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
January 2008

Welcome to the January, 2008 edition of the Managing Your Mind Newsletter. The goal of this communication is to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Around the middle of each month, you will receive this practical newsletter providing tips, stories, resources, and announcements. 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: Reviews Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Reduce Stress

Author Paula Buermele recently provided this review for, an international community of book reviewers from a variety of disciplines:

Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. gets right to the point in "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction" by identifying them all right in the introduction to the book. The first chapter follows with a summary of each one and the remainder of the book focuses a sharp eye on each one individually.

The layout of the text is visually pleasing and the natural speaking tone of the text enables the reader to focus on the content of the words without being distracted by a stuffy style. At 155 pages, the concepts are concentrated rather than watered down with unnecessary verbiage. Markel clearly edited carefully to allow the reader to absorb the strategies and think about how to apply them personally. Using lists and bullets facilitates remembering the points associated with each distraction demon and the detailed Resources section leads the reader to sources to study a particular demon of interest in more detail.

Click here for more of Buermele's review


Goofs and Glitches

Although the office is closed for the holidays, Louise, the CFO of a medical practice, wants to complete and file records prior to the New Year. Fearful of setting off the complicated alarm system, she decides to leave the important papers in the car while she runs through the unlocking procedure, saying to herself, "I'll do one thing at a time. I don't want to put the papers down and have them blow away while I'm fiddling with the alarm." She gives a sigh of relief as she opens the office without mishap. Patting herself on the back for her efficiency, she goes to the car to retrieve the papers. As she returns to unlock the office, she realizes that she left the office keys sitting inside on the desk. The papers haven't blown away but Louise's sense of efficiency has!

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


Strategies for Success:

Most people were addicted to the convenience of their cell phones even before the advent of wireless capabilities and advances such as the iPhone. Ongoing research shows, however, that driving and cell phone use just don't mix - even in hands-free mode. Drivers who chat at the wheel - or worse yet, who text while driving - slow traffic flow, make improper lane changes, miss exits and turnoffs, and fail to avoid obstacles. Sadly, some of these drivers have caused deadly accidents. Remember Tip #17 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: follow safety guidelines related to cell phones and driving. The use of a cell phone while driving is distracting and dangerous. This is especially true when the topics of conversation are serious or emotional. Save your calls and messages for rest stops and save lives.


Student/Parent Corner

The school day has ended and Josh hobbles into a tutoring session like a turtle under the bulging, thirty pound weight of a backpack filled with textbooks, binders, and a tossed salad of crumpled papers and school supplies. A recent newspaper article describes the struggles that adolescent boys in particular have with organizing their schoolwork (Finder, International Herald Tribune, Jan. 1, 2008). Teen boys like Josh seem to find it shocking that they're suddenly responsible for filing their own papers, completing their assignments, and handing them in on time. Geri has found in her coaching practice, however, that when AD/HD and/or learning disabilities are involved, both genders need support in creating and following a system to keep track of course notes, assignments, and deadlines. Problems with organizing academic materials usually emerge in middle school, and if not addressed, worsen as students are faced with college applications, and eventually, the job application process. There are always too many papers, too little time, and a great deal of pressure. Here are five tips to help young teens establish the organizational skills that will foster academic success:

  1. Color-code each course within file folders or binders.
  2. Type and affix a checklist to the outside of the backpack to remind students to bring home all assignments, put completed homework into the backpack, and turn in the completed work at school.
  3. Include a five- to ten-minute time slot each day to organize papers before and after doing homework.
  4. Keep an inexpensive hole puncher in the backpack as well as having one accessible in the student's work area at home.
  5. Use the school's designated system (spiral bound planner or online assignment tracker) or your own to check on the status of assignments each week. Parents should take the role of Team Member, and hold a regular Team Meeting with the child and/or school personnel.


Featured Resources

Doctors and scientists now recommend brain exercise along with physical exercise to keep the mind sharp and stave off the mental effects of aging. Many people have found that activities like crossword puzzles and Sudoku are both pleasurable and cognitively challenging. Geri suggests checking out for puzzle products that can help you "Find Your Focus" by sharpening your mind and "Defeat the Demons of Distraction" through stress reduction! She recommends both Crossword Companion® and Sudoku Companion®, which are handheld, refillable puzzle systems that you can use at home, on breaks at the office, or on vacation. There's even a pencil sharpener built in! For any location where crossword fanatics may come together, Herbko has also produced World's Largest Crossword Puzzle®, a wall- or conference-table sized grid with over 24,000 clues.



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."


Recipe: Secret Seattle Hot Barbeque Sauce for Fish

  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs. prepared mustard
  • 1-3 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 4 tbs. soy sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of pepper
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan or double boiler on low heat.
  2. Blend other ingredients into butter; stir and heat but DO NOT BOIL.

Use this sauce with whitefish, halibut, or similar types of fish.

  1. Option 1: Broil fish and serve with sauce on the side.
  2. Option 2: Sprinkle fish with salt. For whole fish, place lemon slices and chopped scallions into body cavity. For fillets, place lemon and scallions on the top of each piece. Spread sauce onto fish, wrap in foil, and bake, 10 minutes per pound, at 375.F.

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


Have a Great 2008!

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