Best Laid Plans life Work

Some big news I have been holding back

August 30, 2022

First, an addendum to yesterday’s post

An astute BLP listener noted that I had promise Planner Peace pix in the show notes, but they were nowhere to be found!! I was in a huge rush yesterday and managed to forget this important piece of the episode. However – they have been added now HERE for your viewing pleasure in the first section of the post. She included a daily / weekly / monthly example – loved seeing these! Keep the submissions coming, and thank you Sarah K for sending those in to share!

Second, Hemlock & Oak preorders are out

You all know I love Hemlock & Oak — they are a Canadian company that makes sustainable and beautiful planners with a similar layout to Hobonichi but with thicker paper. I used a Hemlock & Oak weekly for several months this year and loved the way my gel pens wrote on the paper! My review is here with pix!

They just opened their 2023 preorders, so I just wanted to share! I do have an affiliate link here and a discount code BLP that will give you 10% off of your order. (Note, I will receive a small percentage if you use the affiliate link; of course prices remain the same on your end.)

Third, getting something big off my chest

I always try to be as honest and open as I can on this site, but sometimes there are things that can’t be shared, or things that can be shared but not right away.

Here it goes: I have decided to step down from my program director leadership role to work part time. My contract is signed, and the shift was announced at work ~2 weeks ago, including to our residents — so I feel safe sharing it here now. I will keep my clinical job essentially at its current level — I will be 60% (0.6 FTE), working 3 days per week seeing patients. I will still take call (at the same proportion).

I have been involved in GME since 2016, and program director for 3 years. The decision to leave is multifactorial and bittersweet, and I will genuinely miss many aspects of it. My team, the residents, and more.

BUT, I am also excited for what is to come! I am thrilled that I will have more flexibility, but I have big plans for some of that found time. I hope to have more time for the kids when they need me — and I have big feelings about time with them feeling both more enjoyable AND more finite lately — but I also want to use those two days primarily to grow in this creative space and take my writing/podcasting business to the next level. I want to be able to actually ACT on the ideas I have for growing here, and leverage some of the skills I have developed over years of crafting in this space.

. .the days are long but the years really are short (and the clock only runs one way . . .)

I will write more about the decision process that led me to this point in a future post, but know it has been brewing for many months now.

SO – there you have it. Off my chest! It does feel good 🙂 Off to run . . .


  • Reply Chelsea August 30, 2022 at 6:16 am

    I’m excited for you in this new stage! Don’t minimize that YOU did a huge lift getting the residency program off the ground (in addition to just running it!). And there’s probably at least one someone who has been telling themself, “As soon as Sarah steps down, I’m going to leap at that chance to be program director!” As an (extremely!) long time reader, I’m looking forward to seeing how you use your new schedule 🙂

  • Reply Emily August 30, 2022 at 6:21 am

    Congratulations Sarah! Being in medicine (and seeing a part of how much my residency program director was responsible for, aside from being a clinician) I know the time is really so limited. I’m glad you’re going to have flexibility to work on other things and be with your kids. Really look forward to reading about your decision-making process and the creative work you’ll have time for!

    • Reply Lindsay August 30, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Congratulations on the big change! It’s exciting and inspiring to see you taking and making new opportunities for yourself in other directions.

  • Reply Lou August 30, 2022 at 6:26 am

    Good for you Sarah. I’m really interested to see how this pans out for you. I’m a UK NHS senior ER doctor, with 3 young kids. I’m working at 85% currently, I’d love to drop to 65% and fantasise about this regularly but as the main breadwinner in our family it’d be a big drop in income. BUT I’m still thinking about time vs finance and what’s best for my kiddos in the long run. One of my 3 has learning difficulties and I know would benefit from more of my time invested in her. Or she might not, but me knowing in her adulthood that I gave her all I had might make me feel more comfortable with wherever she gets to. This is such hard stuff to decide as a parent! And yes, I completely appreciate the privilege we have as relatively high earning professionals, to be even able to think about working less than all the hours available. That said, I live far more frugally than most of my colleagues already…

    I’m under lots of pressure / expectation (mostly from my own mind) to take on MORE – a medical school role, a leader ship role, etc etc, as what I currently do is about 60% clinical work (ER) and 25% management and administrative. So far I’m resisting. I’d love to have ‘space’ for non medical creative endeavours too. Well done on this brave decision. We only live once!

  • Reply Sophie August 30, 2022 at 6:33 am

    Congratulations Sarah on this new chapter, so glad you could finally share this exciting news with us. Love that youve been brave enough to make changes to your work situation as life has required it. Looking forward to hearing more of your plans as time goes on.

  • Reply Carrie August 30, 2022 at 6:35 am

    This sounds like a great decision for you. I look forward to hearing about what’s next.

