Best Laid Plans

BLP Ep #28: Daily Planning, Routines, and Crowding Out Bad Habits

February 1, 2021

Daily Planning

Here are two examples of how I am using my daily planning pages these days. You can see a timeline along the left (the colors are rather arbitrary, but maybe over time I’ll develop a code of sorts!). The center column contains to do items, meals, media (podcasts listened to / books read / music / etc), and then gratitude (3 items). Along the upper right, I have my little habit tracking area made up of color coded boxes.

The habits I track in these boxes are: Meditation, Outside (spend some time outside), Reading (any book!), Music (listen to anything purposefully), Duolingo (Spanish!), and 100 minutes or less on my phone. Spoiler alert: I didn’t do so well with that last one in January!

A weekend day in Quarantine!
Monday GME catchup day. Sometimes I will do more time blocking with the blank swathes of time (ie mid-morning on this day) but other times I just know it’s the time to get my to do items done.


5:00 up / coffee

5:05 – 5:30 read nonfiction

5:30 – 5:40 meditation

5:40 – 6:10 write blog post

6:10 – 6:50 workout

6:50 – 7:30 help kids get ready

7:30 – 7:50 shower / get ready

7:50 leave for work

(There are many variations – sometimes I have a 7:30 meeting, sometimes I take the kids to school, etc. But this is the basic framework!)

Crowding Out Bad Habits

See this post for musings on this topic!

Newsletter subscribers: I am delaying the Feb edition until my 2021 book list is ready! Hopefully sometime this week!!


  • Reply Charlotte February 1, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Great podcast again! I’m curious when you eat breakfast in this morning routine?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 1, 2021 at 12:16 pm

      Usually very very quickly when I’m helping the kids get ready. I’m a very fast eater which is probably not a good thing health wise but … efficient 🙂

  • Reply Milly February 1, 2021 at 7:42 am

    How do you get ready so fast after working out? This is always a fascination of mine when reading about fellow morning workouters! I have to shower and blow dry my hair after working out and the best I can get it down to is 30 minutes…..I’ve tried all the tricks. Dry shampoo does not work for me and yes, I’ve given it time to “get used to it”. Could I not blow dry my hair? Yes and I rarely do over the weekends. I like my hair style and it looks best with a blow dry and round brush. 😇 I fear I just need to suck it up?

    • Reply KGC February 1, 2021 at 10:24 am

      Same question!!! I’m pretty efficient but also need to blow dry (same as Milly – have tried all the other things and I’m happiest when showered and blow-dried) and so can’t get it down much below 30 mins. Any tips?!? I’m fascinated by others’ morning routines – can I put in a request for a “superficial” (I say that because I think SHU and Laura used the term in the past) BOBW episodes where we get details about the getting ready routine? What about makeup? What about packing lunch (night before?)? Are bags ready to grab and go? Does picking out clothes happen the night before? Part of me feels like this has been answered along the way so maybe I just need to search back episodes but would love a new one to hear it again anyway!

      • Reply Grateful Kae February 1, 2021 at 11:12 am

        I triple that question. NO WAY could I be showered and ready in 20 minutes. I could MAYBE be showered, dried off and partially dressed in 20 minutes. With dripping wet hair, no socks or shoes on, no makeup on, no bags or keys in hand- definitely not ready to leave the house with children in tow. LOL!!

    • Reply The Evely Pack February 1, 2021 at 11:16 am

      I’ve so been in the same boat! I know you ladies said you tried all the tricks, but I can’t help it – ignore and forgive me if these are just more of the same! I have to ask if you have a microfiber drying towel?? it cut my blow-dry time SIGNIFICANTLY. Also, rough-drying, ceramic-vented brush (make sure nozzle is always pointed down), and blow-dry accelerant hair product… a couple good ones:

      again, forgive me if it’s stuff you already do! but it really helped out my drying time!

