Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood Ann Arbor, MI 48105 tel/fax (734)761-6498
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
June 2007

Welcome to the June, 2007 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:



Goofs and Glitches

There is no rest for the weary, even on Mother's Day. Monica, a busy single parent, throws a load of laundry into the washer just before leaving for a picnic at her parents' home. She's finally able to relax knowing that she has gotten a jump start on the mounds of dirty clothes. However, here is the note she is forced to send to her parents the following day: Hi, last night at your house was fun and the food was delicious. Great grilling, Dad! Unfortunately, while at your house, my cell phone was laundered with our darks. The clothes fared much better than the phone, so I will be out of cell phone communications until Wednesday when the new one arrives. Monica shouldn't feel alone. Linda reports a similar experience while on vacation: unfamiliar with the Tampa neighborhood in which she is taking a walk, she takes her cell phone and slips it into her pocket so she can call her hostess if she loses her way in the maze of subdivision streets. After strolling and baking in the Florida sun, Linda returns to her friend's house, strips off her sweaty walking whites and throws them straight into the laundry, adding a shot of bleach for good measure. You can guess the rest: no more cell phone. Linda actually fares worse after the accident because unlike Monica, she did not regularly sync her device with her computer, nor did she create a backup CD or printout of her programmed telephone numbers. Checking pockets at the washer may cost a few minutes up front, but it can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation down the line.

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


"It Worked For Me" - Geri's Story

Like Monica and Linda above, The Coach herself has a love-hate relationship with her Treo cell phone/PDA. Geri writes, "I depend on my Treo and feel most secure when I'm holding it in my hand! However, I also have a healthy distrust and fear of all the technology that has betrayed me at one time or another. When I replaced my old device with this upgraded model, the merchant neglected to include a new software CD in the package to update my computer. Not realizing that this was necessary, I attempted to copy all of the priceless data from my computer onto my new phone/PDA using the sync function. I was aghast when I realized that the new device had just completely overridden the old database on my computer, leaving me with no data whatsoever. After the initial shock subsided, I remembered that I had backed up my computer data on a CD and I had printed out my address book on paper, just to be safe. Although it took time to find these backups, I was eventually able to restore the data to my computer. Then I sought technical help from the merchant who sold me the new device: they sent the necessary software to transfer data from the old system to the new system and all was well. However, this experience reinforced my belief in the importance of taking time to regularly back up and file all of one's computer, cell phone, and PDA data!"

If you've used a tip from a Managing Your Mind book or seminar or you've come up with one of your own, please share with me by calling (734) 761-6498 or emailing


Strategies for Success:

June can signal many life transitions, such as graduation, moving to a new location, or beginning a new job. Even if you are not making drastic changes in your life, schedules and routines may change with the onset of summer vacation and major projects such as home or garden renovation. All of these transition times are stressful and tend to make you feel that your mind is going in several different directions at once. You may find yourself putting off chores or activities that you find unpleasant, but that are critical to accomplish, such as refilling a checkbook and updating your financial records, examining safety hazards in your home or garden, or researching children's care and activities for the coming school year. If that "scattered" feeling has you procrastinating on difficult jobs, you may want to tame that Unruly Mind with Tip #109 from my booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress. Rotate interesting tasks with boring or tedious tasks. Set aside times for creativity and relaxation. Alternating the complexity and length of activities helps keep you interested, motivated, and on track.


Student Corner:

A high school student writes: One of my best friends has ADD and she takes medication. She is an amazing person and is usually upbeat, smart, and funny. However, she can also be loud, obnoxious, hyper, judgmental, and rude. I'd like to think I'm very patient with her but it's getting to be too much. We are on a sports team together and she doesn't get along well with some of our team members. When their behavior is annoying, she can't let it go and she holds a grudge. Even with me, she can be insensitive about my feelings. I'm really getting frustrated with her. I understand that having ADD can sometimes limit one's perspective, and I know at heart, my friend is a very kind person. I'd like to tell her that her attitude is starting to bother me and that situations are not so one sided as they seem--but I don't know how. Also, her home life seems very stressful right now, and I don't want to add my frustration to her stress level. How do I best approach my friend about these things?

The Coach's response:
I respect your insight and sensitivity. You are dealing with a difficult issues and it is not up to you alone. Although a friend or peer can be helpful, this student needs help and support from adults, namely your teachers.

Here are 4 ways you can help yourself and your friend:

  1. Decide if this is a situation that you can share with a teacher or counselor. These professionals have the responsibility and the training to work with students with special needs and may have some great suggestions for you.
  2. Understand that your feelings and reactions are appropriate. You have a choice about who your friends are and what behaviors you will accept or reject. Think about the points at which you would continue or stop the friendship.
  3. Accent the positive. Identify and talk with your friend about the great things she does and how much you enjoy and value those behaviors.
  4. Share your feelings when she is out of line. After the heat of the moment, make clear your distress by saying, "I really value our friendship but I feel sad/worried/disappointed when situations such as ____ occur. I don't know what to do." The important idea is to accept her but not her behavior.