  • Reply Amy August 30, 2022 at 6:39 am

    This is so exciting, Sarah! I can’t wait to read more about your decision process. Congratulations!

  • Reply Lori C August 30, 2022 at 6:42 am

    I skipped this whole post and went right to the bottom. Sarah I am THRILLED for you and can’t wait to see what life has in store for you!!!

    • Reply Amy August 30, 2022 at 8:50 am

      Lol, I did too. You can’t give a post a title like that and save the news for the end! 😂😂

  • Reply Gillian August 30, 2022 at 6:45 am

    Congratulations! Having more flexibility is wonderful. I am excited to see what you do with it!

  • Reply Grateful Kae August 30, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Congrats, Sarah! I’m so, so happy for you. 😊

  • Reply Jenn N August 30, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Wow congratulations!

  • Reply AnnaM August 30, 2022 at 7:22 am

    I absolutely love this and am SO inspired by you. Congratulations!!!

  • Reply Mark August 30, 2022 at 7:25 am


  • Reply Kristie August 30, 2022 at 8:13 am

    I’m also so excited to hear your news! As a fellow pediatrician, I have made a variety of career changes along the way, and I’m thankful for the new opportunities that seem to appear when we are flexible. I hope this transition is good for you and your family!

  • Reply Alyce August 30, 2022 at 8:21 am

    I’m so glad to hear you’ve made a decision you’re at peace with! And I’m not gonna lie, I’m deeply jealous about the flexibility you (doctors) have in working a truly part time schedule. It’s not so easy to get approved for part time work in my job, plus the work just sits and accumulates rather than getting redistributed.

    • Reply KGC August 30, 2022 at 8:32 am

      Yes, I have a similar issue here, @Alyce! I’ve been toying with a decision to go part time but I don’t know how things would be redistributed. Sarah, I would love to hear all the nitty gritty (that you can share) about what led to this decision, whether it impacts your nanny’s hours, if there was a “breaking point,” etc. Congratulations!

  • Reply Angie August 30, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Congratulations. That’s amazing that you can have that flexibility. I quit teaching when I had my second kid and now I’m going to start subbing this year. My husband travels a ton for work and we don’t live near family. I’m so lucky to have that flexibility and not worry when a kid gets sick, or has an appointment, or if I need a day to get the house in order and stuff. My kids still love when I help at school or volunteer in their classroom.

  • Reply Coco August 30, 2022 at 8:53 am

    Woooo! That’s a really big news! Very excited for you and admire you pulling the gun. It must have been a really hard decision to make.

  • Reply Sarah August 30, 2022 at 9:01 am

    Good for you. The beauty of being a highly trained and ultra capable professional is that there will ALWAYS be opportunity to make adjustments in or out of the workforce, because people will always want to work with you! Looking forward to hearing how you like the adjustment.

    I have been part time, scaling up and down, for 9 years since my daughter was born. I was back at 25 hours a week when Covid hit and I scaled back down to handle home schooling. I planned to scale back up but…got pregnant unexpectedly! (Birth control isn’t 100 percent effective! Ha) so I’m back to being home and working 8-10 hours/week during her naps, which honestly works well since I have one with multiple learning disabilities who needs a lot of support after school. I have some personal identity crises from time to time about how I could be further along in my career if I had made different choices, but I am overall really happy with the family life we are able to have right now, so here I am. I think part time work can be incredibly fulfilling if you like what you do and are building good things outside of the workplace too. I love following you and really look forward to seeing where you take everything… in all facets of your life! Thanks for sharing all that you do!

  • Reply Kelsey August 30, 2022 at 9:04 am

    Oh wow, congratulations Sarah! This is an exciting new chapter for you and I can’t wait to hear more about how you’ll be expanding your creative endeavors. You have put so much work into the GME program and can feel so good about all the improvements you made, leadership you developed, and students you mentored. I love that you are creating a schedule that works for you and your life right now.

  • Reply Sam August 30, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Congrats! So excited for you to have more time for your family and your own creating work 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 30, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Congrats on this big change! You had mentioned changing coming and I wondered if you were going to drop the PD role. I have to imagine the # of meetings on your calendar has REALLY decreased now that you are out of that role. That would be a major positive for me! It is nice that you have the flexibility to craft a schedule that works for you and your family. And I can see how your kids are at the ages where more time with them will be net positive for everyone. I think that is not always the case when your kids are younger, like babies/toddlers. I adore my kids, but my energy is way more depleted when I spend a day with my toddler versus my most hectic day at work! But our oldest is 4 and I can see how things are only going to get easier/better.

