Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood Ann Arbor, MI 48105 tel/fax (734)761-6498
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
August 2007

Welcome to the August, 2007 edition of the Managing Your Mind Newsletter. The goal of this communication is to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Around the middle of each month, you will receive this practical newsletter providing tips, stories, resources, and announcements. 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.

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You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Goofs and Glitches

Here are examples of otherwise competent, bright, and experienced travelers who are losing it in the frenzy of today's travel.

  • Thomas, the head of a national professional organization, has endured a grueling business flight and fought his way through the crowded terminal to the Avis rental counter. After waiting in line for over half an hour, he explodes in anger when the agent can’t find his car reservation. Digging through his briefcase, he finally locates his original computer printout and slaps the paper onto the desk in front of the agent. He is dumbfounded when she points out that his reservation is for Alamo, not Avis.
  • Another executive, Catherine, reports showing up at Comfort Inn and going through the same process when her actual reservation was at Red Roof Inn. And yes, she did have a Palm Pilot—but having stayed at Comfort Inn on a previous trip, she didn’t bother checking it!
  • It was nearly an international incident for Scott, who didn’t read the itinerary his secretary gave him: he showed up at the Holiday Inn of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; however, his bed was waiting for him at the Holiday Inn of Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, across the locks!

With or without a PDA, everyone needs to get back to the basics of recording information like company name, street address, telephone number, email address, and confirmation number; storing the information in an accessible place; and referring back to it at the appropriate time.

Let's laugh together about our experiences. If you have one to share, send it to


"It Worked For Me" - Geri's Story

Once again, Geri has personal experience with the kind of travel issues mentioned above. She says, “I have a tendency to engage in friendly chatter while I’m doing important things like exchanging domestic currency for foreign currency, making purchases in duty free stores, and showing documentation to airline gate attendants. I’m amazed at how much slippage can occur in the few moments between receiving a boarding pass and entering a plane! Here is the rule I’ve forced myself to live by: whatever I need must be attached to me. To that end, my eyeglasses are on a chain around my neck, and so is a document pouch containing my passport, boarding pass, a pen, and a pad of sticky notes. I also wear a fanny pack containing credit cards, a small amount of cash, my itinerary, a photocopy of my passport, Tums, and tissues. I keep large bills in a money holder that can be pinned inside my clothes. To those who might chuckle at my system, I can tell you that on a recent trip, I maintained both my important papers and my sanity while my partner misplaced his passport three times!”

If you've used a tip from a Managing Your Mind book or seminar or you've come up with one of your own, please share with me by calling (734) 761-6498 or emailing


Strategies for Success:

Although summer is supposed to be relaxing, many people end up experiencing just as much stress as during the academic year—or even more. Remember that exercise is a great antidote to stress. Commit to a regular exercise program now: establishing a fitness routine while the weather is pleasant may give you the motivation to stick with it even after the temperature—and your enthusiasm—cools. Try tip #69 from Geri’s booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress. Walk at least 20-30 minutes 3-5 times a week. It’s always useful to establish this routine with a friend or family member since this tends to ensure that you follow through on your good intentions.


Student Corner

For high school students, August is the perfect time to devote 1-3 hours per week to the college application process. It’s a good idea to set up a filing system to keep track of the various components required in each application. Some components will be common to all schools, while others will vary. The process will go much faster if the student writes a few core paragraphs about commonly requested topics such as volunteer, employment, or travel experiences. These paragraphs may then be adapted according to the requirements or emphasis of each institution. Now is also the time to think about visiting college campuses, and to set up a family schedule to maximize the time spent on visits. If you plan to visit several colleges, it is helpful to prepare an evaluation sheet that can be completed during and after each visit. Your evaluation can include anything that is important to you: campus atmosphere, availability of financial aid, specialty programs, social organizations, athletic opportunities, etc. You can file these notes along with brochures and other information about each institution. Too many students return home from whirlwind tours of multiple colleges only to wrack their brains as to, “Which campus had which features?” Having this information recorded will help you compare your options and make your final decisions. To download a sample of one family’s campus overview, click here.


Parent Corner:

While all children benefit from various kinds of summer activities, it is especially important for students with learning disabilities to maintain current skills or get a jump start on new ones. Summer is also a time when older children can explore and build on strengths that may not be tapped during the school year. Giving pre-teens and adolescents with disabilities the opportunity to help and lead others can enhance their social skills and foster self-esteem. The May/June 2007 edition of LDA Newsbriefs, a publication of The Learning Disabilities Association of America, has several suggestions for summer activities that can have a positive effect on your child:

  • “Summer is a great time for older students to do volunteer work. Volunteer opportunities for teens are often listed in the newspaper.” Contact the Red Cross, local hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, and summer camps about their youth volunteer programs. Students may want to document their experiences or log their hours with a supervisor for future recognition at their school, or for college applications and resumes.
  • Get your older child involved in the process of planning a family vacation. Set a destination that relates to one of their interests, for example, the site of a favorite story or historical event. Have the student research the destination and become the “expert” who provides information and suggests activities. Other skill-building aspects include calculating mileage/time and using maps.

