Best Laid Plans

By Sarah Hart-Unger

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Welcome to Best Laid Plans -- a podcast all about planning and the planning tools we love. From planning techniques and organizing philosophies to planners and notebooks, we cover it all. Host Sarah Hart-Unger is a mother of 3, physician, podcasting pro, and a lover of lists and all things paper! Listen in weekly for conversations about planning and productivity as well as product reviews and interviews with planning experts!

Episode Date
Q&A: Meal planning, Post-baby planning, Quarterly planning pages, "Doing it all", and More EP 26

In this Q&A episode, Sarah answers questions about meal planning, tracking multiple active cases at work, planning in the post-newborn period, how she fits in podcasting with her busy work and family life, and more!

Show Sponsor:
Wear Your Power is an on-demand e-course that will give you a new perspective on your style and a week of outfits you love. Find out more at and upgrade to a free additional 30-minute Zoom Q&A session by mentioning Best Laid Plans when you sign up!

Jan 18, 2021
Planner Chat with Meg & Myra from Planners & Wine! EP 25

In this very fun guest episode, Sarah interviews Meg and Myra, the cohosts of Planners & Wine -- yes, another podcast about planners! Their podcast is a ton of fun, as they share very real and important opinions (some planner related, and some not!) and have amazing chemistry together. Sarah interviews both Meg & Myra about the mission and direction of their show, their 2021 planner stacks, how they met and got started planning together, and some long term future wishes for the new year.

Jan 11, 2021
2021 Systems Overview EP: 24

It's a new year (AND a new quintile!), so welcome to a brand new season of Best Laid Plans! In this episode, Sarah gives an overview of all of the systems and products she plans on using in 2021 to stay organized, from the digital to the physical.

Jan 04, 2021
Year End Q&A EP: 23

It's an all Q&A episode for the end of the year! Sarah answers your questions on goal setting, creating trackers for illnesses, managing big projects, messy planner pages, planners for kids, and more!

Keep the questions coming - feel free to submit via email, Instagram (@shubox_plans), or even send in a voice recording!

And if anyone is interested in becoming a show sponsor to spread the word about your brand or product, let Sarah know!

Dec 28, 2020
Spaces Planner & Thoughts on Planner Size EP 22

Still looking for a 2021 planner? In the last review-focused episode of the year, Sarah reviews the unique Spaces Planner! The Spaces is a weekly system with tons of flexibility and an unusual square footprint. Sarah leads with a discussion about matching your planner size to you planner needs -- as in, don't plan on toting a round a dictionary-sized daily! Then comes the review segment. If you are looking for a very flexible weekly planner with lovely paper and lots of notes space, Spaces may be for you! As always, find more photos and notes at

Dec 21, 2020
Tips for End of Year Goal Setting (even after a roller coaster of a year!) EP 21

In this episode, Sarah shares her end of year goal setting process, as well as some of the things that felt a little more challenging in this usual year. She discusses setting "pandemic-proof" goals, using categories, seeking accountability, getting inspiraiton from others, and choosing a word for the year.

If you've created your own goals list or have chosen a word, it can be a wonderful gift to share them! Find Sarah at or via instagram at @shubox_plans.

Dec 14, 2020
Dot Journaling and More with Rachel Miller EP 20

Rachel Miller is an author, journalist, and her pieces are always creative and fun. She has written her own guide to dot journaling -- filled with artistry and inspiration and fun ideas for using your own dot grid notebook as planner and self-care tool. She shares her current planning methods, tips on how to get started, and surprises me with the planner she is using now (I did NOT know this in advance of the interview, so listen to find out!). Listen especially if you are considering using a blank dotted notebook as your planner for 2021, or if you're interested in using some of the elements in your own system.

