There are certain products and books/resources that I use in my own practice as a professional as well as those that I also use for my own self-care.

Some are to help busy people stay organized (and, thus, less overwhelmed), some are to help track moods (finding daily/hourly patterns) and mindfulness (increasing gratitude), and some are general reading lists (from self-help to inspiring books). That all said, I need to provide the following disclaimer:

DISCLAIMER: This portion of my website contains affiliate links. While I may receive compensation, all words and opinions are my own. I never accept compensation from or promote a brand or product that I do not 100% support and believe in.

Happy browsing!!

Mary Beth

The first group of recommendations I have are related to planning, journaling, budgeting & scheduling in order to maintain motivation and ultimately become less overwhelmed. Many of my friends, family, colleagues, and clients have asked about the products I use to balance my own life. Those who got similar products have reported similar results as I have had:

More time, more fun, more motivation, and at least a little less stress!!

Planning, Budgeting, Journaling, & Gratitude 

LIFEPLANNER

This planner is my go-to sanity-saver.  Friends, family, colleagues, and clients frequently ask me about this planner when they see it because it is not only eye-catching, but noticeably high quality and durable.  While I use the coil-bound version of this, I know several people who prefer the binder as it can be refilled and frequently added to.  Both options are fully-customizable to your needs and preferences.

This planner not only allows enough space (and time slots if you choose the “hourly” style) for me to plan my variable hours, but also enough flexibility for me to add some flare and creativity.  This might seem odd to some, however, when I plan, it is now more of a creative process than “making and checking off to-do lists”.  I look forward to seeing what the days to come will bring as opposed to dreading how hectic my schedule can sometimes be.

I recommend “enjoyable and leisurely” planning to all who struggle with a busy and chaotic lifestyle as it truly improves productivity and decreases stress.  

DASHBOARDS

If you end up ordering the Coil Bound LifePlanner, there are so many dashboards to snap in. 

I personally use and recommend the meal plan dashboard and the budget dashboard.  They are both wet-erase and Erin Condren offers many varieties of wet-erase markers. You could also purchase your favorite brand of wet-erase markers from your local office supply stores. 
 
The meal plan dashboard is great for those who have made a goal to stick to a budget (dine out less or drive through less), prepare healthier foods (i.e. decreasing the grease from drive-thru window meals), and lose weight (so your meals might look different than your kids’ meals). On the back of the dashboard is a space for shopping lists. By using this dashboard, I have decreased my “I forgot something” trips to the store and increased my ability to plan meals and stick to the plan. My kids love looking at the next night’s meal and I have found so much relief in not hearing “what’s for dinner?!” every single time I pick them up from school. 
 
The budget dashboard is simple and truly is a great reminder of which bills are due vs. which you have paid. Since we tend to pay the same bills over and over again, it is human nature to forget because “I thought I just paid that!!!” With this, when you pay you check it off… month by month.  On the bottom there is a Quarterly Tracker (hallujuah fellow business owners!!!!) and on the back is a savings tracker.  One thing that I do is add my savings payments on the monthly portion on the front and I use the back to write down the “non-monthly” bills and the times that I have unexpected bills. So a medical bill or a car repair. I also quickly jot down what I spend at random places so that I can put it in my ledger when I have time. 
GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Daily gratitude logging helps with mindfulness and contentment in a busy, worried, depressed, or overwhelmed person’s day. This is not to say that gratitude journaling will eliminate these difficult emotions.  However, there is research that is linked to a decrease in intensity, frequency, and duration of these emotions.  

In my years of being a therapist, I have recommended daily gratitude logs countless times.  Here’s what my clients were frequently faced with, though: when they were experiencing difficult times or unpleasant emotions, it was so hard to think of things to be thankful for… 

This journal takes away the need to wrack your brain.  It gives clear and concise prompts.

I tend to recommend this type of journaling frequently to those in high-stress/high-trauma jobs or to those who have high-stress home-lives.  Think: teachers, emergency personnel, physicians and other medical staff, counselors… also think: parents of high-need kids, those who are experiencing trauma/grief, and those who have mental health symptoms.

SELF CARE JOURNAL

Similar to the Gratitude Journal, the Self Care Journal gives you clear and concise prompts to log your mood, goals, coping mechanisms, etc… in real time when you’re struggling, having a good day, and everywhere in between. 

This goes in-depth more than the stereotypical feelings scales. It aligns a lot with therapeutic discussions and sessions, and best yet: it helps people track progress and identify patterns of what helps and hurts the healing process. All without being cumbersome or overwhelming. 
 
Its petite size allows for it to be carried in a work bag, school bag, or purse… it is not too thick to put in a folder (think: your teen who might need to use it during the school day) but it isn’t so small that you have to modify your writing style. 
 
This is a new product as of Summer 2019 and I bought it to review almost immediately. I, so far, absolutely love it. 
DAILY CUSTOMIZABLE AGENDA & GRATITUDE STICKERS

The Daily Customizable Agenda is something that is easy to carry around and can actually serve the purpose of decluttering the to-do list areas in your regular planner. Since I wear many hats, I use this to prioritize what needs to be done each day. There are some days that don’t need filled and so the benefit of the customizable one is that you simply fill in the days you need to fill in and leave the rest out. You can view two days at a time. 

This is awesome for those who truly don’t have enough room in your regular planner to list things out. For example: I see clients hour by hour. If I have a full day, I don’t always want to clutter the rest of the space with “do this, that, and this…”. But I can write “see day plan” and prompt myself to look at it. 
 
This is also good for those that don’t have jam packed schedules so don’t have a need for an entire year’s planner. Think: part-time employees, college students, etc… 
 
This planner is also where I add my gratitude stickers during busy weeks. For those who don’t want to do daily gratitude in a separate journal but would still like to practice gratitude, these stickers help motivate you to do that by giving you a designated spot to write with a pop of color that will draw your eye to what you’ve written. In the planner you have. Plus, they are appealing to see. I’ve used these stickers (and other functional Erin Condren stickers) on lunch box notes to the kids… prompting them to be mindful of joy during their school days!