life Planners Work

5 on a Friday: Random Thoughts Edition

April 29, 2022

1- Reading rut attack: Yes, I think going for total candy books right now may be the solution! Just put the one below on my library holds list:

this one suggested by you all and looks quite fun!

I think I also need some kind of neck/head reading lamp for reading in the kids’ rooms. Maybe I can work on both issues at once by turning my “sitting in room” time into reading time . . . light recs appreciated if you have one you love.

2- Summer travel planning is making me happy. I think we have all of our summer travel booked AND mostly paid for (brief Keys anniversary trip, Williamstown for my reunion, Ithaca/camp visiting day, and Amelia Island). I am still trying to figure out possibly taking G somewhere for 4th of July weekend while Josh is working and kids are away at camp. It’s definitely a lot but I am looking forward to every single one of those trips and days off. I am making up for lost time – both COVID and also the past 2 breaks from school when we stayed home doing not much.

3- I feel like I am entering summer mode a bit early, maybe thanks to this anticipation! As noted yesterday, I am feeling the itch to planner-hop (even though I vowed not to — oh well. Life is too short and I have a lot of planners). I am going to jump back into a new Full Focus (affiliate link here + code SARAH10 for 10% off) + try out an undated volume of another brand for weekly planning that I will reveal in a future BLP show notes 🙂

4- Interesting series on Kae’s blog about macro counting! I kind of want to track my macros for a few days as I am curious where I am, but I cannot stand the idea of measuring food (and accounting for all of the ingredients in a salad or something — sooooo tedious). I am however trying to eat a bit cleaner lately (my birthday is coming up next month and somehow that seems to trigger my instincts to try to be healthier!) and so maybe I will suck it up temporarily just to see if I’m getting enough protein etc. As I commented on her blog, my favorite macronutrient is fat. Give me all of the dark chocolate, nuts, and cheese . . .

5- My split call week was 1000x better than a continuous one. I am going to beg my manager to help me split things up (still taking the same amount but splitting weekend from weekday duties at least) to the extent possible in 2023. I am back on call today and not even particularly concerned about it. 3-4 nights in a row is just so much more doable than 7 . . .


  • Reply Amanda April 29, 2022 at 6:18 am

    I know you love physical books but an e-reader with a gentle, non stimulating backlight would be such a good solution here. I got an inexpensive Kobo for Christmas and was hesitant but I’m super sensitive to backlighting and I can read it until I fall asleep. Would be perfect while you’re in the kids rooms. It’s easy to to access my library network and holds come up quickly.

  • Reply omdg April 29, 2022 at 6:28 am

    I remember we used to take seven consecutive nights of pain call when I was in training and it was the absolute worst. Out of all the calls I got over the years, I think maybe one required the expertise of an anesthesiologist. Terrible. I would take in-house call over that any day. And you’re right, 7 nights in a row leaves you feeling like total garbage at the end of it.

  • Reply Gwinne April 29, 2022 at 7:25 am

    When I was deep in sitting in bedroom mode I used iPad to read blogs etc only during that time. Worked quite well.

  • Reply Elisabeth April 29, 2022 at 7:36 am

    I bought (based off a rec by Gretchen Rubin) a Ledgle neck light for my Mom for Christmas and she can’t stop raving about it (she uses it to read in bed at night, light up her music when she’s playing the piano and for doing handwork).
    This is the link GR provides (I sourced mine in Canada):

  • Reply Courtney April 29, 2022 at 7:48 am

    I have been using an Amber book clip light and it was fine until I discovered neck lights. I haven’t actually used a neck one, but I gifted them at Christmas and everyone loved them. Highly recommend getting an amber light though. So glad you found a way out of your rut! May the odds be ever in your favor!

  • Reply Amanda April 29, 2022 at 8:08 am

    Good to hear that splitting up call helped. Some people in my group (mostly the newer docs) are in favor of doing this but the older ones who have always done 7 in a row don’t want to. They also have older/high school or college aged kids so maybe that’s the difference. Or maybe they’re just tougher haha. Either way I hope we make this change in the future. I actually think I only have 4 weeks of call next year (!) so won’t be complaining too much.

