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
March 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:



Goofs and Glitches

Genevieve wants to know if she's the only one who's ever done this by accident... The miffed bank teller who called to report her drive-away "theft" said that this happens rarely, maybe once or twice per year. A lesson to be learned: do only one thing at a time when it comes to business or legal transactions!

Bank Cannister

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


Strategies for Success:

Are you a midnight email-aholic? Do you surf the web when you should be sailing through dreamland? Recently, Geri recently caught a late-night emailer in the act. "Should you be still doing business at this time of night?" Geri asks. Geri advises this person and other bedtime computer captives to break this unhealthy habit. Consider tip # 76 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: enjoy highly stimulating activities such as exercise or video games earlier in your day, and plan to turn off those exciting television programs and computer activities at least 30 minutes prior to turning in.

These changes allow you time to wind down and get ready to sleep. The ease of digital recording (with Tivo, for example) lets you watch your favorite shows on a schedule that is healthy for you - and the Internet isn't going anywhere overnight. To keep the importance of adequate sleep in perspective, here are some amusing-but-effective things you can do to break the habit of late-night computer use: place a pillowcase over your monitor in the evening, in essence "putting your computer to bed" so that you can get a good night's sleep. Or, tie a beautiful bow with a ribbon across your keyboard at bedtime, thereby "giving yourself the gift" of a good night's sleep. Make this part and parcel of your going-to-bed routine. If you happen to be a person who goes online at 7 pm with good intentions, but you end up still lost in Webworld way past 11 pm, you may need to set an alarm clock with a snooze feature. When the alarm goes off 30 minutes prior to your bedtime, give yourself one, 10-minute "snooze" period to wrap things up and power down.


"It Worked for Me" - Brad's Story

Brad is a photographer who has a home-based business. While he's up on the latest digital technology and software for his camera equipment, he still finds himself drowning in a sea of old-fashioned paperwork and office clutter. Tired of constantly moaning, "Where did I put that phone message/invoice/business card?" he worries about how much the ultimate "up market" organizing devices and equipment are going to cost him--and when he'll find time to learn how to use them. On a visit to his father, however, he sees Dad's immaculately organized desk in the den, and has an "ah ha" moment. Over the next few weeks, he trolls a few discount stores, resale shops, and garage sales, and for a fraction of the cost of high-end items at a fancy office supply store, puts together a system using the classic office implements of yesteryear: a spindle-type message holder, a clipboard that holds his log and agenda, and an open vertical file that sits on his desktop for ongoing paperwork. Everything becomes easier to store, easier to find, and easier to deal with. If you're interested in better managing the clutter without stretching your budget, you might want to rediscover the benefits of "retro" and "pre owned" office management pieces.

Spindle Holder Clipboard


Student/Parent Corner

A teenager's first "real" job is an exciting time for the whole family. Teens revel in the prospect of earning and controlling their own spending money, as well as experiencing a realm beyond home and school. Parents can see a bright future on the horizon as their children show the initiative and responsibility it takes to land and keep a job. However, a recent study shows that parents need to be on the lookout for dangerous threats to their adolescent children in the workplace, especially to their daughters. The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and PBS's NOW has collaborated on an investigation into the sexual harassment and abuse of teenage girls in the workplace. Due to a large increase in the number of harassment claims, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been focusing on cases of workplace authority figures who bully, sexually harass, physically abuse, and sometimes even stalk their teen victims - who, unfortunately, are usually girls. Thus far, the response of management in many of these traditional teen job sites (restaurants, movie theaters, retail outlets, etc.) has been lukewarm at best, and in violation of federal law at worst.

Today's parents and grandparents still remember decades of struggles to ensure women equality and protection from harassment in the workplace. Because it's assumed that the battle has already been won, cultural focus has moved on to educating teens about more recent dangers such as AIDS prevention and Internet predation. Mothers and fathers may not realize that they still have to teach their adolescent children about the rights and responsibilities of employees and their supervisors. Employers themselves have little incentive to spend time training and educating low-paid and often short-term employees on workplace behavior, especially in a tough economy where there are always more applicants than jobs. Teenagers desperate for work - especially conscientious young women who have been socialized to be accommodating - are ripe for manipulation, intimidation, and harassment by authority figures. An insecure teen who is already struggling to appear competent and "in control" to her family and peers may be afraid to seek help - and those girls who do report their harassment are often blamed or penalized rather than supported by management.

If your adolescent daughter or son is joining or already in the workforce, then:

  • Take some time to check in with her or him about workplace conditions.
  • Don't laugh off or dismiss possible cases of sexual harassment or abuse by supervisors - even if your child tries to. In particular, let your daughters know that they do not have to tolerate any type of sexually intimidating behavior by co-workers or bosses.
  • Visit with your teen can the EEOC website on youth workplace discrimination. For tips on how to educate your daughter on this topic, and to read more about the PBS's NOW broadcast, "Is Your Daughter Safe at Work?" click here .


