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

January/February 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 in the following areas:

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


Goofs and Glitches

Byron had a flight scheduled during prime commuting hours, so he arrived at the airport early to get through security in plenty of time. He headed right to an airline computer kiosk and started punching in all of his information in order to obtain a boarding pass. After several fruitless attempts, he grew more and more frustrated. Finally, he hailed an obviously overworked, grumpy airline employee and demanded assistance with the non-functioning machine.

After scrolling through a couple of the online menus, the airline representative haughtily informed him that the kiosk could not be blamed for Byron showing up on the wrong day. Upon closer examination, Byron found to his chagrin that he had not transferred the correct reservation date into his calendar program. His flight had departed without him the previous morning. That original instant of distraction cost him $1000 in rebooking fees. Any kind of travel arrangements always require your full attention; don't handle things like flight reservations when you're tired, overly stressed or distracted. Unfortunately, in today's travel climate, there is no such thing as being too obsessive about checking and rechecking your travel information before you leave.

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


Life Management

It's January, a time when many people begin (or recommit to) an exercise routine. Your doctor has probably given you lots of medical reasons for regular physical activity, such as improving your cardiovascular health. Now, psychology researchers are finding that exercise can address mental health issues, too. Numerous studies are showing that everything from taking a walk to doing weight training can help combat depression and anxiety. For those suffering from diabetes, which often co-exists with clinical depression, workouts lessen the symptoms of both conditions. Wouldn't you rather be spinning than spinning your wheels? To read more about the exercise-wellness connection, click here.


Managing Your Academic Mind

The number of college applications is soaring, with many institutions reporting 10-20% increases. For example, according to Ann, "The University of Michigan set a record for the number of applications to join the freshman class this year as 39,570 people sought admission for Fall 2012. That's an increase of 25% over the previous year -- which also set a record." Despite the flood of applications, U-M seeks to trim this year's freshman class by about 500. With more applicants and fewer available spots, those who might have been admitted easily a few years ago will get a rejection letter this year.

Dealing with rejection is tough for any student, but especially so for students who have worked hard and achieved extremely high grades and college admission test scores. It's an early and often bitter lesson about rapid changes in the world. The way a student deals with the rejection and the need for alternative plans can provide important lessons and lead to unexpected, positive outcomes. For example, they may go to another school that turns out to be a better fit.

Before the acceptance/rejection letters arrive, students and their families might discuss possibilities and options. The most important aspect of this situation is for students to understand that college admissions decisions are based on factors that are often out of the student's control; they don't reflect anything negative about the student. With that level of competition amongst tens of thousands of worthy candidates, acceptance is often just the luck of the draw. A useful article on this topic is here.


Featured Resources

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to be more productive and effective, you may benefit from special resources and aids for more efficient time management. For example, if you procrastinate on chores because you feel overwhelmed by so many responsibilities, you may need to break up the tasks into bite-size chunks and schedule them into your calendar. Conversely, you may have problems with hyperfocus, the urge to "just finish it all now" even if that leads to spending an inordinate amount of time on one task--and leaves you too tired or too time-crunched to tackle the others that need to be completed. You may need a tangible, sensory signal to mark the amount of time you should spend on each of your activities.

Here are a few ideas to help you budget your time and thereby lower your stress level. The first is a timer and the second is a list of watches that vibrate or ring. Designating a tolerable amount of time on a hated chore may encourage you to tackle it, while limiting the extent to which one project can monopolize your time may force you to work more efficiently and conserve your energy.



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:


Honor those you love on Valentine's Day--and don't forget to do something nice for yourself, like a fun workout, relaxing massage or fresh fruit smoothie!

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