  • Reply Sam April 29, 2022 at 8:36 am

    Dial A for Aunties is the best. I laughed so hard at so many parts.

  • Reply Amy F April 29, 2022 at 9:10 am

    I’m in “only fun books” mode (and actively making a list for beach / vacation reading!!). Dial A immediately went on my list, so thank you! I just finished The Happy Ever After Playlist – I think it’s another candidate for your consideration. Funny writing, great chemistry.

    I’ve never done call, but the idea of revisiting the newborn stage / interrupted sleep followed by working the following day is enough to make me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head!

    I love the weekly preview pages in the Full Focus planner, but the daily pages don’t fit my style. I end up with lots of barely used daily pages and then feel like I’ve wasted resources and money. I’d love to see a version that has the weekly preview, followed by two, two page spreads for daily planning (seven days on four sheets).

  • Reply MP April 29, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Oh the auntie’s book has been on my list. Will look forward to hearing what you think.

    Re:G and forth of July-what about a girls adventure week/weekend where you check out something new in your area many days (a different library branch, local book store, different park, coffee shop, grocery store etc). That way you all are having adventures, saving money/sleep/packing time etc by staying put, but having adventures and discovering your area even more. If I were to do this though, I’d need to have a list/plan otherwise I would end up mopping the floor and feeling bitter:). Good luck!

  • Reply Amanda April 29, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I am reading her new one now – Four Aunties and a Wedding, and it is just as hilarious and entertaining.

  • Reply LDMN April 29, 2022 at 10:08 am

    I love this book light: I love that it recharges via USB and has two light levels.

  • Reply Alissa April 29, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Another hesitant ereader here, but Kindle has been a game changer for reading in kids rooms at night (and great for nighttime wake ups as it is less stimulating than looking at my phone). Bonus that I can instantly download books from the library for free. I will always love physical books, but for this life stage, kindle has been a game changer.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 29, 2022 at 10:47 am

    I was telling my husband that he needs to start reading books on his phone during bedtime. I don’t think our son would tolerate us reading a book with a light but my phone is in dark mode, so black background, white text, so it does not put off much light. I use the kindle ap to read books as that is what I prefer, and then it syncs to my kindle, but I’m going to suggest he uses the libby ap to read books since he would only be reading on his phone. He is way way way crankier when he comes out of our sons room because he’s been siting there doing nothing and is hyper focused on when our son falls asleep. I don’t LOVE sitting there but I tell myself that if I wasn’t in there, I’d probably be reading (I used to go up to bed at 8:30 to read). We have lost our time in the evenings to watch shows together which sucks, but on the weekends when he doesn’t nap, bedtime goes much better so at least we get 2 nights/week to watch a show.

    So glad your split call schedule is so much better. I imagine there have to be other physicians that would prefer that? 7 days in a row is just SO MUCH!! Hopefully there are enough that are on board with that to allow for that kind of schedule for 2023! I only know a handful of physicians but none of them have week-long calls. The 2 I am closed to are a pediatric urologist and an OB. They seem to have a call stretch of about 3 days at the most.

  • Reply Amy April 29, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    Book recs!

    The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
    People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

    Plus Emily’s new release Book Lovers comes out on 5/3!

    • Reply Amy F April 29, 2022 at 3:49 pm

      Emily Henry’s “Beach Read” got 5 stars from me. I’ll have to check out her other two titles.

  • Reply Susan April 29, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Funny… I would find time tracking and intense planner-ing sooo tedious but I do not mind tracking food at all! In fact, as I am trying to lose weight (again) and I’m finally figuring out that it is a key component of staying on track and plan to do it indefinitely. Today’s apps make it so simple (I use LoseIt)… I’m munching a lunch salad with about 7 ingredients that took about 20 seconds to record since it has items I eat frequently. Just pulled up a previous meal, tweaked a few ingredients/amounts and boom, done! All the apps have huge databases these days and have gotten to user friendly for entering…. my recumbent bike workout this morning was recorded by my iWatch and automatically transferred over to the app. The food part only takes a few minutes a day, especially once you have a few days of personal data in there and you can customize goals and what you want to see. I focus on calories and fiber but I can see macros easily on LoseIt and there may apps that are even better suited to that.