Remember that ADD is not an excuse for hurtful or rude behavior. Students with ADD need to become aware of the effects of their behaviors on others. While it takes a good friend to bring up issues in a kind and loving way, it is the professionals' job to help by teaching more effective social skills.


Parent Corner:

Although everybody wants their children to be independent, it can be difficult for parents to specify exactly what constitutes independent behavior and how a child should achieve the skills involved. Adults may assume that children understand the various steppingstones to completing a task and therefore become exasperated when children don't "do what they are told." As many parents have found, yelling or nagging doesn't necessarily result in chores being completed! The mother of nine-year-old Carl decided to use visual reminders on a chart entitled Carl's Weekly $$$ List, posted weekly on the refrigerator. Here are the steps she took to help Carl use the chart effectively:

  1. She discussed the why and how of their family's chores and allowance system.
  2. She asked Carl to name the household chores he already knew he was supposed to be doing. She then asked him to suggest the responsibilities that go along with his participation in different sports teams. She had him choose icons he liked from a computer clip art menu to represent the different things he needed to accomplish each week.
  3. She and Carl decided together that the most accessible, easy-to-use place to post the list would on the refrigerator. They also decided that Carl should check off the items every day and that they should review the checklist every evening after dinner.

Now, Carl is not only earning his allowance, he's getting lots of praise and hugs from Mom, and he is feeling more in control of his time and activities. Chores never end, and neither does the parent's responsibility to look for strategies that help kids become more self-managed with less family conflict.

To download a copy of Carl's Weekly $$$ List, click here.


Featured Resources

Increased daylight in the summer can tempt everyone to push their bedtime later and later. It may be more difficult for you or your teen to get out of bed in the morning. Stop berating yourself or nagging others; start using humor to deal with this difficulty. Hammacher Schlemmer offers The Flying Alarm Clock - yes, really! This digital alarm clock launches a rotor into the air that flies around the room as the alarm sounds, flying up to 9' in the air, and will not cease ringing until the rotor is returned to the alarm clock base. Price: $39.95. Available here.



Sneak Preview: NEW BOOK: Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress. (Prepublication Version-Download Only) This book is designed to arm workforce employees, independent professionals and family managers with simple yet powerful strategies to stop distraction from interfering with effective performance. Practical, step by step techniques help you rid your life of formidable enemies such as The Technology Demon, The Others Demon, The Activities Demon, The Unruly Mind Demon, and four others. Click here.

About the workbook for Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction:
A workbook to supplement the text is in preparation. Do you have a story or concern that you want addressed? Send me your survival tip, a question, or answer to any of the following questions: What are your worst demons of distraction? Under what conditions do these demons attack you? How do you deal with them? What advice do you have for others? Contact

New product! Think Graduation Gift! Mem-Cards for Defeating the Demons of Distraction. This pack of 28 fast-reading, pocket -sized cards provides a personal coaching tool that can be used by individuals or in corporate training. Each deck contains the key ideas and important insights from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways to Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress. In just minutes a day, you'll get everything you need to know to improve your life. Available at $9.95 each. For more information or to buy for your own use or as a gift, click here.

Defeating the Demons of Distraction Mem-Cards


Upcoming Events:

Save the noon spot on Wednesday, September 19, 2007, which is the Fourth Annual National AD/HD Awareness Day. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) promotes this important event, which seeks to inform the general public about hidden disabilities like ADD, ADHD, and related learning disabilities. In recognition of this cause, Geri will present a seminar entitled, "Defeating the Demons of Distraction." This presentation is sponsored by The University of Michigan Ann Arbor Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and several other student support services. It is free and open to the public. Campus location: Pond Rooms, Michigan Union. If you or a group with whom you are involved is interested in a presentation to promote National AD/HD Awareness Day, contact Geri.

Upcoming Conferences

Conferences are a great opportunity to meet and get to know experts in the field who can answer your questions and address your issues. If you're interested in AD/HD, consider attending two conferences that will be held in the fall. Both conferences are small and offer opportunities for interaction with local and national experts.

  • Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference at Oakland Community College, Farmington Hills, MI, October 5, 2007. For more information, go to
    • At this conference, Geri will present the seminar, "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Increasing Productivity and Decreasing Stress."
  • 5th Annual ADHD & Learning Disabilities Conference at The Great Wolf Lodge & Indoor Water Park, Traverse City, MI, October 13, 2007. For more information, click here or contact Terry Dickson, M.D. at
    • At this conference, Geri will present the seminar, "Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: An Arsenal of Tools & Strategies for Adults and Older Adolescents with AD/HD."


Enjoy your summer!

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