LDA Newsbriefs recommends making sure that you provide information about your child’s special needs to the supervisors and staff who will be working with him or her, such as how your child best processes information or follows directions. They also remind parents that the volunteering/learning sessions should not be too lengthy and that, “… [t]here should be plenty of time set aside for the child to have fun as well.” For more information about learning disabilities, contact LDA at


Coach's Corner

For coaches, tutors, and teachers: August is the time when you begin looking at activities and obligations for the fall. It is also the time to be pro-active and schedule programs or methods that will enhance skill development and professional competence. Make it a priority to carve out some amount of time, even if it is only an hour a week, for upgrading your skills. For example, there are many weekly online teleseminars, and periodic workshops offered by schools and libraries. You might also consider joining a professional organization or a small group of colleagues interested in pursuing a special business topic, such as marketing.


Featured Resources

Have you ever stuck a roast in the oven or slapped a steak on the grill only to have the phone ring, or a child call out for help? Has “just one more load of laundry before I check the oven” resulted in charred chicken or blackened beef? The Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue advertises The Talking Food Thermometer with Remote Handset. This thermometer wirelessly transmits exact temperature readings and audible alerts from the probe to an untethered handset (on a stand or a belt clip) from up to 330’ away. The handset has eight programs and four levels doneness to accommodate many types of meat. It will even let you know when you’ve carried the handset out of range. Check it out at



You will be able to purchase Geri’s NEW BOOK: Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress in September, 2007! Look for it at Ann Arbor bookstores such as Nicola’s Books in the Westgate Mall. Geri will have copies on hand during her presentations at both the Ann Arbor District Library and The University of Michigan (see below). This book is designed to arm workforce employees, independent professionals and family managers with simple yet powerful strategies to stop distraction from interfering with effective performance. Practical, step by step techniques help you rid your life of formidable enemies such as The Technology Demon, The Others Demon, The Activities Demon, The Unruly Mind Demon, and four others.

About the workbook for Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction:
A workbook to supplement the text is in preparation. Do you have a story or concern that you want addressed? Send me your survival tip, a question, or answer to any of the following questions: What are your worst Demons of Distraction? Under what conditions do these Demons attack you? How do you deal with them? What advice do you have for others? Contact

New product! Mem-Cards for Defeating the Demons of Distraction. This pack of 28 fast-reading, pocket-sized cards provides a personal coaching tool that can be used by individuals or in corporate training. Each deck contains the key ideas and important insights from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways to Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress. In just minutes a day, you'll get everything you need to know to improve your life. Available at $9.95 each. For more information or to buy for your own use or as a gift, click here.

Defeating the Demons of Distraction Mem-Cards


Upcoming Events:

High school students and their parents should plan to attend College Night at the Ann Arbor District Library on Monday, September 17, 2007. The AADL is sponsoring an evening of expert advice on Applying to College: Finding and Paying for the College that Fits, Those Pesky Essays, and Those Pesky Tests (SAT and ACT). Geri will participate, along with John B. Boshoven, Counselor for Continuing Education at Community High School and private college counselor, and Debbie Eisenberg Merion, founder of Essay Coaching and a former college English instructor. Free, 6:30-8:30 pm, Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave.

Save the noon spot on Wednesday, September 19, 2007, which is the Fourth Annual National AD/HD Awareness Day. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) promotes this important event, which seeks to inform the general public about hidden disabilities like ADD, ADHD, and related learning disabilities. In recognition of this cause, Geri will present a seminar entitled, "Defeating the Demons of Distraction." This presentation is sponsored by The University of Michigan Ann Arbor Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and several other student support services. It is free and open to the public. Campus location: Pond Rooms, Michigan Union. If you or a group with whom you are involved is interested in a presentation to promote National AD/HD Awareness Day, contact Geri.


Upcoming Conferences

Conferences are a great opportunity to meet and get to know experts in the field who can answer your questions and address your issues. If you're interested in AD/HD, consider attending two conferences that will be held in the fall. Both conferences are small and offer opportunities for interaction with local and national experts.

  • Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference at Oakland Community College, Farmington Hills, MI, October 5, 2007. For more information, go to
    • At this conference, Geri will present the seminar, "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Increasing Productivity and Decreasing Stress."
  • 5th Annual ADHD & Learning Disabilities Conference at The Great Wolf Lodge & Indoor Water Park, Traverse City, MI, October 13, 2007. For more information, click here or contact Terry Dickson, M.D. at
    • At this conference, Geri will present the seminar, "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: An Arsenal of Tools & Strategies for Adults and Older Adolescents with AD/HD."


Enjoy your summer!

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