  • Reply Jen April 29, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    I also have zero desire to track food but have been paying more attention to protein since reading Stacy Sims book (Roar) and listening to Hit Play Not Pause podcast. I don’t like protein powder though and don’t feel like i should ‘have’ to have it in order to get my protein needs. But then also it’s funny that you mention fat because i am the same but I started listening to Fuel for the Sole podcast and following the RD who is the host and she’s really on about carbs and carb loading for running but mentioned that carbs get such a bad rap because people usually get too much fat when they eat more carbs. It’s so interesting. So i do feel like based on these sources that there are likely positive tweaks to be made. It’s a dilemma to track or not to track and what for ?

    • Reply Grateful Kae April 29, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      One word of “caution” about increasing protein but not either tracking or at least keeping a loose eye on total calories- if you keep everything else the same in your diet but add a bunch of protein, you might find you actually gain a little weight. Because of course protein= calories. Not that protein inherently causes any weight gain, it doesn’t…but it could end up putting someone into a caloric surplus, if not cutting somewhere else. I had this happen to me once years back when I just really focused on pushing protein….but oops, I didn’t decrease anything else! (carbs or fats). I was not tracking at that time. So I basically ended up eating too much/ too many calories! Just something to keep in mind. Others who might do this could end up erroneously “blaming” the protein for any weight gain/ bulking up while eating higher protein, when it’s really just the surplus of calories. (Not saying you’re doing this, anyway! Your comment just made me think of this. 🙂

      I also do not really like protein powder much and try to avoid it. I have been using a scoop of collagen powder (contains 18 g protein) but I had actually started that a while ago actually to see if it would help my hair/ skin health (wasn’t even really for the protein benefit). It’s easy to mix in my afternoon tea (no flavor) so I don’t mind it, unlike whey protein which I find pretty yucky. Now that I’m watching protein again, it does help me get a little bit more, but I primarily consume my protein in “food” form. I do want to research and stock up on some more plant based protein options, too, so I can balance plant/animal consumption a bit better, though.

      • Reply Amy April 29, 2022 at 2:07 pm

        I started lifting weights and tracking macros and doing little to no cardio in July. It has been life changing and body changing. I was weary about tracking food but once you get used to it it is pretty fast and easy and I feel so much less guilt and drama around food. I work with Couture Fitness and they have taught me a lot of us are increasing and they work to repair metabolisms so you can maintain your weight on 2000 calories or more.

        • Reply Amy April 29, 2022 at 2:09 pm

          Undereating rather than increasing

    • Reply Chelsea April 29, 2022 at 4:11 pm

      I listen to that podcast as well and have actually worked with the nutritionist Meghann. I think she would be the first to say – her recommendations are for people who are training for and racing long distance runs – not people who are trying to eat for general health and fitness – but her recommendations have been a game changer to my training and racing.

      I commented below, but the only time I track is to do the pre-race carb load that they talk about and to calculate my nutrition needs for during a long run or race. I’ve never been motivated to track “just because” but now that I’ve seen what a difference it makes, I absolutely track carbs 2 -3 days before a race.

  • Reply Nicole C Vinson April 29, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    I was listening to a podcast the other day and the celebrity mom said that she will use a black lawn garbage waste bag and duct tape on vacation to get the blackout curtain effect for her daughter. I was laughing so hard picturing this at an air b and b, but it worked for her and could work in the new house until you get the curtains you want. I would put down painters tape to the wall and the duct tape over that so there is no damage. If it is good enough for the people of Beverly Hills, we can try it with no shame! Garbage bags for the win.

