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
December 2010

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:



Season's Greetings from the Managing Your Mind Staff!

Back: Webmaster Aric Watson of Snapdragon Media and Office Associate & Editor Jane Heineken.
Front: Creative Social Media Expert & Graphic Designer Wendy Williams of WS Williams, Geri Markel, Ph.D., Principal, Managing Your Mind Coaching & Seminars.

New Office Space!

Geri is now meeting clients and conducting "Managing Your Academic Mind" seminars 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 will allow for small group instruction in the following areas:

  • Boot camp for high school students to prepare their college applications. In addition, classes about making college selections and writing college essays.
  • Taking college admissions and other tests (How to Deal with Test Stress, Advanced Test Taking Skills).
  • Advanced reading and study skills (How to Read Tons of Material, How to Organize and Write Papers).
  • For adults in the workplace: Time Management and Reducing Distractibility at the Office.

Call (734) 761-6498) or email if you are interested in small group services.


New Blog!

Geri's "Demons of Distraction" blog is up and running! This month is all about holiday distractions and stress, with topics like nostalgia overload, holiday overindulgence, and travel stress. 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.


Upcoming Events

  • Check out the conference at Lynn University, a liberal arts college in Boca Raton, Florida. It will host Transitions 2011: High School to Higher Education - Options for Students with Learning Differences, a conference for parents, principals and headmasters, psychologists, guidance counselors, special education teachers, educational consultants and students. The event, which will take place on January 28, 2011, will include an impressive roster of keynote, plenary and breakout session speakers, with presentations geared toward helping students with special needs find the right college "fit" and make a smooth transition to higher education. For more information, click here.


Goofs and Glitches

Did you ever commit a goof or glitch so epic that it could be the plot of a novel? Geri was tickled to read Beginner's Greek by James Collins. Collins spins the tale of an idealistic single man who meets the woman of his dreams on an airplane trip - and then misplaces her phone number! How many of us have recovered that precious slip of paper, only to find it blurred by coffee, soda, lipstick or chocolate stains from purse/car/attaché case? Don't be distracted: take the extra minute to safely record important information into your cell phone, PDA or laptop.

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


Student/Parent Corner

The struggling college student was behind in course readings, overwhelmed with the complexity of the material, and completely stressed out near the end of the semester. "I'm thinking of paying one of those commercial paper mills to do my term paper," he admitted sheepishly. "The topic is impossible; I'll never understand it. And there's so much work to it, the prof is totally unreasonable. It's not that bad, right? I mean, it's just this once." The course subject in question? Ethics - and no, the student did not appreciate the irony here.

The response to such a student is: "It is no dishonor to fall behind in a class and feel backed into a corner, worrying about possible failure and humiliation. It is a dishonor, however, to cheat."

There are more honest - and yes, ethical - approaches to this academic situation, including talking to the instructor and a school counselor about choosing a less esoteric topic, working with a tutor or graduate assistant, getting an extension on the assignment, or being granted a temporary incomplete in the course. If an illness, an adverse reaction to a medication, or a chronic medical condition is involved, it may be appropriate to obtain a note from a physician about the symptoms which affected you.

Parents and teachers are often shocked to learn just how widespread the practice of peddling papers has become. A recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education showcased the perspective of an anonymous, custom-essay "shadow scholar." His peek into the shady world of academic fraud provokes outrage, but ultimately it is more productive to focus on helping students avoid such desperate situations in the first place. There must be an ongoing discussion among families, educators, and students about reasonable expectations, effective study skills and time management, academic integrity, and proper educational support for struggling students.


Work/Life Corner

The question, "Could I/my child have AD/HD?" is often the start of a life-changing journey. Geri recommends that the first step in this journey be a neuropsychological evaluation. Most people are unfamiliar with such an evaluation, and may feel a bit intimidated at the prospect. However, there is nothing to fear: a neuropsychological evaluation is comprehensive battery of tests that provides a detailed picture of a person's aptitude, achievement, and social and emotional status as compared to others at the same stage of development. A trained neuropsychologist conducts a clinical history and interview, and then administers assessments which include standardized checklists, completion of paper and pencil tasks, hands-on activities, and computer-based tasks. To learn more about how and why neuropsychological evaluations are helpful, see Geri's full article on the subject at Special Education Advisor: the IEP and Special Education Social Network.


Featured Resources



  • Coaching is now only a computer screen away! Using Mac's iChat or Skype, you can have audio and/or video coaching sessions with simultaneous text-based instant messaging. Skype is a free, downloadable service that provides free calls, video calls, and instant messaging over the internet (; for information about iChat, search for your particular model. Moderately priced computer webcams and microphones are readily available. Both domestic and international clients are taking advantage of this convenient and effective way to improve productivity and reduce stress levels. To inquire, contact Geri, or tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • New edition! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in Solving the College Admissions Puzzle: a Guide for Students and Families About College Selection, Essay Writing and High-Stakes Testing 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 on the website. $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 is now published by iUniverse. 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, which was a Finalist for the USA Book News Best Books 2009 Award 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

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:

Enjoy a holiday escape from the cares of your everyday life by reading about the glamorous (and not-so-glamorous) lives of the rich and famous. These female pioneers in the realms of stage, screen, and television drop dozens of names and divulge all the juicy gossip from their long and storied careers:

  • Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg: Berg cultivated a unique friendship with Katharine Hepburn in her final two decades. He manages to capture not only her perspectives on life and career but also takes readers inside the way Hepburn formed and managed relationships with family, friends, and lovers.
  • Lessons in Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn: Burstyn is certainly in great company as an actor who draws upon a difficult past to bring depth to the roles she's played. Her story is hardly cliché, however; as she traces her steps from Detroit to New York to Hollywood, she interacts with some of the most influential actors and directors of the 20th century.
  • Audition by Barbara Walters: Walters has often been a controversial figure; is she a feminist icon? A respected journalist? A sycophantic celebrity worshipper? Here, she tackles all of the accusations and presents a colorful and moving portrait of the family influences that shaped her career and personal life. The breadth of her media, political, and entertainment connections is astounding.

Or, lose yourself in a thriller full of mystery and intrigue:

  • Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré: the story of a couple who unwittingly become embroiled with a shady, Russian money launderer. Their journey leads them into an interrogation which reveals "unholy alliances between the Russian mafia, the city of London, and some parts of the British Secret Service."


Don't let holiday stress interfere with the true joys in life: happy, shared memories with family and friends. In the words of author/journalist Cindy La Ferle, celebrate the imperfect and the undone!

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