Managing Your Mind

Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. • 304 1/2 South State Street • Ann Arbor, MI 48104 • tel/fax: (734)761-6498 • Mobile: (734) 657-7880


Geri Markel

Managing Your Mind Newsletter

July/August 2012


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:



Office Space!

Geri loves her office space at 304 1/2 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. (Enter next to Ben & Jerry's and take the stairs to the second floor, near Dascola Barber.) This location allows her to meet clients on campus and conduct "Managing Your Academic Mind" seminars. Call (734) 761-6498) or email if you are interested in small group services.

NEW "APP" Look at the App Store for Geri's studytipaday. Here's a neat way for high school and college students to find quick tips to improve memory, test taking, reading and other study skills.

For students and the families who care about them, Geri also offers the Study Tip a Day blog for helpful hints from her new guide, "A Study Tip a Day Gets You an 'A': 365 Secrets of Study Success." It's full of great advice on keeping up with your assignments and improving your test scores!



Geri's "Demons of Distraction" blog is up and running! The blog focuses on Barriers to Productivity, particularly those that affect career and work/life balance. Recent topics include travel safety, tackling distracting clutter, and positive distractions. To access a steady supply of helpful tips and reminders, follow Geri on Twitter, "Like" the "Defeating the 8 Demons" Facebook page and bookmark the blog.

For interesting information about college admissions, check out the blog at Geri, John Boshoven and Debbie Merion all provide tips on navigating the maze of the college admissions process.

Here in the newsletter, MYM will continue to provide announcements as well as information and tips on memory, time management, and organization. The Managing Your Academic Mind section is for students of all ages, and their families. There, you'll find resources on education, study skills and academic time management, college and graduate school admissions and testing, and AD/HD concerns. The Life Management section includes positive strategies to deal with issues that affect your home and family life, including health and wellness, parenting, caregiving, transitions, and managing finances. And of course, you will still see Goofs & Glitches and Positive Distractions - because we never seem to run out of either!

Questions? Comments? Suggested topics? Click on the links above to Tweet back, write on our Facebook wall, or react to a blog entry. Or, email Share your thoughts and ideas!


Events: Recent/Upcoming


Goofs and Glitches

The Eldon family doesn't get much time to spend together because they're all so busy. Bryce, Carrie and their daughter, Susan, have really been looking forward to a Chicago mini-break. They're on a tight schedule, but Bryce is a traveling superstar for his international manufacturing company and says he "has it all under control." He plans to put in a half day at work, swing home to load the car, do a few errands and then hit the road.

Bryce arrives home on the appointed day an hour late from chaos at the office and he's still in overdrive. He tears around the house grabbing things for the car and hustles the ladies along until they're glaring at him. At the bank, he sprints from the car to the ATM kiosk to deposit an important check. When he returns, he dumps the receipt in Susan's lap and starts the engine. "Wait! Dad, wasn't this supposed to be $6000 for my next tuition bill?" Bryce grabs the receipt and groans; he only typed $600 on the keypad. He has to go into the branch to speak to a teller, which takes another twenty minutes. Furious at "their incompetence," he grumbles his way to the gas station to fill the tank and use the automatic car wash. At the entrance, he instructs Susan to get out of the car and let him know if his wheels are lined up with the tracks. As she calls out, "You're good!" he drives forward, nearly hitting her with the car door as she tries to get back in. Both women scream--and Carrie finally loses it. "You need to stop and CHILL OUT RIGHT NOW!! We can't relax in Chicago if we don't make it there alive and you are so distracted that we're going to end up in an accident if you don't focus on what you're doing!!" Like many people, Bryce thinks he's great at multitasking; however, in this case, it cost him more time and goodwill than it saved.

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


Life Management

Remember the dad who was so upset by his teenager's Facebook posts that he riddled her laptop computer with bullets? The incident set off a great deal of media buzz, with experts like Dr. Phil weighing in here . Who hasn't felt the irritation and frustration caused by a negative interaction, especially when the "drama" has been intensified by inappropriate broadcast through an email chain or social media network? Have you ever wanted to chuck your cell phone out the window after a nagging text, or imagined taking a sledgehammer to your computer after a nasty email? How are adults--employees, consumers, teachers, parents and others--supposed to deal with their occasional rage?

