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
June 2009

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:



Review of College Admissions: from Chaos to Control

Focused Coaching President and CEO Lisa Pasbjerg Reviews College Admissions: From Chaos to Control by John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.

"What a wonderful book! I only wish I'd had it a few years earlier. As the parent of a graduating high school senior who plans to attend college this fall, I can say that this book is amazingly accurate and on-target with its description of the process that students and parents currently have to go through in order to actually get the student admitted and enrolled into college.

This process is a far cry from either my own or my husband's experience when we were trying to get into college as teenagers— far more complex, far more involved, and much more overwhelming. Unfortunately for us, it was unexpectedly complicated and difficult and we were all ill-prepared. This book is chock full of exactly the information I wish we had all been reading fairly early in our daughter's high school career.

If you are a parent with a child entering their freshman or sophomore year in high school, especially if you have not gone through the college admission process with another child recently, you must get this book. Read it cover-to-cover; highlight and write notes in it, and keep referring to it as the process goes along. I guarantee you that it will save both you and your student much grief, and, leave you better prepared to handle this complicated process during an already busy and stressful junior and senior year. Kudos to Debbie, Geri and John for putting it all together in such an accessible way!"

Lisa Pasbjerg, MSW, LMSW, DCSW, is the President and CEO of Focused Coaching, "Powerful Change for Professionals." She can be reached at or (734) 663-0420.


Upcoming Events

  • Even with high school graduation madness in full swing, families should be looking ahead to the academic and lifestyle changes that their student will face next fall. Geri will be addressing issues related to the transition to a college environment in an upcoming free seminar. She will include special information about students with attention or learning difficulties, and students who are twice exceptional: gifted students with disabilities. This complimentary seminar is open to students and/or their parents, and will be held on Tues., Aug. 4, 2009 from 6-7:30 pm at Primo Coffee House Conference Room, 301 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104. The free, introductory session will be followed by several group teleseminar opportunities throughout August and Fall 2009. Individual coaching will also be available coast-to-coast via iChat or Skype. Limited enrollment: to reserve your place, or for more information on individual sessions or coaching programs, contact Geri at (734) 761-6498 or email.
  • Save the date for the 10th Annual Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference: Friday, October 2, 2009 on the Orchard Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan. This gathering of experts from around the world will include a keynote address by Michael Ginsberg, MD, on his AD/HD success story. It will also feature Sari Solden on women's issues, and Denslow Brown on LGBT issues. More information TBA later this summer.


Goofs and Glitches

Special occasions are filled with joy, especially during this season of competing graduation parties, weddings, and other summer festivities. Attached to each event, however, is a time, date, and location—details that are easy to confuse when life is hectic.

For example, during this past concert season, Russell received an email from the University Musical Society, surveying him on his opinion of the recent Wynton Marsalis performance. Russell was puzzled, because that particular concert was not in his subscription package and he hadn't attended it. It wasn't until the following day that he remembered that friends had given him two, $80 tickets to the show. He had gratefully accepted the tickets, but failed to put the concert date in his agenda!

In another situation, a couple was presented with the gift of two tickets to a Sunday performance of the Israeli Philharmonic. Arriving a few minutes before the usual concert start time of 8 pm, they found it alarming that the lobby was empty and the doors closed. A lone usher had to remind them that Sunday concerts begin earlier than those on other days of the week. They were so angry at themselves for failing to check their tickets that they couldn't even enjoy the final portion of the program that they were able to see. Families should have a system to save and record invitations. Information about event date, time, and location should be added immediately to calendars and/or PDAs. Don't forget details such as gift registries, potluck contributions, etc. It can be helpful to establish a regular, five-minute family meeting to go over the week's schedule and special events.

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


Strategies for Success:

Having some degree of perfectionism can motivate you to do your best. But as Geri heard from would-be authors at the Ann Arbor Book Festival, being too much of a perfectionist can completely paralyze you. Perfectionism and procrastination often go hand in hand: you become so worried about the final product that you don't even take the first step—and nothing is accomplished. If perfectionism has been a problem for you, try these self-talk phrases from Geri's book, Finding Your Focus: Practical Strategies for the Everyday Challenges Facing Adults with ADD:

  • "If I don't get this done on time, it won't matter how good it is."
  • "I will do the best I can in the time I have."
  • "It's OK if this is not my best work, as long as it fulfills the requirements."
  • "I won't let perfectionism waste my time."

Remind your inner critic that others (including bosses and loved ones) expect timeliness and satisfactory completion rather than perfection.