    • Reply KGC April 29, 2022 at 3:54 pm

      For several years now, we bring a roll of black contractor bags and a roll of painters tape every year when we vacation in NC – we rent the same house and know that the shades are useless. Works like a charm! (I don’t see any need for duct tape at all. Painters tape works just fine!) I agree that this totally works in a pinch until you find the right curtains that you need.

  • Reply Chelsea April 29, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    Interestingly, the only time I count macros is right before a race because I have started doing a serious carb load on the 2-3 days before. It’s actually fairly hard (and not as fun as you’d think, lol) to eat 400-450g of carbs in a day if you are avoiding fat and protein, and I have to write it all down to make sure I hit those numbers. But 3 days when I’m very motivated is the best I can do!

  • Reply Meghan April 29, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    Another recommendation for a Kindle for night reading. I’ve been reading in my kids’ rooms in the dark for almost 13 years now! I have a Kindle Oasis, so I like to turn the warm light on and dim it so that it isn’t too bright. It’s so easy to use the Libby app and download library books directly to it. To be honest, I end up falling asleep about 50% of the time since it’s just so easy to close my eyes for a few minutes and then wake up 2 hours later. But for the nights where I can force myself to stay awake, I’ve made it through a lot of books!

  • Reply flavia April 29, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Sarah! Flagging a correction: I eagerly clicked on your Full Focus affiliate link at the prospect of $10 off (why are planners so expensive!?!), but sadly the discount is 10% ($4.19) off. Thanks!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 29, 2022 at 4:47 pm

      Darn it!!!! I will fix.

  • Reply Anne April 29, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    I ordered this book light on recommendation from Anne Bogel.

    It’s the best I’ve ever found

  • Reply Candace Krause April 29, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    I just finished Dial A for Aunties–hilarious and fun.
    As soon as you finish this, you HAVE to read Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I’m almost done and I I don’t want it to end. Hilarious, but very thought provoking. Very interesting characters, especially the dog, Six Thirty.

    On a separate note–my advice in the dental department (yes I am a practicing family dentist)–be sure to get that bedtime brushing in (skip the morning if you have too, but brush at bedtime.). Yes to electric toothbrushes, even the entry level ones. Same for us adults !!

  • Reply Coree April 30, 2022 at 9:11 am

    I’m definitely in summer mode. Teaching finished the first week of April and my travel schedule will be comparatively light (1x a month) through mid-September and I sat down and made a list, aptly entitled “everything that is in my brain…” I’m still working, academics in the UK have 12-month contracts, but without the travel and teaching, I’m looking forward to making progress on writing, and really getting my life and work systems up to scratch. I started a new job a few weeks into the semester in October and I haven’t really had a chance to regroup since.

  • Reply Alyce May 1, 2022 at 7:10 am

    I’m so happy to hear the shorter call week was a win! My unsolicited advice re:getting your manager on board with splitting call – I would take some time to think about whether your boss/management has a vested interest in a 7 day call schedule, or if they would have any concerns or resistance to making the change. I would even go and talk with them to find out concerns they may have about it now, well before the next call schedule is made so that you can think strategically about how to address their concerns and get them to the place where there’s no reason not to say yes.

    For example, maybe they think people prefer the 7 day call and it would be a hassle to make the switch. If that’s there concern, I would talk with your colleagues first and find others who are interested in it. If you pitch your boss with other people who are on also interested in splitting with you it will show that there’s a demand for the change, and it will make it seem like less work to make the change if others already support it. And if you have support from others, start raising the request publicly at things like staff meeting (if you guys do it) so people are sharing supportive preferences with your bosses before the next call schedule is made. Basically, I assume the current call schedule is deeply entrenched institutionally, which may make it harder to change, so don’t assume you’ll be able to waltz right in the day call schedules are made and have them sign off on your request. Given that you all make your call schedules so far in advance, handling the request more strategically may make it less likely that you get shut down and stuck in an undesirable call schedule for a long period of time. (Though even if you do, you’ll have built up relationships with others who also want shorter call periods and you have a host of people who may be willing to make swaps on the back end to hack shorter schedules even without the institution taking the lead on making the change.)

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