Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood • Ann Arbor, MI 48105 • tel/fax (734)761-6498 •
Geraldine A. Markel, Ph.D. •
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
April 2009

Welcome to the Managing Your Mind Newsletter, where you can find information and strategies to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. Previous issues are archived in our Newsletter Archive. Sample checklists and diagrams are archived there under The Geri Checklists.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please add to your address book so you'll be sure to receive every issue. "Spam" filters may place future editions of this newsletter in your "junk" or "deleted" folder unless it is a recognized address.

You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Goofs and Glitches

A physician is in line for lunch at the hospital cafeteria. His cell phone rings, but just as he flips it open, someone in the crowded queue knocks into him. The phone flies into the air. He and the amazed counter clerk watch as the phone sails into a giant, steaming caldron of chili. She helpfully fishes it out with her large, slotted spoon, but unfortunately, chili is not healthy for electronic devices.

Funny or inconvenient, let's share our experiences. If you have one to share, send it to


Strategies for Success:

Every day, the news media drops a new bombshell, providing us with more to worry about--whether it's the demise of GM or the reduced services of your local paper (The Ann Arbor News, for example). The doom and gloom can be contagious; even if you're normally a cheerful person, you may find yourself feeding into the negativity and unable to put on a happy face. Fortunately, you do have the power to restore your feeling of well-being: research has demonstrated that talking to yourself in a positive way can help ward off the blues. If worries and anxiety about the changing economy are bringing down your mood and hampering your productivity, consider Tip #103 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: employ self-talk to stop intrusive thoughts. An effective way to do that is by telling yourself you need to focus on what you can do, not what you can't do at this time. If you have trouble coming up with positive statements to curtail the spiraling negatives, then you might need to summon up positives from other sources. Consider activities such as listening to good music, thinking about or talking to a very optimistic person (for example, "My friend Sam is a real survivor!") or refreshing your thoughts with a walk in a calm, peaceful, natural setting.


Upcoming Events

  • Free online broadcast on Friday, April 17, 2009: "Women with AD/HD at Mid Life and Beyond: How to Grow Wiser while Growing Older" by Sari Solden. For more information, click here
  • How much is distraction costing your business in missed opportunities, needless mistakes, late fees, or neglect of management chores or professional commitments? On Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Geri is inviting small business owners for a complimentary seminar: "Defeat the Demons of Distraction and Increase Productivity and Profits." This session will provide practical, research-based strategies to help you deal with procrastination, messy or incomplete record keeping, and neglect of marketing, networking or writing activities. Meet from 6-7:30 p.m. at the delightful Primo Coffee House Conference Room, 301 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104. Limited enrollment: to reserve your place, contact Geri at (734) 761-6498 or email
  • Geri will speak at the Ann Arbor Book Festival Writer's Conference, which takes place Friday, May 15, 2009, at the Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan Central Campus. Her presentation, "Actions against Distractions: How to Increase Writing Productivity and Decrease Stress," will provide strategies to help authors self-manage time and tasks, and deal with issues such as procrastination, perfectionism, writer's block, technology, interruptions, and unbridled creativity. Geri's session is from 11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m.; to register for this day-long conference, click here.
  • Save the date for the 10th Annual Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference: Friday, October 2, 2009 on the Orchard Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan. This gathering of experts from around the world will include a keynote address by Michael Ginsberg, MD, on his AD/HD success story. It will also feature Sari Solden on women's issues, and Denslow Brown on LGBT issues. More information TBA later this summer.


"It Worked for Me" - Sharon's Story

Time escapes students with ADD. They intend to do this or that, but the minutes (and then hours) evaporate and "oops!"--nothing gets accomplished. Whether it is writing a paper, completing assignments, or studying for a test, the students procrastinate until that last minute panic hits. Then, often in the haze of an adrenaline rush, they do what they can to complete the task before the deadline. However, as courses become more complex and the competition keener, this modus operandi becomes less and less effective--and the student becomes more and more frustrated and stressed.

Sharon is a perfect example: she entered college with a wonderful high school GPA of 3.9. In her first couple of years at the university, her average dwindled to a 2.75, with C's in her former strong points, science and math. It got even worse in her first semester of Engineering courses, when she earned a 1.3. Twice, she took a leave from the university in order to retrace her steps with coursework at a community college, to no avail. When she finally began to work with an academic coach, she realized that she had serious problems with distractibility, a slow reading rate, and poor reading comprehension. As her coach helped her tackle these issues, they hit on a particularly effective tool: a week-at-a-glance schedule that specified blocks each day for all necessary activities, including study times for specific courses, sensible mealtimes, and regular exercise sessions.

Sharon says, "Just having a schedule to follow for every 30 minute block keeps me on track. It makes me more aware of what I'm doing. Writing it down makes studying more real. I can't believe that I can get in 20 hours of studying most weeks!" To see an example of a college student's weekly study-and-life schedule, click here.