Dec 07, 2020
Rest EP: 19
It's the season of a lot of activity, even during pandemic times.  Rest often gets overlooked, but it deserves discussion, contemplation and most likely even a spot in our calendars.  In this short but sweet episode, Sarah discusses planned rest, unplanned rest, and the importance of giving ourselves a break sometimes.  Show notes are available as always at
Nov 30, 2020
Time Block Planning and Much More with Cal Newport EP: 18

Cal Newport is a computer science professor and writer about topics from technology to productivity to work culture, and he is also now the author of his newly released Time Block Planner!  Cal chats with Sarah -- a long time fan -- about his productivity systems, digital/paper hybrid planning, planning weekends and personal time, and of course his new paper planner.  Delve into the planner at and find more of Cal's work at  

As always, show notes available at

Nov 23, 2020
Technique Spotlight: Monthly Review EP: 17

Episode 2 focused on the components of current weekly review process; this episode does the same for the monthly review.

The Components:

1) Review Prior Month’s Goals and any Lists - celebrate successes & decide what to do with incomplete tasks

2) Budget reconciliation (we use You Need a Budget)

3) Review any upcoming big events with partner (if applicable)

4) Set Action/Task goals for the month -- I separate into realms of Work, Self, Family, and Blog/Pod.  Create page showing these clearly if you use a physical planner.

5) Identify any habits to focus on for the month - create trackers of some kind, if applicable

6) Look ahead 60 days and identify any childcare needs (less relevant in time of pandemic for us, but leaving it on here hoping that someday relevant again!)

7) Review Library Holds list and make sure some great titles will be on their way!


Nov 16, 2020
Planner Review: Wonderland 222 EP: 16
Still in planner selection mode for 2021?  The Wonderland 222 Planner and Notebook is worth a look, even if you think you've already figured out your perfect system!   As a die hard Hobonichi fan I did not think there'd be any question as to what I'll be using next year but . . . this one truly gives me pause, and this episode includes a full review with all of the details.  
As always, notes with images can be found at  Please note: I did receive this planner for review from the company but otherwise have no affiliate relationship and do not earn from listener purchases.
Nov 09, 2020
2 Reviews! MyWeek and Cultivate What Matters Powersheets Goal Planner EP 15
We're deep into planner-buying season, so today's ep is a double review feature!  The first product is the compact, versatile and lovely MyWeek -- created and manufactured in Canada by designer Cyrstal Reynolds.  MyWeek is a weekly planner with a lot of versatility and flexibility -- my favorite part is the organized to-do list section!  Cultivate What Matters is a very popular brand of planners focusing on goal-setting and intentionality.  The PowerSheets Goal Planner features gorgeous design, bright colors, and would be a lovely accompaniment for your weekly and monthly review sessions -- I picture it alongside a big pack of multicolored pens and a fall-scented candle.
As always, you can find pictures & more info the show notes at!  Please continue to spread the word and leave reviews - thanks to all!
Nov 02, 2020
Q&A - Planning Through Hectic Work Days, Pandemic Uncertainty and More EP: 14

It's another Q&A episode!  Today, Sarah addresses questions on planning through hectic work days when a lot of unpredictable tasks come up.  She also answers questions about planning uncertainty in this era of the pandemic, whether to keep or toss old planners, and where she keeps her planner sidekick.  She follows up with some brief planners news on new releases.

Oct 26, 2020
Planning with Inserts, Discs, Rings & More with Imani Michelle E13

Today's episode features a brief update on screen time goals and the planning methods supporting habit change.  Then comes our deep dive into the guest segment with Imani Michelle, an attorney in NYC with a passion for planning!  Imani plans primarily in ring bound systems, and she gets into the beauty and flexibility that comes with using inserts.  Her favorite brands include Cloth & Paper, Luxplans, and 8Lotus -- and she shares her very favorite products from each of these companies.  We also get into handwriting (because hers is GORGEOUS) and pens, because of course.  Finally, we discuss how self-care and planning intersect.  Find more of Imani's work at her blog ( or her instagram, @theimanimichelle!

Oct 19, 2020
Amplify Planner Review + Q&A EP: 12

In this review episode, Sarah starts with some listener-submitted tips, and then dives deep into the Amplify Planner and a custom Papier dot grid journal. In the Q&A, a listener writes in about whether having one or many planning tools is better (spoiler answer: it depends!).  As always, find more detailed show notes with pictures at!

