I will never recommend something I’ve not used.
I’ll give a brief description, the pros and cons of each thing, or a quick review.
On this page, you’ll find books, apps, websites, products, and other things that have helped with my mental health, cutting down that chaos in my life, and increasing my organization game.
For the full list of books, courses, resources, and templates, please visit the Inspired Forward Shop. This page is just my favorites.
There, you can also find links to products from my Etsy shop, ThingsColleenCreates. If you like cats, that's a good place to get things with my cat's face on them.
I love books, and I especially enjoy reading books that have principles and actions I can apply to my own life. While building this blog, I’ve read a bunch of books that I think everyone should read. Over time, those books expanded into topics like business, leadership, psychological safety, happiness, public speaking, and more.
Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud
My therapist recommended this book. I went from feeling anxious and stressed out all the time about my boundary problems to having set clear lines that people could not cross without triggering a consequence. People will test your boundaries. This book is definitely a must-read for those of you who are wondering how to say “no” and take back control of your lives.
Deep Work, by Cal Newport
In this book, Cal Newport shows the reader the cost of not being able to perform deep work, what we should do to reach it, and reminds us that it is difficult, but the rewards are very high. It’s becoming a rarity in today’s distraction-central world and is a highly valuable tool for producing exceptional work. For me, all my creative work comes out of deep work sessions.
The Happiness Equation, by Neil Pasricha
This book touches on all aspects of life, all the way from your relationship with yourself to the choices you make about pretty much everything. I found it to be a good compass for what I need to focus on in order to be happy. As it says on the cover:
Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything.
Do It Scared, by Ruth Soukup
A book about facing your fears and creating the life you love—and it takes discipline to do that! Learn about your fear archetype and what's holding you back from changing your life. When you understand how fear shows up in your life and how to manage your fear archetype, you can make yourself unstoppable.
Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Learn about the difference between growth mindset and fixed mindset. Are you willing to experience failure for future success? Do you believe you can learn anything? How you view the world determines how you'll show up and what you'll get out of life. This book shows you how to change that view to one that serves you instead of holding you back.
In my work and personal lives, I refer to myself as an organizational nerd. In fact, my the Running Start office at my community college (program for juniors & seniors to take college classes during high school) called me their poster child for organization. Everything has its place, and the more organized my life, digital, and physical spaces are, the better I feel and the more productive I am. That might be the same for you! These are a few tools and platforms I use that have really upped my organizational game.
I run my life out of Google Calendar. In previous versions of this resource page, I provided recommendations for physical paper planners, like bullet journaling, the Living Well Planner, and Erin Condren's Life Planners. But, after much experimentation and time, I've found that I just don't work well with a paper system. I use every inch of my calendar space in Google Calendar, especially now that it supports 15-minute time blocks.
This is a database tool. I use it to track all my blog metadata, such as post titles, word count, links, categories, and publication status. They have a bunch of different templates to work from or you can build your own “base” from scratch. I also use Airtable to track the books I've read over the years, my Impossible List, Podcast episode information, online courses, and book characters. I also track my points & miles credit cards in Airtable—and even created a template for others to make their own base!
Notion is where I write blog posts, emails, speeches, manage my Facebook Group, track Self Coaching progress, take meeting notes... It's a one-stop-shop for note taking. It's only downside so far is that it doesn't have an offline mode. The Notion team releases updates all the time. The best part is that the free personal membership supports unlimited blocks. That means there is literally no limit to how much you put into your workspace. This is a HUGE bonus in Notion's favor.
For organizing your finances and keeping track of where your money goes, consider YNAB. The acronym stands for “You Need A Budget” and is basically the envelope budgeting method online. You categorize all your purchases and give every dollar a job. They have mobile apps for Android and iOS. While not as robust as the desktop (web-based) client, the mobile app makes it easy to enter purchases on the go. Find out more in this Deep Dive into Budgeting with YNAB.
I follow a low-carb diet, sometimes known as “keto.” Keto is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. On it, I’ve lost 60+ pounds and stabilized my blood sugars (I’m a type 1 diabetic). These are a few products and resources I’ve used to keep me on track. Please note that much of weight loss depends on dealing with emotional eating. I was and still am an emotional eater. I just didn't realize it until I joined Self Coaching Scholars and started working through the Stop Overeating work.
This is a true meal-replacement shake. It’s designed to be one-third of your daily caloric and nutrient needs. The creator, Chris Bair, has stated that it’s a nutritionally complete product, which means you could have nothing but Keto Chow and be perfectly healthy. To prove this, Bair has completed several six-week and 100-day challenges where he consumes nothing but Keto Chow and had the blood work to prove his maintained health.
It definitely has the potential to be outside of many peoples’ price range. When factored at per-drink cost, it’s around $3.50 depending on the fat source one uses when mixing it. I use heavy whipping cream, which is relatively inexpensive.
It’s made keto easy for me, and it’s also the best tasting shake I’ve ever had.