In the case of the trigger-happy dad, one poll showed that 20% of 180,000 responders claimed to agree with the dad's overly aggressive response to his daughter's behavior. Obviously, there is a lot of frustration out there in society. But would all of these people really destroy a very expensive piece of equipment which they, themselves, had purchased? Although you may sympathize with this father's anger and hurt, shooting a laptop is not the answer. His was an impulsive anger reaction--one that is beyond reasonable judgment. Let's remember that the job of a parent is to demonstrate and exemplify mature coping responses. When the young children in our families expressed anger with yelling, hitting or kicking, they were advised to "use your words." The youngster had to take a breath, cool down and begin using their emerging logic and communication skills to cope and work things out. The parent or adult models the appropriate behavior and then recognizes the child's efforts. Such training takes years, but the research indicates that it pays off.

As Dr. Phil thoughtfully points out in the Today show link above, the brain of an adolescent has not developed to the point of reading every situation accurately or predicting the consequences of each action. This young lady felt that her home responsibilities were unfair and took her grievances to the "airwaves." Is she actually a spoiled brat all the time or was she having a bad, 15-year-old day and acting rashly? Are there pressures or troubles in this family that led to this crisis? We don't know, nor do we know if any constructive conversation took place within the family before this issue exploded. However, perhaps there are lessons for others to take away from this. First of all, families need to practice engaging in civil, respectful dialogues where opinions differ. This doesn't mean that parents should "cave," but they can listen, empathize, and then explain the knowledge, experience and maturity that leads them to take the stand they are maintaining. In some cases, perhaps they can even find some aspects of a complicated issue where compromises can be reached. Later, when these children are trying to advocate for themselves in educational or employment situations, they can draw on the same kind of communication skills that they have seen and practiced.

Just as crucial is to have ongoing discussions about personal and family privacy, and the pitfalls of digital communication. What are your family rules about public- versus private- discussion of family interactions or problems? Where do you draw the line about what can be shared on the Internet and what cannot? Is it okay to talk about everything on the phone with friends? If you vent to make yourself feel better, will you be hurting others in the process? If you put a bunch of personal information out on the web, will someone use it later to hurt you? Children need to be reminded that, like the content of Pandora's box, once an electronic message or photo is out, it never really disappears. Anyone could have read it, copied it or forwarded it before it is deleted--yielding unexpected negative consequences or results.

Take the time to consider and discuss:


Managing Your Academic Mind

Here's what iTunes Preview says about Geri's new, FREE app for "A Study Tip a Day Gets you an 'A': 365 Secrets of Study Success":

"...Everyone can describe their greatest fears or worst test-taking experiences. ...Obstacles that students describe include being disorganized, procrastinating, struggling with perfectionism, getting easily distracted, becoming a constant "worry-wart," having problems memorizing, blanking-out during tests, and running out of time to complete their answers. Throughout a semester, students need easy-to-use but powerful tips to complete assignments, perform well on tests, and submit papers or projects on time. Moreover, when the pressure is on and students are stressed and fatigued, they need to reach out and find a tip that can help them focus and learn. A Study Tip a Day Gets You an "A" provides the needed help. The 365 tips and quotes are based on decades of research in the fields of education and psychology and on field tests with a broad spectrum of students from middle school to post-graduate level, including many with attention and learning issues." Download it now for iPad or iPhone!


Featured Resources

Announcing the release of Geri's latest Demons book, "Actions Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized, and Forgetful Mind" on! "Drawing on the author's years as a trainer and coach, Markel's Actions Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized and Forgetful Mind provides a step-by-step guide to banning common distractions from work/life. It provides a 5-step plan of attack and 7 strategies to implement an action plan against common distractions such as technology, interruptions, an unruly mind, stress and fatigue. With amusing stories, readers are guided to adapted research-based strategies to their individual needs and style. Ample examples and exercises allow the reader to answer the question, 'How do I change ineffective habits and move from good intentions to positive actions?' Actions Against Distractions can be used alone as a workbook or in tandem with Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decreasing Stress." Order your copy today!



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 new book, Actions Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized, and Forgetful Mind. Learn how to reduce distraction and increase time for reading and other meaningful life activities. Visit to read summaries and reviews of this book and other by Geri, including Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress.

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: