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
October 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:



Upcoming Events

  • Geri will present another in her series of workshops for University of Michigan graduate students on Oct. 28, 2009. "Fast Track Reading: Advanced Skills for Graduate Students" will take place in the 4th Floor East Conference Room of the Rackham Building from noon to 1:30 pm. Students will learn strategies for faster, more flexible processing, analysis, summarization, retention, and integration of information from multiple sources.
  • On Nov. 10, 2009, Geri will be presenting at 5 pm to the Western Wayne Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, an organization for secretarial, support, and administrative staff. The mission of the IAAP is to enhance the success of career-minded administrative professionals by providing opportunities for growth through education, community building and leadership development. Geri's topic will be "Taming the Technology Tiger." For more information about the IAAP, click here.


Goofs and Glitches

When you don't catch your own mistakes before they happen, at least there are others who can catch them for you. One of the co-authors of 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., received an email from a customer who bought the inaugural edition. He pointed out that on page 88, under "What Writing Strategies Are Helpful?" a sentence reads: "Whether taking the SAT or the ACT, you need to know how to plan, organize and write illegibly." Uh, no: one should always write legibly. This typo had actually been flagged prior to publication, but the correction did not occur in time for the first edition. MYM will tackle the "oopses" for subsequent editions.

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


Strategies for Success

The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation did groundbreaking studies that showed the strong relationship between a large, sophisticated vocabulary and professional success. Delta Sky Magazine recently provided a tongue-in-cheek guide to some new technojargon that might assist you on your climb up the corporate ladder:

  • Blackberry Jam: delay caused by a person walking slowly, nose glued to PDA.
  • Defaced: deleted from someone's list of Facebook "friends."
  • Designated Texter: someone who receives and responds to the driver's text messages to ensure passenger safety.
  • Kthxbi: Fast end to an online conversation that's going nowhere.

For more of these "punny" terms, see page 54 of the April 2009 Delta Sky Magazine.


Student/Parent Corner

Time management is an increasingly difficult challenge for high school and college students. Some students have trouble prioritizing and planning, while others have difficulty breaking large assignments into smaller, doable chunks. Still others have a habit of overestimating their skills and underestimating how long the task really takes to complete. For example, it's sometimes easy to get the brilliant idea, but it takes hours to refine and develop that idea. Effective time management leads to improved quality of work, greater productivity, time for other activities, and reduced stress. When students use effective time management, they can more easily get to class on time, complete homework assignments, and finish tasks. Aids to time management include kitchen timers/clock alarms, calendars, daily planners, and checklists. Below is a link to a Student Checklist for Time Management Skills, originally provided in Performance Breakthroughs for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities or ADD: How to Help Student Succeed in the Regular Education Classroom by Dr. Geraldine Markel, and Dr. Judith Greenbaum. Students with AD/HD and/or other learning disabilities have an especially hard time with time management; however, these days, just about any student may find themselves needing these strategies when faced with a full slate of demanding courses and activities. The checklist covers Estimating, Breaking Down Assignments, Planning Daily Schedules, and Making Adjustments. Students can work on one section at a time or identify the one skill which will bring them the most benefit. To print, click here. This checklist will be archived with other such aids here .

Another good source of information on children and executive functions (which include planning and time management, organizing, focusing, and executing) is Smart but Scattered: the Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Dr. Peg Dawson and Dr. Richard Guare.

Work/Life Corner

The downfalls of excessive multitasking and technodistraction are finally getting the media attention they deserve. For instance, the Fall 2009 edition of Career Focus, a publication of Washtenaw Community College, included the article "Too Much Information: Multitaskers Work More and Accomplish Less." Author Laura Lyjak Crawford discusses the distractions and frenzied activity that interfere with genuine productivity. To read the article and take the "Connected or Strangled?" self-check quiz, click here. And Geri recently had her article featured in the September, 2009 issue of Training and Development magazine, the national publication of the American Society for Training and Development: "How Learning Professionals Can Keep Technology Distractions at Bay." Geri's message to this audience is that being intelligent and well-trained doesn't necessarily protect one from technology distractions. Distractions and interruptions are not only irritating, they reduce the rate and accuracy of tasks completed, and impede creative and analytical thinking. Click on the article link to find strategies that will help you stop feeling overwhelmed in the face of constant competition for your attention.


Featured Resources

People have mixed feelings about Twitter, the 140 character-social networking/micro-blogging service. But as a recent Christian Science Monitor article points out, it has become very useful for tracking special deals on airline fares as well as some retail goods. Author Chris Gaylord provides Twitter links to sales at JetBlue and United Airlines, Dell, BestBuy, and general deal-scouting services like and Other companies are using Twitter to improve customer service and communication. If you're willing to set up a Twitter account in exchange for the latest bargain-filled Tweets, visit



  • College Night 2009 took place at the Ann Arbor District Library Traverwood Branch on October 8th. John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D., authors of College Admissions: From Chaos to Control, presented to over fifty people. Geri reports that there was a lot of concern about the pressures that students are under, and the conflicts that occur between required and recommended activities. There is a lot of angst because both students and parents feel that, in the eyes of the schools, "nothing is ever enough"—students should always be getting higher grades and test scores, volunteering more, raising more money, joining more activities, and training harder for sports. Everyone needs to remember that students are not scores, dollar signs, or professional athletes! Families need to keep perspective on the larger picture: these are children who should be treasured and nurtured through these tumultuous times. That being said, all three experts stressed that the steps involved in preparing for college--looking at and selecting schools, writing and editing application essays, and preparing for standardized tests—constitute a long term process that should be worked on systematically and can even be enjoyed by all.
  • 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 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: 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:

  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: in keeping with the Halloween season, this Ishiguro work tells a haunting tale that bridges the territory between fiction and science fiction. The narrator's idyllic memories of boarding school in Britain soon raise suspicions, and end up leaving the reader to ponder issues of sociology, biomedical engineering, and scientific ethics.


Have a happy and safe Halloween !

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