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
August/September 2008

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.

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You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Goofs and Glitches

Business travel is challenging enough, but traveling with young children increases adults' vulnerability to distraction even more. Naomi, the mother of a toddler, sent the following summer vacation report:

"We just got back from Scandinavia, where my husband had a conference. The return flight left at 6:30 a.m. so we had to get up at 3:30 a.m. in order to get ourselves ready, get the little guy ready, and allow for transportation to the airport. The airport was surprisingly small, so we had to walk out to the airplane on the tarmac. Just our luck: as we did so, it started raining really hard. We needed to leave our stroller on the tarmac for loading into the plane; it doesn't latch properly in the closed position, so it needed to be secured with a bungee cord. In addition to the stroller, we had several carry on bags. My husband put his computer bag (containing all our passports and boarding passes for our connecting flights, etc.) on the ground in order to secure the stroller. He carried our little guy up the steps and handed him off to me, along with a couple of the carry-ons. He came back a little while later, sat down and buckled up. Fortunately, something seemed amiss to me, so I asked where the computer bag was. You probably see where this is going now. He had left it lying on the tarmac, but fortunately it was still there and we were able to carry on with our journey. It really scared me, however. After that, he didn't laugh when I stopped to count the number of carry-ons. Next time, I should probably follow the advice of professional organizers and carry less stuff!"

As any parent or grandparent knows, the baggage that accompanies a child can include stress and sleep deprivation in addition to diaper bags, binkies, and blankies. The motto, "Make a list and check it twice," was never as important as when traveling with kids!

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


"It Worked for Me" - Ed's Story

Ed's Story: "I perform home repairs for a living, so I have to be ready for anything when I show up on a job. I can go from wriggling through crawlspaces to climbing around on the roof. I've learned to keep the items and tools on me that increase my efficiency most, so I don't have to run back and forth to my truck all the time. I also have to promote my own business whenever possible, so I carry my business cards on me wherever I go. I bought a small card case on a chain that attaches to my belt loop. When a client wants to recommend me to their friends, or a neighbor sees me in the middle of a job and realizes that he or she could also use my services, I can hand them my contact information immediately. Clients appreciate my professionalism, and I don't have to worry about losing stacks of custom printed business cards while on the job."

As Geri always says, "You can't lose it if it's attached to you!" Many daily items can now be secured to you with lanyards and carabiner clips, including keys, cellphones, and small change purses or wallets for ID and credit cards. If you've been misplacing things you need frequently, browse the online catalogues of some travel and outdoor equipment stores for ideas on how to keep your essentials close at hand.

Always keep essential items close!


Strategies for Success:

Are you part of the "Sandwich Generation," attending to your career, raising your children, and also caring for your elderly parents or other relatives? The constant distractions of your competing roles can induce feelings of stress, anxiety, guilt, and isolation. Even if you are unaccustomed to asking for help, this may be a time to seek out advice and support from professionals who understand the challenges of caretaking. Consider this tip from Geri's book, Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress: when it comes to caretaking, assertiveness means defining how you will fulfill your primary roles and setting your limits. What is reasonable? If you face this dilemma, consider meeting with a geriatric social worker, family therapist, and/or family physician to help define "reasonableness" in your situation. Once you've determined your boundaries, stick with them!


Student/Parent Corner

Many parents and educators have long been frustrated by the typical "one size fits all" school curriculum, as well as by society's narrow definition of academic success. As Howard Gardiner and others have discussed, every student has a unique profile of multiple intelligences which can be tapped into to maximize learning potential. However, most schools are set up to emphasize the types of learning that can be scored on standardized tests, for example, the memorization of facts and the manipulation of mathematical data. What if your child approaches this type of learning in a radically different way? What if his or her greatest strengths lie in areas that are not traditionally rewarded along the academic path? Creativity expert Sir Kenneth Robinson has spent many years weighing in on the importance of retooling our education system to recognize and nurture all types of intelligence, talent, and creativity. To hear his thoughts, visit this link to his speech at the 2006 Technology, Entertainment, and Design Conference, an annual gathering of the great idea generators of our time.

Do you worry that school is killing your child's creativity? Parents may need to advocate for curriculum changes or individualized learning plans to bring out the best in their child. If working within the school culture does not yield results, parents still have the power to ensure that their child has free time for relaxation and creativity within the family schedule. During summer vacations and out-of-school hours, parents need to consider including music, dance, art, or other creative outlets that help their children express themselves and exercise their strengths. This can be done through community resources and specialty camp programs. Parents can also support their children by broadening their view of what constitutes success: Sir Ken Robinson provides the example of a child who was seen as disruptive and learning disabled in her school. Once enrolled in a dance training academy, she flourished and turned out to be a brilliant dancer and choreographer with a long, lucrative career. As the author Malcolm Gladwell wrote in an article about talent, "It never occurred to them that, if everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing."