"It Worked for Me" - Geri's Story

Geri says, "It's easy to bash the Internet, but not everything on it is negative. A friend recently forwarded a link to a classic clip of Bob Hope. The segment brought such an instant smile to my face that I called another friend and we watched it ‘together' on our computers. Exploring sites such as for classic comedy clips, soothing music or sentimental movie favorites can relax you, inspire you, or even rev you up for your next work session. Of course, some people get off track too easily or become lost in cyberspace. Those people may need to set a break timer, or perhaps turn to a different type of stress buster. But for me, it's really uplifting to revisit some of the late and great entertainers like Gene Kelly (try "Singing in the Rain" ), Danny Kaye (try "The Pellet with the Poison"), and Abbott and Costello (Who's on First)."


Student/Parent Corner

For many families out there, that last day of the 2008-09 school year couldn't come soon enough. The scenario of the "messy" school year sounds familiar: huge pressures to perform, high levels of competition—and then a crisis or breaking point that causes the student to just fall apart. He or she may be on the verge of failing a course, receiving an incomplete, or suffering some other sort of academic consequence. Maybe the student, family, and faculty pull together at the last minute so that the student can muscle through the problem or at least pass the class. At this point, all want to put the terrible experience behind them. However, it is at these times—even when the parent and student are exhausted—that they should stop, review the situation, and identify the lessons learned. Without this period of reflection, the student is unlikely to achieve any long-term gain—and in fact, the problems or behaviors that led to the crisis may be setting the stage for more intense and frequent crises in the future. Sometimes the best approach is to utilize a third party, such as a pediatrician, social worker or psychologist, to review the situation and identify the student's strengths and vulnerabilities. Different interventions may be needed: counseling, remediation, review of medications needed or used, and/or coaching to pave the way for smoother, less frantic academic experiences in the future.


Work/Life Corner

Recent headlines have provided grisly evidence of the deadly consequences of distraction, which was cited as a factor in the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Buffalo on February 12, 2009, and in the collision of two Boston trolley cars on May 8, 2009. In the case of the airplane pilots, a combination of fatigue and inattention may have contributed to judgment and performance errors. In Massachusetts, the trolley driver responsible for BMTA crash admitted to texting on his cell phone when he should have been paying attention to another Green Line train parked on the rails. Many people find this betrayal of public safety particularly outrageous.

However, individuals who buy into the myth of multitasking while operating a vehicle or a piece of machinery are just as guilty, and can be proven dead wrong--literally. The bottom line is that productivity requires survival: you can't enhance your performance from a hospital bed or a morgue. No tidbit of information or communication is worth injuring or possibly killing yourself, your passengers or your fellow commuters. Drivers, stop phoning, tweeting, and texting in the car, period. Don't become one of the statistics.


Featured Resources

Has some one asked you to speak at an upcoming graduation ceremony or wedding? Do you wish you could make better presentations in class or on the job? Are you looking to exude confidence in job interviews? Many people would rather get a tooth pulled than give a public address, but few can prosper without this vital skill. Technology like webcams, video-conferencing, and even cell phone digital recording capability has everyone living daily life in the spotlight. Jim, a local business consultant, reminds us of an invaluable community resource: Toastmasters International. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping you become the speaker and leader you want to be. Chapters around the country and overseas provide a safe, supportive atmosphere in which people can become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. Some 250,000 members have discovered this proven and enjoyable way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills. Jim is well on his way, thanks to his local chapter, Washtenaw Toastmasters. In fact, he won a blue ribbon for his inaugural speech on the topic of sailing! To find your local chapter, click here

Congratulations, Jim: "Best Speaker of the Evening" at Washtenaw Toastmasters


  • 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.
  • New book! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in the latest publication from Managing Your Mind: College Admissions: From Chaos to Control by John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. Decide on the right schools for you, find your unique voice to write a compelling application essay, and score your best on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and SAT. John, Debbie, and Geri help families fit together the pieces of the college admissions process. Available from the authors, email for more information at,, or $12.95, digital download $10.00.
  • 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. 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
  • 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: click here.

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 Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: a complex historical novel that propels three generations of characters into the search for the legendary Romanian figure, Dracula.
  • The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall: a historical romance novel that opens in an unlikely setting--a Siberian labor camp in 1938 Russia.
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell: a beautifully written short novel about small town lives of quiet desperation and the inevitable murder that finally shatters them.

Have you read something lately that really recharged your batteries? Share it with


Congratulations to all graduates this month!

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