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 2011

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 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.



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 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!

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

  • Geri will be presenting an informal session for tutors in the Ann Arbor area on Wednesday, January 11, 2011 at 7 P.M. The presentation, "Advanced Reading and Study Skills Equal Higher Grades and Less Stress," will discuss how best to help adolescents--especially those with learning and/or attention problems--deal with multiple and complex reading materials.
  • On Thursday, January 12, 2011 at 7 P.M., Geri will be at the Judson Center Autism Connections Parent Lecture Series. This group is designed to explore multiple forms of emotional and mental support for parents and caregivers of children with ASD. The presentation is designed to provide strategies parents can use to ease their teens into making a successful transition from high school to college. For more information, contact Autism Connections Washtenaw, (734) 528-1692 or
  • Geri will present "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress" on January 19, 20011 for the University of Michigan Human Resources, Human Resource Development. This seminar is open to all faculty and support staff. For more information, click here.


Goofs and Glitches

It was a busy, autumn day for the Managing Your Mind team when Kevin Roberts gave his presentation on the University of Michigan campus. After the program had successfully concluded, Geri and Jane hopped into the car for a late lunch on their way home. Geri carefully threaded her way through the tangle of students on foot, riding bicycles and zipping around in their cars. She pulled up to a stop sign near the University's main bus depot and waited for all of the traffic to clear. Suddenly, Jane noticed a giant campus bus creeping out of its holding area, its nose aimed right at the back of Geri's car. "What the...?" she began to say--and then there was a CLUNK.

When she and Geri emerged from the car, a hunk of rubber bus bumper lay in the road. Jane handed it to a very sheepish bus driver, who fretted as they waited for campus police to arrive. "This girl was trying to get on the bus just as I had shut the door, so I was paying attention to that and not to pulling out..." she began. Then the driver's real story came tumbling out: "My husband's gonna kill me. I woke up this morning feeling really awful, and he said, 'You're sick; you need to call in and stay home and get some rest. You shouldn't be driving around all day like this.' But I figured I would just get my shift over with so I wouldn't lose the time. He's gonna be so mad when he hears what happened."

By the time the police report was filed, late lunch had turned into early dinner. Geri and Jane pondered the irony of landing in the middle of someone else's Illness/Medication Demon attack, and were thankful that no one was injured and the car was not seriously damaged. Remember to stay aware of the ways in which your physical state can affect your ability to focus on important tasks like driving and operating other machinery; a few more hours on the time clock should never come at the cost of anyone's safety.

The destructive power of the Demons of Distraction...

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


Life Management

A couple of years ago, Geri was reading U.S. News and World Report and came across a useful concept from academic and author Jim Collins: making a Not-to-Do list. Collins, who studies why large companies succeed or fail, was struck by the relationship between stated corporate objectives and actual time usage. His findings seem to restate the obvious: if you want to achieve a certain goal, you have to make it a priority ... and that means spending more time on goal-oriented activities and less time on other things. Therefore, if you're going to put some items on your list of New Year's resolutions, you need to write a corresponding list of things you're no longer going to spend time on. Collins gave the example of wanting to read more, so his Not-to-Do list included watching less television. For every positive behavior you seek to implement, you need to eliminate the negative behaviors that get in the way of your good intentions. So don't just say you'll "get healthier" in 2012: specify that you're not going to spend an hour a day playing "Angry Birds" so that you can use those 60 minutes to work out!


Managing Your Academic Mind

A child's schooling begins long before he or she ever reaches kindergarten; the infant's brain is busy reshaping itself during every single interaction with a parent or caregiver. Families and childcare providers supply the input that a child needs to acquire language, which is the foundation of all education to come. Even if a child learns a caregiver's language first and English later, the process is just as vitally important. If you are raising young children or know a family that is, check out this great resource. Geri is passing along news from Washington Learning Systems, a company founded by two Early Childhood Education specialists dedicated to maximizing language and literacy development in the first few years of life:

Washington Learning Systems is making available, at no cost, parent-child early literacy activities in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Somali, Burmese and Russian. The free, reproducible materials were developed by Angela Notari-Syverson, Ph.D. and Judy Challoner, M.S., with illustrations by Don Syverson. These materials include home and community activities for adults and young children (birth to five) that encourage early language and literacy development. They are appropriate for children with disabilities as well as children who are developing typically. Each of the activities includes an activity description, and hints for making the activity fun and developmentally appropriate. An activity checklist helps parents and caregivers pay attention to their children's skills and guides adults to examine and expand their own interactions with children.

The development of these materials was supported in part by Grant H324M020084 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and by funding from Washington Learning Systems and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the Great Start, Great Parents program at Calhoun Intermediate School District in Battle Creek Michigan. They may be copied and distributed as long as they are not sold.

To download materials go to and click on the button that says "Literacy Resources" on the home page. You will need to create a logon account using your email address and a password.

For questions please contact:
Mary Maddox
Washington Learning Systems
2212 Queen Anne Ave. No. Ste. 726
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 310-7401 FAX (206) 283-9243


Featured Resources

Holiday Gift Ideas--gifts that keep on giving:

Here's a present that will benefit the recipient long after it's opened. Buy Geri's new guide, "A Study Tip a Day Gets you an 'A': 365 Secrets of Study Success." Designed for high school and college students, these 365 study tips (includes 45 motivational quotes) will help students to achieve the academic success they desire. Available in print ($15.00) or as a download ($10.00). Go to

New Book

For the college bound student: consider a book that can lead to the college life and career that you've always dreamed. Solving the College Admissions Puzzle--A Guide for Students and Families About College Selection, Essay Writing, and High-Stakes Testing is written by Ann Arbor experts John Boshoven, Debbie Merion and Geri Markel. Order by December 20, and it comes gift-wrapped, including a card of your choice. Or, try digital download -easy and fast! To purchase this book, visit

Give a gift certificate for hourly sessions to help a grandchild, child, niece or nephew get a jumpstart on applying to college. The certificate will entitle them to schedule a session with a professional, college admissions advisor. Gift certificates are available for the following sessions: finding your best college choices (contact: John Boshoven); writing your best college application essays (contact Debbie Merion); acing the ACT and SAT (contact Geri Markel).



  • 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.
  • 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:

  • The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler: if you liked the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,, then you'll love this 2009 import from Sweden, too. "Kepler" is actually the pen name for a married couple, Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril. They wanted to write an exciting cinematic novel, and they succeeded. The plot involves a severely wounded and traumatized boy whose family was murdered in front of him, and the detective who decides to put him through hypnosis to obtain clues about the killer. Less gory than Larsson's books but faster-paced, it is a chiller that defies the reader to put it down. Geri finished it in one night!


Best wishes from the Managing Your Mind team for a Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

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