Work/Life Corner

This month, Geri salutes one of the many Women Business Owners who manage work/life balance issues on a daily basis: her colleague and co-author Linda Bizer, Ed.D., President, MAKING IT WORK. Dr. Bizer is an educator, trainer and author. She has more than 25 years of experience in designing, conducting and evaluating training in business and professional settings. Dr. Bizer designed and implemented a model training program that was adopted by the Mental Health Department of Massachusetts.

As an independent consultant, she helps parents, employees, supervisors and managers improve their performance and productivity through training and educational opportunities. She consults with and provides ongoing seminars and workshops to more than 40 major corporations and institutions. Her company, MAKING IT WORK, goes on-site and speaks directly to employees about eldercare, communication, sexual harassment, performance, child development, parenting, life-cycle planning and wellness.

Dr. Bizer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. She has conducted extensive research in the area of single parenting and discussed topics related to work-life issues on radio and television. She is listed in Who's Who in Child Development and has been featured in Crain's New York, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Parenting Magazine, The American Management Association Publications and The Gannett Suburban Newspapers.

In Dr. Bizer's words, "My company's name grew out of my belief that people can successfully learn to juggle their personal and professional lives. Giving employees the opportunity and tools to accomplish this goal provides a lasting benefit to both employer and employee."

Dr. Linda Bizer


Featured Resources

Geri's new downtown home away from home is the Primo Coffee House, which features the friendliest faces and best coffee in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Located near the University of Michigan campus, Sam and Michael serve up homemade sandwiches, Zingerman's baked goods, Washtenaw Dairy products, and homemade cookies from Patricia's. They also offer the opportunity to reserve a designated room for enjoyable and productive meetings. Primo has anchored the corner of E. Liberty and Fifth for nearly two years; their sister location in Ypsilanti has been in operation for over four years. Visit them at 310 E. Liberty St., Suite 110, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104. Tel. (734) 929-0040; or 1816 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti, MI, 48197. Tel. (734) 482-5889. On the web, check out or email Primo,



  • Take the opportunity to be informed and inspired by one of Ann Arbor's own! Daniel Heumann, a nationally requested motivational speaker and Leadership Board Member of The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, will present "My Journey with AD/HD and Spinal Cord Injury" in recognition of the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) Fifth Annual National AD/HD Awareness Day. The University of Michigan Services for Students with Disabilities and several other campus entities are sponsoring this presentation at the Michigan Union on Wed., September 17, 2008 at 12 pm in the Pendleton Room. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

    Daniel Heumann was diagnosed with AD/HD at age six, and then became paralyzed in an automobile accident weeks before he was to enter his freshman year at Syracuse University. His uplifting, multi-media presentation will highlight the ways in which he has met these and other life challenges, eventually completing a law degree, helping to raise over 5 million dollars for Spinal Cord Research, and creating (with his wife, Lynn) Heumannly Capable, a motivational speaking company. Daniel, Lynn, and their young daughter now live in Ann Arbor, where Daniel advocates for a better life for all Michigan citizens and plays competitive wheelchair tennis. To learn more about Daniel and his work, visit
    Daniel Heumann
  • In the May 19, 2008 edition of Chicago Agent Magazine, a publication for real estate professionals, Geri and Coldwell Banker Broker Associate Roz Zweig co-authored the article "Improving Your Business: Mental Management Techniques of Top Producers."
  • Geri was recently interviewed by Jim Allen, the Big Idea Coach, The interview will be available at
  • It was standing room only at the University of Michigan back on September 19, 2007, when Geri presented "Defeating the Demons of Distraction" in recognition of National AD/HD Awareness Day! This program is now available to everyone in either audio or video form. In it, Geri describes distraction as a primary characteristic of adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. She discusses the 8 common demons and strategies to increase task completion, speed, and accuracy. Available as CD or DVD for $12.95 (+S/H) (or as a MP3 download for $10.00) from the Managing Your Mind website.
  • 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
  • Got a busy summer planned? Trying to achieve a better work/life balance? The tips and strategies to help you stay on track 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


Upcoming Conferences

  • Geri is invited to participate in the American Psychological Association 116th Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, August 14-17, 2008. Her paper and presentation will discuss "How to Ensure Mentoring Miracles and Academic Success: Solving the Puzzle of Underserved, AD/HD, and Learning Disabled Students."
  • Geri will once again be presenting at Southeastern Michigan's esteemed gathering of AD/HD experts, the Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference, held at Oakland Community College, Farmington Hills, MI on Friday, September 26, 2008. Her topic will be "Tales of Triumph from the AD/HD Trenches: Adolescents Through Adulthood." For more information about this event, visit


Reading: A Positive Distraction

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

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


Fire up the grill, it's almost Labor Day!

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