BLP Ep #29: Planning and Anticipation in Pandemic Times

February 8, 2021

Yes – it’s another deep dive ep (2 in a row! Don’t worry, some product reviews, Q/As & guests are coming up shortly)

In this episode:

First: A discussion of the pitfalls of planning during a pandemic (this post is so embarrassing in retrospect!) — but why many of us benefit from trying to do it anyway. At least to some degree.

Second: Current planning successes and failures. (Because YES – I fail too! Often spectacularly!)

Last: We answer a really fun listener question: How can you help a significant other with planning & time management?

(Would love more of your wisdom added to that one!)

EPISODE SPONSOR: Lani’s Wear Your Power e-course! Revitalize your wardrobe virtually by working with Lani and her team from Real Life Style! Go here to check it out, and if you mention Best Laid Plans during signup you receive a course upgrade that includes a free 30 minute Zoom Q&A!

our homemade Super Bowl snack bowl (complete with 7-layer dip playing field) didn’t take too much planning but was still fun to anticipate 🙂

PS: You can submit an AUDIO QUESTION now! Scroll down to the bottom of the show notes page and click on section under “Submit an Audio Question” to be connected to Speakpipe!


  • Reply Chelsea February 8, 2021 at 10:17 am

    I’ve been feeling very blah lately, and I totally think it’s because I don’t feel like I can really plan anything fun. Which is not exactly true, but what I *want* to plan is the vacation I *want* to have, which, even if things progress best case scenario with Covid is probably not going to happen. So, first world problems and all that, but meh… I realize I also get a lot of pleasure out of planning and anticipating a trip and it’s a bummer to not have that.

  • Reply Kwan February 8, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Hi! Random question. Can you please give me the name of the OB/GYN who practices in Towson Maryland who was a guest on best of both worlds a while ago. Thank you!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 8, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Yes! Dr Laura Erdmann!!

  • Reply Jara C. February 8, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    I deeply sympathize with all of your ruined travel plans! I scooped up cheap tickets to Alaska AND Hawaii in the couple of weeks that airfare was cheap because of COVID but it wasn’t yet clear how disastrous it would be in the US (or maybe I was just naively optimistic that it wouldn’t be as bad as was being projected? It’s hard to remember now). I was so excited because I was going to be able to do both trips (including food and lodging) for roughly the cost of what airfare alone would’ve been otherwise. Of course, neither trip ended up happening and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to use my flight credit before it expires since I’ll likely be busy with clinicals by the time air travel is safe again. BUT that is definitely a first-world problem and I know I’ve been personally lucky throughout the pandemic and shouldn’t even be complaining!

    This episode was a great reminder, though, to still try to plan in things to look forward to. Those things used to always be vacations for me, so now I need to figure out other things to plan until travel is once again safe!

  • Reply Katherine B February 8, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I wouldn’t say that your post last February was embarrassing. It’s just so interesting to see that even then, not only you as a doctor married to another doctor but also none of the people who commented on your post had literally any idea what was coming down the tracks and about to hit us all. It would be good to look back at a journal (or your blog!) and see precisely when we started to be aware of the upcoming issues. I know that on the day the UK went into lockdown in the evening I went at lunchtime to an opening ceremony for a new local hub for community groups to meet. We did a bit of social distancing and fist bumps rather than shaking hands for some (but not all) but even then, with a national lockdown about 8 hours away, no one in my part of the world had any idea what was about to happen.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 8, 2021 at 7:19 pm

      In my defense, I was worried as early as late Jan ( — but I guess I somehow was in denial that a worldwide threat could actually pose a threat to MY vacation plans!

      • Reply Kirsten February 9, 2021 at 2:43 am

        Oh my goodness, the whiplash-inducing speed of the shift between “wow, weird stuff happening in China but we’ll probably be fine here” (I live in Italy, but I think this was probably siimilar for a lot of places) and “just kidding, total impending doom” is by far one of my strangest memories of this last year:

        February 20: Training session (in person! in a crowded room!) for where I’m a volunteer EMT, in which they reassured us that there were only two cases in Rome and they were isolated and hospitalized now, so the likelihood of the virus spreading up north to us was basically zero. (Bahahaha. In retrospect.)