    I can’t wait to see how you make this schedule work for you and your family! It will never be a possibility for me in my role in financial services and I’m not sure if I’d want it since I don’t have a side hustle, but I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with your new schedule!

  • Reply Sarah D August 30, 2022 at 9:10 am

    For a half a second I thought, “is she pregnant?!?”, but this makes much more sense! 😆 Bravo! Can’t wait to hear more both here and in BOBW- this would make a great episode (or series of episodes about shifting work/life obligations). Congratulations!

  • Reply Lauren S. August 30, 2022 at 9:22 am

    Congratulations, Sarah! Excited for you!

  • Reply Elizabeth August 30, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Longtime BLP listener & reader, first time commenter – I am so thrilled for you, Sarah!! And so excited to see what’s to come in this space. A shift
    from full-time work hours is something I’ve been contemplating, too – lots happening over the past few years to make one realize how precious time really is (also realizing that our North American standard of traditional work vs personal time isn’t necessary the healthiest). Can’t wait to hear more about your plans & your journey!!

  • Reply Mp August 30, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Good for you! 3 thoughts
    -Have you listened to the no stupid questions with Angela Duckworth and Steven D talking about why she’s stepping down as CEO and why many people are less interested in leadership than in the past?
    -60% is a great schedule! It prevents burnout AND allows you to feel the joy of work/your patients.
    -Honestly if your kids get into anything (soccer, swim, art etc) it sucks up so much time. You won’t regret your reduction in time!

  • Reply Linda August 30, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to see what comes next. I think this is truly the best of both worlds.

    I just received my Hemlock and Oak undated planner that I bought on your recommendation. I couldn’t wait until 2023 so I might switch for the fall. I also read “Lessons in Chemistry “ based on your review and I loved it sooo much.

  • Reply Elisabeth August 30, 2022 at 9:56 am

    Congratulations, Sarah! I’m excited for you to have more time with the kids and for your other projects. I’ll be very interested to hear more about the decision making process (anything you want/are able to share). I’m also very much looking forward to enjoying what comes out of your new found extra creative time.

  • Reply Connie C August 30, 2022 at 10:06 am

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings you and yours!

  • Reply Nicole Vinson August 30, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Just had to comment to send you a Congratulations! Three cheers to you, Sarah! I think this is Best of Both Worlds in real life, plus pivoting to devote more to passion work is going to be very cool to follow! Excited for your next chapter! Sorry you still have call, lol. And give us all the details when you can!

  • Reply Alison Rodriguez August 30, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Wishing you all the best in this new chapter!

  • Reply Rachel S August 30, 2022 at 10:41 am

    So exciting! I love reading your blog and listening to BOBW. Huge source of inspiration for me as a woman business owner and mom! Wishing you all the best and excited to see what’s next for you!

  • Reply Elissa Candelier August 30, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Congratulations! I think that’s the right thing to say. It’s amazing to know your boundaries and what’s right for you in a season of life. So glad you were able to do that and excited to see where your endeavors with writing and podcasting take you. You’re inspiring.

  • Reply Sneakers August 30, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Congrats on taking the opportunity to do this (and for taking the PD role in the first place.)

    • Reply Kamala August 30, 2022 at 1:22 pm

      Congratulations and very best wishes for the exciting new phase of your life.

  • Reply Amanda August 30, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Congratulations! You seem very happy and excited for this change, and after hearing you talk about how the blog/pod is really your passion/happy place I am so excited you were able to make this happen. I really appreciate all of your sharing – even before this news your openness and prior discussions about priorities helped me to age the confidence to turn down a leadership roll that I was offered but wasn’t excited about. I felt bad but once I turned it down I was so glad I did and I’ve been able to focus on the work stuff that I’m more excited about.

  • Reply Nikki August 30, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    This news definitely deserves a comment – congrats! That sounds like a terrific schedule. I made a similar change recently and can’t even figure out how I ever fit in 40+ hours a week with 3 little kids. Will look forward to following along and being inspired by how you use your found time.

  • Reply Omdg August 30, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Yes!! I hope this change is everything you want it to be. 🙂

  • Reply BethC. August 30, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    Congratulations! I always wondered how you were able to fit everything into a very busy life, even though you are a planning ninja. As someone on the other side of child rearing who took a similar approach (a 70 per cent schedule as a law firm partner), I predict that you won’t regret the decision. Your kids are at a great age now, and it’s always good to be around more when they are teens (although the teen years can be as tiring as the toddler years sometimes). I kept my schedule “part time” until my kids were out of college. I was able to do college drop offs and pickups, do parents weekend, and get some additional time to help my aging parents, who lived 3 plus hours away. I put “part-time” in quotes because the part time of a busy professional can include “unofficial “ additional hours very often. Good for you for making the decision!