Oct 12, 2020
Habits Deep Dive: Focus on Screen Time E11

Today's deep dive concept episode is all about tracking habits.  Sarah goes into various ways people track habits in their planning systems, as well as what has worked best for her which is a simple practice of daily habit tracking.  She shares her own foundation habits, and then provides a deeper exploration of the one she is currently working on -- screen & social media time.  Finally, there is a brief discussion of two new planners on the scene - the Amplify quarterly planner and a new rising star, Wonderland 222.

Oct 05, 2020
Q&A Episode Plus a Surprise Cameo EP: 10
It's another BLP Q&A Epsiode!  In this episode, Sarah answers questions about her accessory notebook, workout and meal planning, keeping track of big projects, and how to capture small details that link to calendar events.  Then comes a surprise cameo from a young Hobonichi fan . . .
Sep 28, 2020
Favorite planning-related podcasts, books, and a look into favorite fall planner releases! EP 9
This potpourri episode is filled with favorites related to planning!  Sarah goes into her most influential/inspirational planning-related books as well as her top 5 favorite planning podcasts.  Then, there is an overview of upcoming fall planner releases for 2021!  
Find Sarah on instagram @shubox_plans as well as!
Sep 21, 2020
Tatiana, Owner and Creator at The Stationery Muse! EP 8

Tatiana is an inspiring young entrepreneur with amazing design sense and a giving, open spirit.  She has a shop called The Stationery Muse that features beautiful stickers, planning products, and now she is launching her own planner product for entrepreneurs!   She shares how she grew her business, what it is like to design a planner, and shares her own planning favorites.  

Sep 14, 2020
Product Reviews: Live Rich Planner & Jibun Techo Biz EP 7

Welcome to the first official product review episode!  Today Sarah will be reviewing 2 very different products - the large and comprehensive ring-bound Live Rich Planner and the compact Japanese Jibun Techo Biz (B6).  Find out if either of these deserves consideration for your 2021 system!  As always, look for show notes with pictures on -- just click on the "Best Laid Plans" button and scroll down to the full show notes posts!

Sep 07, 2020
Planning Basics: Building Your System from the Ground Up! Ep 6

This episode was inspired by a listener who wanted to hear about ideas for getting started with planning from scratch.  While it is hard to be prescriptive about what any one person should use, there are definitely a number of fundamental things to think through as you create your planning and productivity toolkit:  calendaring, task and goals management, routines, and finally the aethestics of it all!  While there is no one-size-fits-all system, this episode provides you with the framework you need to decide how to get started.

Aug 31, 2020
Planning and Productivity Q&A EP 5

In this all Q&A episode, Sarah addresses questions from listeners submitted through her blog & Instagram!  Topics include: specific descriptions of planning rituals (with time estimates), how to make planning a habit, time blocking, how to stay in one planner for the year, how to keep daily pages neat when things change, coordinating planning with a partner.  Then, there's a deeper dive into capturing those to do items that come up at inopportune times, like when you are brushing your teeth!  You can submit future questions any time via Sarah's blog ( or through Instagram (@shubox_plans)!

Aug 24, 2020
Rocketbooks, Kanban, and More with Guest Planning Master Beth Cubbage EP: 4

You can find Beth at her blog
Show music courtesy of Rushmore Beekeepers with additional production by Greene Means Go

Aug 17, 2020
Overview of Current Systems -- Hobonichi & Beyond EP: 3
Aug 10, 2020
Technique Spotlight on The Weekly Review EP: 2

This episode takes a deep dive into one of Sarah's favorite planning techniques: the Weekly Review.  There are so many great ways to do a weekly review process, and one size definitely does not fit all!  Listen to discover the many elements you can mix and match to create a perfect jumping off point for each new week.  

Aug 03, 2020
Hello & A Planning Story . . . EP: 1

Hello and welcome to Best Laid Plans!  Today's episode gives you a little bit of background about me (your host, Sarah Hart-Unger) and tells the story of how I became so fascinated by planners and planning techniques over the years.  Take a trip down memory lane with me as I recount the glory of planners past and take a journey into my planning present & future!

Jul 28, 2020