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
February 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:



CEO of Tips Products International Reviews Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Reduce Stress

"Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction is an invaluable and affirming resource for both professional service providers and consumers. There are many publications on human behavior, time management, and specific techniques for getting better organized at home and at work. This one pulls it all together, in an easily approachable, enjoyable, and thorough way. Dr. Markel presents realistic examples of challenges plaguing millions of people from every walk of life and level of accomplishment. And she follows those examples with solutions that work. Give yourself the gift of this book to enhance your own life and the lives of those around you."

Paulette Ensign, “The Booklet Queen”

  • Founder, CEO, and Chief Visionary of Tips Products International,
  • National Association of Professional Organizers, National President 1995-97


"It Worked For Me"

Connie's Story: "I am an older adult and small business owner. In the antique business, there is always a lot going on: wholesale transactions, retail shows, national auctions, and online sales. At times, I have difficulty with focus and staying on track, especially when faced with the paperwork tasks I enjoy least.  I find the Mem-Cards Personal Coaching Deck for Defeating the Demons of Distraction very useful as a tool to refocus.  I keep the cards in my office. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or I’m procrastinating, I take a cleansing breath and review the relevant cards.  This provides a calming break from chores like pricing, inventory, or reviewing contracts, and encourages me to continue on in a more productive manner."


Goofs and Glitches

Dirk eagerly volunteers to take his manager to Costco to buy supplies for a rip-roaring, 4th of July office party. Although they’re on a tight schedule, Dirk assures the boss, "No problem; I really know my way around the warehouse. We’ll be in and out in a flash." He leads them in a laughing race up and down the aisles, checking items off their list as they fill carts with cases of beer, soda, and food. Grabbing a couple of celebratory sodas as they head for the parking lot, they suddenly have an "oops" experience: there is no way that all of those giant cases will fit into Dirk's tiny sedan! They lose an extra hour waiting for the secretary to bring her van and rescue the food.

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


Strategies for Success:

During this cold and flu season, it's important to recognize the potentially serious side effects of many over-the-counter and commonly prescribed medications. Recent news reports have warned parents that cold formulations may be dangerous to infants and young children, and should no longer be routinely used (check with your pediatrician if you have questions). Both children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to negative side effects from medication; in addition to unpleasant physical symptoms, the very young and old can experience alarming behavioral changes when their bodies do not tolerate a medicine well. Consider Tips #94-96 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: carefully monitor your own reactions and those of family members to medications. Report problems as soon as you or others observe them. Insist on talking directly to a health professional. If you are unsure whether or not to report an incident, remember the phrase, "Better safe than sorry." Describe the symptoms or behavior clearly so that medical personnel can either put you at ease about the reaction or tell you what steps are necessary to deal with the situation.


Student/Parent Corner

It sounds so simple and old fashioned but a good night's sleep is critical for growing youngsters. The prevalence of sleep deprivation among today's youth is associated with a number of identified problems. For example, researchers at the University of Auckland, NZ found that children who sleep less than nine hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese (read more). Several studies have shown that most adolescents following their biological sleep cycle would fall asleep after 11 pm and wake naturally around 8 am. On the typical high school schedule, this means that first hour class is a wash for most students. In several communities where adolescents were allowed to get more sleep and enter school later, grades rose, behavioral problems lessened and dropouts decreased (Kalish, New York Times, Jan. 14, 2008). These circadian rhythms persist into the 20's; given the extra distractions of the Internet and campus activities, college students are even more prone to becoming sleep deprived. What's going on in your family? Here are some tips to ensure that your child gets the sleep that is needed for academic success and reduced grouchiness!

  • Plan for children in preschool to sleep between 11-13 hours per night, and school-aged children between 10-11 hours. Ideally, adolescents need 8-9 hours of sleep.
  • Discuss adequate sleep in terms of nourishment for the body and mind rather than as a punishment.
  • Develop a consistent bedtime routine: no television, computer, or phone in the room; leave the cell phone and its charger in a public place in the home.
  • Avoid any caffeine laden drinks or foods several hours before bed.
  • Talk to schools about inordinate amounts of homework and excessively early school schedules. For high school students, see if it is possible to schedule without a first hour (for example, many schools have an optional seventh hour, allowing for second- through seventh-hour courses rather than first- through sixth-hour). If that is not an option, students should take a course in their area of greatest strength or interest for first hour.
  • Remind college students of the importance of adequate sleep and encourage them to choose course and work/activity schedules that allow for it. Suggest that they monitor the time they spend on Internet surfing, chatting, social networking, and gaming in order to achieve a reasonable balance.


Featured Resources

In keeping with the focus on managing medication, above, Geri suggests taking a look at the Reizen Vibrating Five Alarm Pill Box, available from the ADD Consults Store. This pillbox helps you organize your daily pills and reminds you with audible and/or vibrating alarms up to five times a day. It even includes a pulse meter. It’s compact and has a key-lock function that prevents accidental trigger. The large LCD display is backlit. Batteries required. Price: $14.75.



  • 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
  • Mitch Rycus was kind enough to send a review of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress to If you found something especially useful in the book and would like to post a review on Amazon, it would be most appreciated.
  • Don't get distracted from those New Year's resolutions! 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

  • Save the date: on March 9, 2008, Geri will be the keynote luncheon speaker for a conference entitled "Spa for the Body and Soul," a day of illuminating activities for women of all ages to engage the body, mind, and Jewish soul. The topic will be, "Defeating the Demons of Distraction: Ways to Find Serenity and Decrease Stress." The conference is supported by the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County. It takes place at the Four Points Sheraton Ann Arbor, 3200 Boardwalk, from 8:45 am to 2 pm. For more information, contact Ellisha Caplan, (734) 677-0100,
  • Geri has been invited to present at the 2008 International Counseling Psychology Conference on March 7, 2008 in Chicago. The topic will be "Mentoring Minority or ADHD Undergraduates: a Skills Approach."


Cooking: A Positive Distraction

Cooking can be a positive and creative distraction. If you are one of the many people who find that cooking is relaxing, you may enjoy the recipes that are shared each month. If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to send it in to be shared. Here’s one you may enjoy.

Recipe: Sylvia’s Secret Green Goddess Salad Dressing

As a young bride, Geri was a greenhorn in the kitchen and didn't know many cooking secrets. Her mother-in-law, Sylvia Markel, was always gracious in sharing her most valued recipes—and contrary to the stereotype, Sylvia never sabotaged Geri's success by "forgetting" an ingredient or two!

  • One bunch of fresh parsley
  • One bunch of scallions
  • Small can of anchovies, drained
  • Half pint sour cream
  • 2 scant tbs. Miracle Whip
  • 3 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tbs. tarragon
  • Splash of vinegar
  • Dash or two of pepper
  • Bibb lettuce or iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
  1. Finely chop parsley leaves and a small amount of their stems.
  2. Finely chop all of the green portions of the scallions, plus a small amount of the white portions.
  3. Finely chop the anchovies.
  4. Combine all of the ingredients except the lettuce. Mix and refrigerate to meld the flavors.
  5. Serve the refrigerated dressing over the chopped lettuce.

Take a photo of your creation and share your success: mail photos and comments to


Only six more weeks until Spring!

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