  • Reply Keren August 30, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    I’m very happy for you! it’s great that you have the ability for a flexible career and the courage to make the changes you want. I think this move really reflects how you lead your life through planning and reflection and it’s great and inspiring to see such a great change coming out of it. Enjoy the time with your family. I hope this change will make you flourish and I’m looking forward for your future projects.

  • Reply MommyAttorney August 30, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Congratulations! I look forward to hearing more about your decision and your future plans!

  • Reply Marcia Francois August 30, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Congratulations! I cannot wait to hear about the decision-making process. I always think it’s so inspiring to hear of people ruminating and then taking action.

    We have just recently started a no meetings on Friday initiative and I’m way too excited to get things done 🙂 so I get the PD time constraints…………… 😮

  • Reply Ida August 30, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Congrats!! sounds like a great balance and can’t wait to hear more about it.

  • Reply Physician on FIRE August 30, 2022 at 4:00 pm


    You’ll love the freedom that comes with the reduced schedule. My first reduction in work was to drop to 0.6 FTE. The second, about two years later, was to 0 FTE.

    May you work the number that works best for you and your family.


  • Reply Lani Inlander August 30, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    Congrats, lady! Here’s to following your creative dreams!

  • Reply Helena Murphy August 30, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    So excited about your decision and all the possibilities!
    As I was listening to you the other day I was once again amazed at how much of a natural you are on the mic. You have the most pleasant voice and conversational flow of most podcasters I follow (not a scientific metric but I talk/listen for a living and have developed the ultimate nitpick y ear as my emails about mics and sound might have conveyed!). There’s no question you have the ability to grow this space very successfully.
    … And if you ever decide to go back to a managerial role in the medical field, I’m sure you could.
    I’m keeping my eyes peeled! 😎

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 31, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      this comment means so much to me! thank you <3 <3 <3

  • Reply Sarah August 30, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Congratulations, Sarah! I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision to make but it sounds like a wonderful one! 🙂

  • Reply Brooke August 30, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations, Sarah! Wishing you all the best in the adventures ahead!

  • Reply Katie August 30, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    So happy for you, Sarah! I hope it’s everything you want it to be.

  • Reply Ali August 30, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    Congrats! I have been on various flex time arrangements for the past 10 years (at 50% currently). I tell people often it is the best of both worlds AND the worst of both worlds…but coverall, had been a huge blessing to me and our entire family. It is nice to have a little extra bandwidth to just BE, and to have flexibility to do all the things I want to do with my kids. Hope that you find this a fulfilling and positive change!

  • Reply Elisabeth August 31, 2022 at 3:19 am

    Congrats! This is all very exciting!! I can’t wait to see what’s in store creatively for you!!!

  • Reply Kristina August 31, 2022 at 6:45 am

    Congratulations! As a fellow healthcare professional, I’ve been re-shaping my career over the last year, adjusting hours worked and spending time on other projects. The flexibility with small children and ability to step outside of patient care for part of the week has been amazing. I can’t wait to see what you’ll be working on! Have been a reader and listener of BOBW for quite some time!

  • Reply Gwinne August 31, 2022 at 7:16 am

    Exciting! Congratulations!

  • Reply Elizabeth August 31, 2022 at 9:24 am

    So, so happy for you!! From your posts over the past year or so, this feels like it was a long time coming. I really hope that 60% is a breath of fresh air for you. You deserve nothing less!

  • Reply Jordan August 31, 2022 at 10:59 am

    So happy for you Sarah – very excited to follow along and see how this change works for your life/family. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Reply Amanda August 31, 2022 at 1:53 pm


  • Reply Nicole September 1, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    So exciting, congratulations!! Fellow pediatrician here in my early career starting out part-time after hearing from many wise women before me who told me how much easier it is to add on time than to take away time (at work)–I’m so glad you were able to do it! Can’t wait to see what comes from it, hopefully a lot of peace and joy and time for yourself and your family!

  • Reply Courtney September 1, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    I got a little emotional listening to the podcast yesterday! I’ve recently reduced my hours at work and got a lot of pushback from my gogetter friends and colleagues. It’s inspiring to see you take this step to focus on priorities outside your “traditional” paid work. Thank you!

  • Reply Laura Erdman September 3, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    Wow! This is so exciting – and such an important example for your residents to see. There is SO MUCH MORE to life than academic medicine. Being in private practice, whenever I interview a chief resident for a potential job, I can feel their sense of ‘settling’ for something that is not academic. And now, you showing them that there’s even more to life than just medicine – I can’t wait to see what comes out of your creative time. I’m sure it will continue to be such an inspiration!

  • Reply Kim N September 9, 2022 at 6:26 pm


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