Student/Parent Corner

On March 10, 2009, over 60 students packed a conference room at the University of Michigan to participate in Geri's seminar, "The Graduate Student's Guide to Success: Effective Reading, Study, and Time Management Skills." Sponsored by the Rackham Graduate School, this session focused on the needs of graduate students in a wide range of fields, including engineering, mathematics, public health, and psychology. Geri addressed major concerns, such as how to deal with overwhelming reading assignments taken from scholarly works and academic journals; how to tackle complex writing assignments; and how to find study time when one is teaching courses as well as taking them.

If you know a college or graduate student who is struggling, suggest finding ways to improve their reading and study skills. People often assume that only high school students might need instruction in study skills; however, as students progress to more complex and competitive levels of scholarship, the need for advanced academic skills and self-management techniques becomes a critical aspect of their success. Here are some research-based strategies they can use:

  • Consider the setting in which they are working: they need to be in a quiet, non-distracting place. They should also institute an Electronic Lockdown when they have to read difficult material or complete complex, analytical assignments for courses such as statistics. That means no phone, no television, no iPod, and no non-essential computer use.
  • Consider the task at hand: many students need to look for the following when faced with a complex reading or writing assignment: what are the main idea questions that need to be answered, and what are some facts and examples to provide evidence for the answers they find?
  • Consider study style: students have to identify the times when they are most alert and ready to learn, and schedule study time to take advantage of their psychic energy.

No Demons of Distraction here- she's really focused!



  • Want to make sure that those New Year's resolutions turn from intention to action? Give the life-changing gift of professional coaching to yourself or to others: help your child or grandchild deal with the tyranny of standardized testing, or obtain the support you or your significant other need to achieve big dreams! It's easy to get off track when confronted by the enormous changes and challenges of 2009; even one or two sessions per month can ensure that you move forward despite winter and economic gloom. Geri is offering a New Year's Resolution Special Rate of 20% off coaching sessions booked before March, 2009. Simply mention this newsletter item when you contact her, tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • Finish-that-Book Coaching Package! Geri is offering on-site or telephone coaching with fees starting from $750 for a three month package. Contact twice per month with fax or email feedback.
    • Organizing material
    • Sequencing sections
    • Managing references
    • Integrating material within and between chapters
    • Scheduling writing
    • Monitoring progress
    • Revising
    • Editing Scheduling promotional activities
    • Book signings
    For more term and pricing information, contact her, tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • New book! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in the latest publication from Managing Your Mind: College Admissions: From Chaos to Control by John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. Decide on the right schools for you, find your unique voice to write a compelling application essay, and score your best on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and SAT. John, Debbie, and Geri help families fit together the pieces of the college admissions process. Available from the authors, email for more information at,, or $12.95, digital download $10.00.
  • Attention! The second edition of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress has now been published by iUniverse. New price, $15.95! Copies can be ordered from the publisher's website,, from, and from Books can be special-ordered at Borders and Barnes & Noble, and are on the shelf in Ann Arbor at Nicola's Books. Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction can be purchased in e-book format from iUniverse or as a download through
  • Recognize and reward progress! Are you a speaker, consultant, coach, or business owner? If you need memorable and useful gifts or incentives for your clients, consider the products below. The tips and strategies to help people accomplish more in the New Year are available in several handy formats: paperback, pocket-sized deck of cards, and 16-page concise booklet. Check out all of the "Defeating the Demons of Distraction" products.
Defeating the Demons of Distracton Book Defeating the Demons of Distration Cards Defeating the Demons of Distraction Brochure


Reading: A Positive Distraction

Do you belong to a book club? Are your members having trouble finding the time to finish their monthly selections? What about a meeting to discuss the Demons of Distraction? For book clubs of ten or more members, Geri would be happy to present a session featuring her book, Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress. Learn how to reduce distraction and increase time for reading and other meaningful life activities. Visit to read summaries and reviews of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress: click here.

Getting lost in a good book can be a wonderful distraction. Even fifteen minutes of reading time, curled up in your den or a cozy cafe, can really be rejuvenating. Here are some favorites that Geri and her staff enjoyed recently:

  • Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace by Masha Gessen. Like many of their generation, Gessen's grandparents did not regularly discuss the life stories that led them to emigrate from their homelands. As Gessen probed her family history, however, she discovered a fascinating tale of destiny, choice, compromise, and secrets. She frames the narrative around two young, Jewish women on separate journeys of survival: one from Poland, the other from Russia. As their paths gradually intersect, their lives are filled with very complicated relationships.
  • Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 by Simon Winchester. Winchester's unusual style examines an awe-inspiring scientific phenomenon and then fleshes it out within a historical, political, and sociological context. His parallels between 19th century cultural tensions and those of today have implications well beyond the volcano's Indonesian location: Winchester relates this geological event to everything from Islamic fundamentalism to scientific arguments over the nature of global warming.

Have you read something lately that really recharged your batteries? Share it with


Enjoy April's balmy days and the promise of spring!

Feel free to forward this newsletter to someone else who might be interested.