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Home of Dr. Christine B. Whelan

MacFreedom: A Must-Have for Every Writer

A new writer friend, Siobhan Vivian, just introduced me to the coolest program ever: MacFreedom. It’s a free download (but they suggest a $10 donation) and when you run it, it shuts down your internet access for whatever period of time you set — up to 8 hours. During that time, the program appears to be unresponsive… you can’t undo it without shutting down the whole computer.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been haunting coffee shops where there’s no free wireless (like Starbucks–it’s only a few $$, but it’s the principle of it that keeps me offline) but overhearing girls dishing about relationship sagas, or groups of yoga types fresh off a “really zen session” always had me irritated and distracted.

With MacFreedom, I just got a book review written in the peace and quiet of my office, in two hours–the time I set MacFreedom to keep me offline. I left blanks where I needed to do web searches to fill in information, and, like a drug addict unable to get her next hit, I opened my browser occasionally, “just to see if I could get back online yet” … but after 2 hours, MacFreedom congratulated me on my efforts.

When I write a self-help book on achieving self-control, there’s going to be a whole section on the brilliance of this little piece of software…

Just in case you don’t believe me, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many others have sung its praises as well.

Now get offline and get to work!

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January 28, 2010 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are You A Little Bit Married?

Via my friend Ian Shapira, I e-met author and journalist Hannah Selgison as her excellent new book, A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door, came out last week. This is an useful and informative book for SWANS® (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) who are sailing in circles in long-term relationships that don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Check out my HuffingtonPost blog about the book and my three top bits of advice for women who are “a little bit married” and struggling with what to do next.

For smart, successful women, you’re odds of marriage are great. (Want to know how great? Use my Odds-of-Marriage Indicator based on Census data to find out. And just out today, a report on marriage and divorce rates for college-educated women.) For more good news for SWANS–and advice on how to achieve your personal and professional goals–check out Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love and A Little Bit Married today!

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thank Your Wives, You Lucky Bastards!

Yesterday, the good folks at Pew put out a report about the “new economics” of marriage: Women are more likely than ever to earn more and have more education than their spouses.

The New York Times went into a tizzy about how this is terrible news for smart, successful women. But why does this have to be bad news? (I liked this posting complaining about the piece, too)

Maybe it’s time men started to really appreciate what we’re bringing to the table! Check out my analysis of the Pew report on the Huffington Post today.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2010: The Year of The Happiness Project

2009 was a bit rough for me. Indeed, I heard that from a lot of people.

So Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Happiness Project was a welcome addition to my before-bed reading because, well, it makes me happy and gave me new energy to start 2010 off on an upbeat note.

Top pointers from the book include:

Your family is only as happy as it’s least happy member. If that’s you, start a Happiness Project of your own and raise the happy in your household considerably.

• As a kid, and even through our 20s, we had clear opportunities for “gold stars” — getting good grades, graduations, awards, new jobs, marriage, big birthday celebrations etc. But in your 30s, those gold stars seem fewer and farther between. You do your job, you do your errands, you raise your kids, you try to make time for fun with your significant other… but as you put in so much effort, you feel unappreciated. Where’s your gold star? Rubin advises all of us to make a list, do your stuff and then give yourself a gold star. That’s what being a grown-up is about.

Be Yourself. I know, it’s clichéd, but Rubin’s description of how she decided to “Be Gretchen” inspired me to be clear about who I am. She writes that learning to be herself means “accepting my true likes and dislikes… I have to face the fact that I will never visit a jazz club at midnight, or hang out in artists’ studios, or jet off to Paris for the weekend, or pack up to go fly-fishing on a spring dawn. I won’t be admired for my chic wardrobe or be appointed to a high government office. I love fortune cookies and refuse to try foie gras.” What does it mean to be you?

The Happiness Project isn’t quite a self-help book — it’s more of a memoir of a year of research into self-help — but even without quizzes and action lists, it does the job of any good personal improvement book: It inspires. Check it out and make 2010 your year for a Happiness Project of your own.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Self-Help | , , , , , | 1 Comment