      • Reply KGC February 1, 2021 at 1:00 pm

        @ The Evely Pack: Yup, have used the Aquis towel for years. Blow drying doesn’t actually take me that long (maybe 5-7 minutes? I have pretty fine hair that isn’t too long) but that’s probably the difference between me getting out of the house in 30 minutes vs. SHU’s 20 =) I also use a curling iron nearly every day (3-5 mins) and have since 7th grade! Personally, I feel best when I do this to my hair (it goes a long way with my confidence and how I carry myself, I guess?) and so I’m willing to sacrifice the extra minutes. I just wondered how SHU did it since she has long hair but we now know the answer – she doesn’t blow dry! Mystery solved!

        • Reply Grateful Kae February 1, 2021 at 2:50 pm

          I was also thinking that it may have to do with fine vs thick hair. My hair is quite fine also (shoulder length) and air drying does NOT work…. even with product it looks flat and limp and just…no. haha. Makes a world of difference to blow dry + either scrunch product to make it wavy or use a curling iron. And I agree- makes me feel soooo much better this way. I WISH though that I had naturally beautiful hair that could air dry and look great!! No dice here though. This conversation inspired me to time myself at each step after my post-workout shower though a little while ago!! lol!! Maybe I can find some areas to shave a little time off. 😉 (fyi: the blow drying part took me about 4:50 total. Though at least 30 seconds of that was spent trying to find the right place for my side part. haha.)

      • Reply Aly February 2, 2021 at 10:19 am

        Thank you! Love these suggestions. (I need them!)

      • Reply Milly February 2, 2021 at 10:59 am

        I might give that blow dry mist a try! Thank you for sharing. My blow drying really only takes about 5-6 minutes so it’s not that bad. Part of my issue is that I am still sweating from my workout quite often and even after a shower, blowing hot air on my body makes me imagine a pixie cut! 🙂

    • Reply Marjorie February 1, 2021 at 11:44 am

      I think I blow-dried my hair from the time I was in high school until my early forties, and then at some point I let it grow out long enough that it made more sense to wash it at night, let it air-dry, and then in the morning I brush it out and it looks great! It’s not “styled” or sleek — more like light waves — but not having to wash it in the AM and spend time blow-drying it is worth the trade-off.

      About two years ago, I experimented with cutting my hair just under chin-length in a blunt cut, and now I just wash and let it air-dry. My stylist knows that I don’t style or blow-dry, so she made sure to give me a very low-maintenance, wash-and-go cut. Given my lack of experience with styling (I have no idea how to use a round brush), I think it actually looks better than if I were to attempt to style it on my own. 😄

      I can go without washes for 2-3 days, even with long runs while wearing a knit cap or baseball cap. I hop in the shower, pop on a shower cap, and then afterwards I just shake my head and brush it out. I have very fine, lightly wavy, and I do live in a rather dry climate (Colorado) so that helps! But definitely saves me hours of time each week that I’d rather spend on other things.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 1, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Haha my shower is like 10 min and getting dressed and makeup takes like 7. I do nothing to my hair other than brush it wet. I get it Japanese straightened every 6 months so that is basically all I need to do!

      • Reply Irene February 1, 2021 at 3:45 pm

        I am also in the struggling to get ready quickly group! I also air dry my hair often but it takes hours to air dry! If I try to cut down by doing some with hair dryer it’s incredibly frizzy unless I do the whole thing and smooth it down at the end with a curling iron or flatiron. I feel unprofessional going to work with wet hair, does it bother you? I assume you do all the packing up lunch etc the night before and leave dishes (or nanny does them?). Honestly curious about this because I am finally a AM exerciser but it mostly appears to work because I don’t leave the house after. Would love to find a way to make this happen post pandemic.

