Best Laid Plans

BLP #203: June Q + A: Working in Distracting Environments, Budget Planning, Mental Health and More

June 17, 2024

In today’s episode, I share a mini life update and then answer questions that have come from listeners over the past month.

Topics/questions include:

  • Tips for working in distracting conditions
  • Ideas for budget planning – YNAB and more
  • What happens when when attempted morning planning sessions get derailed (by a kid, by illness, by ??)
  • Listener idea: having kids cook dinners on rotation through the summer! Fun AND educational.
  • Listener feedback: discussion of how with burnout and other mental health issues, planning tools are not enough
  • Ways for handling regularly occurring “abnormal weeks” – when relatives are visiting or call weeks

As mentioned, I LOVE receiving your questions and ideas! You can always email or text using (305) 697-7189.


Links mentioned:

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PS: We also had a lovely Father’s Day and Josh got a Messi jersey (the kids picked it out!) — and then we all spent the day being gloriously chill/relaxed at home. Sending love and gratitude to all of the fathers in my life!!!

PPS: I finished Still Life. Definitely want to read more of the series!!


  • Reply Lisa's Yarns June 17, 2024 at 10:50 am

    I also have a skill for working in sort of disruptive environments. I think it’s a skill I honed in the early days of my career when I worked on a trading desk and could touch my coworker if we both extended our hands to our sides! There are no walls on a trading desk – it’s a completely open air environment. I became very good at blocking out noise/what others were saying & doing.

    I have empathy for the first question asker – mornings are very unpredictable. Or actually, they are predictable in that I will not have time to myself. Our 3.5 yo old is waking at 5:30 now as he’s in the process of dropping a nap so he’s also fighting bedtime and can still be yelling for us at 8pm… So I take the “this, too, shall pass” and try to make mornings as easy on myself as possible. Someday I will enjoy a quiet house during that time slot but probably not reliably for another 2-3 years. If I had the ability to get up at 4am, I could use that time slot for planning but I am just can’t do it and would run myself into the ground if I tried to. :/

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 17, 2024 at 3:32 pm

      “this, too, shall pass” sounds about right! And you will really appreciate it when things changed, I am sure of it!

  • Reply coreebrownswan June 18, 2024 at 3:55 am

    I can work in busy coffee shops, open plan offices, trains etc, etc but don’t work as well with music. I’m also super sensitive to any sort of motorised drone – which is unfortunate given my neighbours’ penchant for power tools. I got some loop headphones and they do make the noise tolerable.

    I can’t get up any earlier than my kid, I think I just really need 8+ hours sleep to function. Last night, I got a call from a journalist at 10, and was definitely fast asleep. When I’m travelling, I do try to add those quieter, more reflective morning.

  • Reply Brooke June 18, 2024 at 2:27 pm

    I’m team #maximizesleep. Morning routines are not my jam. Honestly, at this phase of life I’ve got a long commute so I’m up at 5am and out the door at 5:30. And to support that 5am wakeup, I need to be in bed by 9. I’m generally home by 4:30 (traffic permitting) so it’s not so bad, but no way I’m waking up earlier because bedtime at 9 is already a struggle. Which is all to say – your self care part of the day does not need to be the morning, nor is a morning routine needed to set the day up for success. I think through the next day during lunch at work and it works for me.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 18, 2024 at 3:04 pm

      Excellent point !!!! I will have to share your routine on a future ep!

  • Reply Louise June 21, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    The Budget Mom Kumiko Love changed my life when jt comes to budgeting! Sounds like you really doing something similar to her method Sarah, but still worth having a look at her website 😀 she also has a Youtube channel with lots of great videos shes very good at explaining things simply!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 21, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      I actually reviewed her planner a million years ago!!!

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