        sometimes the spam filter randomly fires and I have to “approve” comments! I can never figure out why it flags certain ones!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 17, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      I absolutely think you can ask those things! I would. I would think that if you are paying well and basically make it clear in your job requirements, you will be able to find someone who is willing to socially distance (they may choose to socialize but should be outside, with masks, etc). It’s absolutely a different scenario than it was before.

      • Reply Meg July 18, 2020 at 7:05 am

        Thank you!

    • Reply Hannah N. July 20, 2020 at 10:43 am

      We are in the same boat as well! My son will be starting kindergarten in the fall and our county (in MD) has just announced school will be 100% virtual for the first two quarters of the year. We are trying to explore what options might be available to us (money/cost, logistics, etc.) as well as what we would feel comfortable doing. I am generally a very direct person so am definitely on the side of being up front and asking those questions. I am curious to hear what other working parents are thinking about, especially as many people are being asked to return to work in-person. Good luck to you as you navigate this for your family!

  • Reply Irene July 17, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    My husband and I take turns getting up with our two year who lately has been getting up for the day as early as 4:15. If it’s that early I try for an hour to get him back to sleep but it almost always fails. Then coffee and a stroller walk to prevent him from waking up the rest of the house. The days he sleeps past 5:30 this is actually very nice. Come back and make sure older child is up by 7 or she goes to bed crazy late. Then feeding children and myself, sometimes with husband depending on how we fit showers in. Generally I have worked myself up reading the news at some point during this time. Soon after this I have a second cup of coffee and try to face the day.

    The morning my husband gets up with the 2 year old start at 7 and are much better. I will be a better person when he finally starts regularly sleeping past 6 AM. My older one was also a crap sleeper for YEARS but now is a total rockstar sleeping at least 20 hours every night so I keep telling myself we will get there eventually.

  • Reply Irene July 17, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Oh gosh – sleeping at least 10 hours a night! 20 would be a little disturbing!

  • Reply RKK July 17, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Coming back to say that How to Stop losing your Sh*t with your kids sounds gimmicky, but it is honestly the best book I have read all year and Has changed my life – not just with my kids but with others in my life. It’s a book I come back to weekly and I wish I could download it in into my brain! So helpful. The author would be a great guest on your blog, taking About how her method apply during the pandemic.

  • Reply Joy July 18, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    My current morning routine is getting up at 5:00 or 5:30, depending on whether or not I have to be at work by 8:00. I get a first cup of coffee and feed the cat. Then morning devotion/journaling/prayer time followed by reading nonfiction every day. Then shower/dress and leave for work or transition to working from home. I listen to a sermon on the way to work if I didn’t fit it in during my devotional time.

    Since I’ve been working at home, I’ve been trying to fit in a walk before starting work. I’d love for that to be my ritual to switch into work mode but I’m not consistent enough yet. Working on it.

    Weekends is similar routine, but followed by errands, farmers market, gardening, or housework.

    I love reading about morning routines!

  • Reply Lori C July 18, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    Ugggg my morning routine has been non-existent since March 13 when my kids school (Montessori… so daycare/preschool whatever you want to call it) closed. Their school reopened 2 weeks ago (with a bunch of guidelines) and I am feeling normal again and getting back into the swing of a morning routine.

    Typical routine since March:
    Sleep til 7, up when kids wake me
    Run out and grab an iced coffee through the drive thru, unless my hubby was up before me and got one
    Put kids in front of TV and allow them to eat something, usually unhealthy
    As of 2 weeks ago- Pack their mostly nutritious snacks and lunches for school
    Throw on something acceptable to wear and drop them off at 8:30
    Come home & log in and begin work

    PRECOVID/Goal Routine
    Up at 5:30, drink iced coffee I had cold brewed day before
    Spend time planning/scheduling day
    Do daily reading
    Pack lunches, eat breakfast
    Wake dress kids etc at 7:30
    Feed kids breakfast
    Drop them off at 8:30, home to log in

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) July 20, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I’m definitely the slacker among all the commenters. Here’s my morning routine:

    Now it’s even later because I read at night later…

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