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
November 2010

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:



New Office Space!

Geri is now meeting clients and conducting "Managing Your Academic Mind" seminars 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 will allow for small group instruction in the following areas:

  • Boot camp for high school students to prepare their college applications. In addition, classes about making college selections and writing college essays.
  • Taking college admissions and other tests (How to Deal with Test Stress, Advanced Test Taking Skills).
  • Advanced reading and study skills (How to Read Tons of Material, How to Organize and Write Papers).
  • For adults in the workplace: Time Management and Reducing Distractibility at the Office.

Call (734) 761-6498) or email if you are interested in small group services.


Upcoming Events

  • Geri will be presenting a seminar entitled, "Time Management and Study Skills" at Rackham Graduate School on November 18, 2010, from 3 to 4:30 PM.
  • Check out the conference at Lynn University, a liberal arts college in Boca Raton, Florida. It will host Transitions 2011: High School to Higher Education - Options for Students with Learning Differences, a conference for parents, principals and headmasters, psychologists, guidance counselors, special education teachers, educational consultants and students. The event, which will take place on January 28, 2011, will include an impressive roster of keynote, plenary and breakout session speakers, with presentations geared toward helping students with special needs find the right college "fit" and make a smooth transition to higher education. For more information, click here.


Goofs and Glitches

An editing goof has cost publisher Harper Collins tens of thousands of dollars - and author Jonathan Franzen a great deal of embarrassment. According to an article in Britain's Daily Mail, Franzen spent a decade perfecting his latest work, Freedom, but typesetters sent a draft file - as opposed to a proofread version - to the printer, resulting in thousands of error-filled copies shipped out to bookstores. Harper Collins has been forced to recall all of the unsold copies and produce an entirely new run. It is no small irony that Franzen, whose best known novel is entitled The Corrections, has asked readers to wait for the corrections to be made on Freedom before they purchase a copy. In the meantime, editors, proofreaders, and typesetters everywhere are double-checking their computer files!

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


Strategies for Success

Remind yourself to stop and smell the roses. An important goal of the work we do at MYM is to help people live a life that reflects their deepest values; one that balances work or studies with home life, relationships, and personal growth. Distraction can cause people to lose sight of the good things that life has to offer. An email forward making the rounds reminds us of this: in 2007, Washington Post reporter Gene Weingarten arranged a small social experiment. He asked world-renowned, classical violinist Joshua Bell to play in a busy Washington, D.C. Metro station for an hour. Normally, music lovers pay steep amounts to see Bell in concert; here, he appeared to be just another hustler hoping for some donations. Few commuters even glanced Bell.s way; barely a handful stopped to listen. When interviewed later, many cited the pressures of their tight schedules while others never heard the live music because they were ear-plugged into their own electronic devices. However, there was one man who had a three-minute time cushion in his commute that day, and therefore paused to listen. He was deeply moved by this tiny slice of musical bliss. '...[I]t made me feel at peace,' he told the Post. The point of battling the Demons of Distraction in life is to leave a little more time for bliss - so during this hectic holiday season, remember to focus on those precious moments of beauty and love!


Student/Parent Corner

Too often, students are overwhelmed, tired, or irritated just before they begin to study for a test or do their homework. Their bodies may be seated at a desk, but their minds are a million miles away, especially if they're plugged in to phones, iPods, or computers. Here are 10 steps to follow to ensure that students begin to work with full focus and concentration.

Getting Ready to Study or Complete Homework

___ 1. Put your books and materials down and stretch for a minute or two.
___ 2. Sit down and put your head down and take 4 deep breaths.
___ 3. Sit up and close your eyes and imagine being in a pleasant place where you feel relaxed.
___ 4. Keep your eyes closed and switch scenes. Imagine a situation when you did some school work very well. Congratulate yourself for a job well done
___ 5. Open your eyes and find your assignment. Say, "Now I'm ready to work for about 15 or 20 minutes"
___ 6. Read the assignment, Ask, "What questions, problems, or tasks are assigned"
___ 7. Work for 15- to 20- minutes using your book, papers, or other materials.
___ 8. Take a few minutes to stretch, breathe deeply, rest your eyes, and have a healthy snack or drink.
___ 9. Review and recognize your effort and progress.
___ 10. Resume work.



Featured Resources

  • Pura Vida is a Costa Rican phrase that embraces the idea of "laid back, stress free, no worries, enjoying life." Walter and Raine Reggans have just opened the Pura Vida Color Studio in downtown Ann Arbor. Colorist Raine and Staff Stylist Dasha Solden are committed to providing the highest level of quality and professionalism in a friendly, relaxing atmosphere. If you're in the area, schedule an appointment now and get an overall experience that makes you look and feel great. Tel. (734) 717-0108
  • MYM always recognizes the importance of adequate sleep to function at your highest level. For a more detailed look at your personal sleep cycle, there is now a downloadable application for iPhone called The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. According to the app developer, the program uses the iPhone's accelerometer to record nighttime body movements and thereby generate a profile of the time spent in different phases of sleep (light sleep, deep sleep, dreaming). The "alarm" function uses this data to wake you in the light sleep phase closest to your target time (a 30 minute window) - if one occurs. If not, the alarm defaults to your set time. Waking during a light sleep phase is supposed to leave you feeling better rested and more alert compared to waking during a deep sleep phase. Some online reviewers rave about the alarm system, while others are more interested in charting their sleep phases. MYM has not tested the product, but if you're interested in a .99 cent app from the iTunes store, we'd love to hear what you think.



  • 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 edition arriving in October! 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 on the website. $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

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:

  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout: this Pulitzer-prize winning collection of tales will appeal to those who like short stories - and those who don't. Strout sketches the various characters in a small, coastal Maine town as they wander in and out of each other's lives. She creates a unique sense of place, but also a universal glimpse at the ways in which family dynamics, romantic longing, and human tenacity rule our lives.
  • Fall of the Giants by Ken Follett. If you enjoyed other Ken Follett novels such as Pillars of the Earth, you'll also enjoy his latest historical epic that covers the complex events of World War I, beginning in 1911 and ending in 1924. It is a first installment of the Century Trilogy.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and share the quotes of some of our famous citizens:

  • William Faulkner: "Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all."
  • Irving Berlin: "Got no checkbooks, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night."

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