        • Reply KGC February 1, 2021 at 4:07 pm

          Weighing in as an AM exerciser who also had to blow-dry and leave the house after: my only solution was to do the AM exercise really early. Pre-pandemic, I got up at 4:30, met my running group at 5, and was home in the 6-6:10 range to then leave for work in the 7-7:15 range. I needed that full hour to get showered and ready and kids up and ready. Things ran most smoothly when lunches were packed the night before, kitchen cleaned up and dishwasher started the night before, and my work bag ready to go. It worked, but not sure I’d recommend it longterm because I was tired and overwhelmed a lot…hence me also wanting ways to cut down the get-ready time so that the 4:30 alarm wouldn’t have to be so early!

          • Milly February 2, 2021 at 11:00 am

            I hear you, KGC. I’ve been a fairly regular 4:45 am waker upper and it does catch up after time, especially if you don’t get to bed in time for a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. It does just feel like a real rat race, though.

          • Sarah Hart-Unger February 2, 2021 at 12:12 pm

            Sometimes I just take a break from my own routines and “sleep in” until 6:30 or so! And I don’t get up so early most weekend days. That definitely helps 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 1, 2021 at 4:12 pm

          Yep, our nanny cleans up breakfast and preps lunches (other than Monday). I know we are so lucky!!

  • Reply Kristen February 1, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Quick follow-up question from today’s episode: I’ve followed you from the Hobo Cousin to the Wonderland 222 and am wondering where you make your list of weekly tasks in the W222. I love the wider daily space on the weekly pages of the W222, but I miss that column on the left of the weekly spread in the Cousin that I used for my weekly tasks. Thank for a great podcast!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 1, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      I do it in the boxes underneath the timeline!!

  • Reply Coco February 1, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    do you use any app and program for blogging? especially for photo uploading? it’s usually where it puts me off from blogging in the morning as I need my mac to upload the photos.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

      nope, just WordPress and i airdrop my photos from my phone to laptop 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns February 2, 2021 at 9:21 am

    The crowding out concept reminded me of the lazy genius concept of ‘naming what matters’ and focusing on that. I am on my phone allll the time since I’m on mat leave so never in front of a computer. Even when working I don’t think I could hit the 100 minutes goal. But I instead focus on limiting where I don’t want to be spending my time. So I use screen time to limit FB/IG to 20 minutes between those 2 aps. Also having a kindle book going on my phone helps as I bc can always read that if I have downtime instead of mindlessly scrolling!!

    Love seeing your pages! Makes me excited to get the W222 next year!

  • Reply Planner Whisperer February 2, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    I love the idea of crowding out bad habits by focusing on good habits. I have a fairly consistent morning routine but I definitely check email and Facebook first before I open my planner or read, but I don’t have a good reason for doing this. I really like what you said in the episode about the morning time being yours and you focus on the things you want to do. I may try shaking up my morning routine a bit to add in more of what really matters to me, and saving email and Facebook for later in the day.

  • Reply April February 5, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Loved this episode! I think I found you from Lazy Genius or vice versa! I love Lisa Woodruff over at Organize 365 🙂
    ok…real quick, I usually us a Panda Planner – which I love– BUT I love what you are doing with your daily planning. What type of journal are you using? and what kind of pens? I feel like you may have mentioned it somewhere, so please forgive me!

  • Reply Stacey February 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Hi Sarah, longtime listener of Best of Both Worlds and I’m loving BLP now, too! I decided to try out the wonderland 222 but I was puzzled when I got it and it didn’t have daily pages, only weekly spreads… are you using the undated daily notebook in conjunction with the weekly planner?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Yes! I use both books – I’m so sorry if I was unclear that they have to be purchased separately!

      • Reply Stacey February 17, 2021 at 12:04 pm

        No no you said that I just didn’t fully grasp it! There are some daily pages in the back of the weekly, I’m going to give those a try to see how I like it! Thanks so much! 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 17, 2021 at 12:43 pm

          Yes that can be a perfect place to try the daily layout – those pages are exactly the same as the daily pages in the notebook!

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