        February 21: Busy teaching day; didn’t check the news. My last private student of the day came to my house all in a panic because now there were cases near Milan (much closer to us than Rome). Armed with my reassuring training session from the day before, I comforted her. Even sent her the slides. (!)

        February 23: A Sunday. Lovely hike with my friends ending at a hilltop inn for a delicious meal. (Fun fact: we’d had this hike planned for a while and joyful anticipation of it in my planner is actually the reason I remember these dates so precisely!) While we were up there hiking, emails from every school I work for and the university where I’m doing my master’s: all schools closed for the week.

        A couple days later: a follow-up training session… online, from home. They basically told us “forget everything we said last week. It’s here in northern Italy and it’s inevitably coming to our town, probably in a matter of days. It’s going to be like a war. Our only weapons are PPE and disinfectant.”

        It still gives me the shivers how we went from “don’t worry, it’ll never come here” to “impending disaster” in less than a week.

        PS About vacations… we were in full lockdown two weeks after that Sunday, but it took me another week even after that to start cancelling the late-March trip we had planned. Ha.

  • Reply Lori C February 8, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    I really liked this episode. Even though its a pandemic, planning ahead can still be done (fun meals, outings, local trips, etc.) and it is an easy mood booster. I found out that I will essentially be winning a free trip this year based on my performance at work, so we talked a bit about where we might go, when, etc. and I noticed that just talking about it brightened my mood. I’ve started sketching out some February vacation ideas and that too gives me something to look forward to. We were going to do Disney in 2020 also, so I am really hoping 2021 can be our year (although with a baby coming in August it may not be til December!!)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 8, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      Our kids asked about Disney yesterday. Josh told them “probably 2022.” We may have lost our optimism. But YES! Can still plan low key things. Something is better (for my mental state) than nothing!

  • Reply omdg February 8, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Aw! Your vacation post was so sweet and naive! You really are an amazing vacation planner. I had a post from around that time where I was hand wringing over my husband and daughter flying to Italy over the summer and not being able to come back home because of COVID, and another thinking about cancelling my San Diego vacation, which at the time everyone said was sooooo over the top concerned. It made me feel quite prescient!

    Anyway, I actually think we should rent an Air BnB in May near Traverse City, when I have my next real vacation and have my daughter do virtual school up there for a week while Luca and I go hiking and explore the area. That’s about as much as I’m willing to bet on right now. It won’t be forever though.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 8, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      My literal dream vacation right now is like a remote cabin somewhere. Hiking for a week would be lovely. (But my personal dream vacation right now also includes no kids. lol.)

  • Reply CBS February 9, 2021 at 11:03 am

    It’s so fascinating to think how quickly things changed. My mom was visiting, and we were due at a local wedding on the Saturday and to (sadly) travel to my SIL’s funeral on the Tuesday. We all avoided shaking hands/hugging at the wedding, but still ceilidh danced which perhaps seems worse. By Monday, it felt like travelling to the funeral was a bad idea, as we were planning on leaving my son with my mom and what if we got sick or stuck? And on Friday, schools and nurseries were closed and my mom had arranged to leave for the US early and had to quarantine en route back. I remember thinking I was horribly pessimistic but things wouldn’t reopen until the end of June. Schools opened August-December but everything is closed again.

  • Reply Brooke February 12, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Speaking of helping others with planning, how is A doing with her planner that she was all excited about?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 4:44 pm

      She uses it though not every day 🙂 I love seeing her lists & checkboxes! She probably would have been fine with the A6 size b/c she mostly uses the daily pages but she also tends to write pretty big! I’d say it’s a relative success so far 🙂

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