Coaches Corner

Gone are the days when classroom teachers wielded pointers and rulers to whap fidgeting children in their seats. However, the days of children walking to and from school and playing outside until the streetlights come on have also gone by the wayside. Young people who have been reared on a steady diet of short-attention-span activities such as flashy TV shows, video games, web surfing, and phone texting are often also suffering from the recent epidemic of childhood obesity. Increased academic expectations and smaller educational budgets have resulted in schools full of children who don't get their exercise on the playground but are expected to sit still and concentrate throughout long school days. In response to these changing conditions, teachers across the country are rethinking the relationship between movement, health, and learning - and coming up with innovative solutions to help their students. Coaches can use the same techniques with a wide variety of clients, who may also be experiencing problems with attention, focus, long work hours, and/or sedentary lifestyles.

New York Times reporter Susan Saulny recently described a Minnesota classroom where sixth graders use height-adjustable desks with swinging footrests and tall stools. Their teacher allows them to stand, lean, fidget, or swing their feet while they work. They can stretch, breathe deeply, and change positions as their energy and concentration fluctuate throughout the day. Other classrooms are replacing standard desk chairs with the large, rubbery balls used in exercise classes (see here and here). Fidgeting energy is expended in a non-disruptive way as the kids build their core muscles and posture in order to stay balanced on the balls as they work. Students in both types of classrooms report having a much easier time staying awake and alert with the new workstations.

If you are a coach, consultant or tutor, build breathing, posture, standing, and movement into sessions with your clients. If you have access to standing workstations (for instance, at some public libraries), use them for at least part of your work session. Otherwise, have your clients get up frequently to write on chalk- or dry-erase boards, or recite while standing or strolling around the room. Experiment with "yoga balls" as seating instead of chairs, and incorporate action props like hula-hoops or jump ropes into learning activities.



  • Geri recently conducted a webinar on "Emotional Intelligence for Leaders: Increasing Productivity and Profits" for a nationally known, Michigan-based corporation. Working under the auspices of Linda Bizer's Making It Work firm, Geri covered topics including self-awareness, self-management of emotions, social awareness of staff's emotions, and strategies to manage team relationships. To find out how emotional intelligence can help leaders roll with the punches during hard times, contact Linda in New York, tel. (914) 591- 6862.
  • Geri is participating in a new group: The Leadership Fit® Associate Network. David Chinsky & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of executive coaching and management development programs, has announced the formation of The Leadership Fit® Associate Network. A dozen experienced and credentialed executive coaches and leadership trainers have now joined this new network, giving them access to an expanded set of resources for serving clients seeking the clarity, confidence, effectiveness and vitality necessary for achieving their highest levels of professional effectiveness and leadership fitnessTM. For more information about workshops available from The Leadership Fit® Associate Network, click here.
  • Want to make sure that those New Year's resolutions turn from intention to action? Give the life-changing gift of professional coaching to yourself or to others: help your child or grandchild deal with the tyranny of standardized testing, or obtain the support you or your significant other need to achieve big dreams! It's easy to get off track when confronted by the enormous changes and challenges of 2009; even one or two sessions per month can ensure that you move forward despite winter and economic gloom. Geri is offering a New Year's Resolution Special Rate of 20% off coaching sessions booked before March, 2009. Simply mention this newsletter item when you contact her, tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • Finish-that-Book Coaching Package! Geri is offering on-site or telephone coaching with fees starting from $750 for a three month package. Contact twice per month with fax or email feedback.
    • Organizing material
    • Sequencing sections
    • Managing references
    • Integrating material within and between chapters
    • Scheduling writing
    • Monitoring progress
    • Revising
    • Editing Scheduling promotional activities
    • Book signings
    For more term and pricing information, contact her, 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. 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
  • 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


Upcoming Events

  • If you are an Ann Arbor area parent or high school student affected by AD/HD, consider attending the Huron High School PTSO Speaker Series featuring Seth Warschausky, Ph.D., on March 4, 2009. Dr. Warschausky, Associate Professor, University of Michigan Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, will discuss the development of attention and executive functions (including planning and organization), Attention-deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and the strategies and resources that can help students and their families. Huron Media Center, 8:00-9:00 p.m. (Note: 7:00-8:00 p.m. PTSO business meeting, everyone is welcome.)
  • Geri will be presenting "The Graduate Student's Guide to Success: Effective Reading, Study, and Time Management Skills" at the Rackham Graduate School of the University of Michigan on March 10, 2009. 12 pm, 4th Floor, Rackham Building.
  • Geri will also be presenting to staff at the University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services on the topic "Identifying and Treating Students in Academic Difficulty" on March 10, 2009.
  • Geri will speak at the Ann Arbor Book Festival, which takes place May 15-17, 2009. Her presentation, "Actions against Distractions: How to Increase Writing Productivity and Decrease Stress," will provide strategies to help authors self-manage time and tasks, and deal with issues such as procrastination, perfectionism, writer's block, technology, interruptions, and unbridled creativity. Time and location TBA; please check here.


Reading: A Positive Distraction

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:

  • Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen: Nguyen's family came from Vietnam to settle in western Michigan in the mid-1970s. A moving account of their struggles with culture shock and assimilation.
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder: Kidder's biography of physician and public health expert Dr. Paul Farmer is timely and inspirational.
  • The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall: a passionate, exciting novel set in China in 1928.
  • Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinksi: a well-respected journalist who emerged from Cold War Poland to cover conflicts all over the world, Kapuscinski relates his global experiences to those of the ancient Greek historian.

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


March is indeed coming in like a lion, but April's balmy days are not too far away. Enjoy St. Patrick's Day and the promise of spring!

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