Managing Your Mind

Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. • 304 1/2 South State Street • Ann Arbor, MI 48104 • tel/fax: (734)761-6498 • Mobile: (734) 657-7880


Geri Markel

Managing Your Mind Newsletter

September/October 2012


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:



Office Space!

Geri loves her office space 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 allows her to meet clients on campus and conduct "Managing Your Academic Mind" seminars. Call (734) 761-6498) or email if you are interested in small group services.

NEW "APP" Look at the App Store for Geri's studytipaday. Here's a neat way for high school and college students to find quick tips to improve memory, test taking, reading and other study skills.

For students and the families who care about them, Geri also offers the Study Tip a Day blog for helpful hints from her new guide, "A Study Tip a Day Gets You an 'A': 365 Secrets of Study Success." It's full of great advice on keeping up with your assignments and improving your test scores!



Geri's "Demons of Distraction" blog is up and running! The blog focuses on Barriers to Productivity, particularly those that affect career and work/life balance. Recent topics include travel safety, tackling distracting clutter, and positive distractions. To access a steady supply of helpful tips and reminders, follow Geri on Twitter, "Like" the "Defeating the 8 Demons" Facebook page and bookmark the blog.

For interesting information about college admissions, check out the blog at Geri, John Boshoven and Debbie Merion all provide tips on navigating the maze of the college admissions process.

Here in the newsletter, MYM will continue to provide announcements as well as information and tips on memory, time management, and organization. The Managing Your Academic Mind section is for students of all ages, and their families. There, you'll find resources on education, study skills and academic time management, college and graduate school admissions and testing, and AD/HD concerns. The Life Management section includes positive strategies to deal with issues that affect your home and family life, including health and wellness, parenting, caregiving, transitions, and managing finances. And of course, you will still see Goofs & Glitches and Positive Distractions - because we never seem to run out of either!

Questions? Comments? Suggested topics? Click on the links above to Tweet back, write on our Facebook wall, or react to a blog entry. Or, email Share your thoughts and ideas!


Events: Recent/Upcoming


Goofs and Glitches

For those of you standing in line for an iPhone 5 at this very moment, please remember that Siri still can't quite read your mind. Patrick received an invitation to the wedding of a dear friend several months ago, and quickly scheduled the date into his smartphone. However, he didn't realize that the calendar time-setting feature had skipped underneath his fingertip, and had placed the event in the 4 a.m. slot rather than the 4 p.m. slot. A few weeks later, he was scanning his agenda in order to book a quick trip to the coast to see family; that Saturday afternoon appeared to be perfectly free. Click--and oops. When Patrick realized that he had double-booked events, it cost him $100 to change his flight--and no small amount of embarrassment explaining to his family why they all needed to change their mini-reunion plans. We can't say it enough: pay full attention to even the most user-friendly of technology, and check and re-check yourself before purchasing anything online!

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


Life Management

As fall gets into full swing and many of us feel overwhelmed, it is important to remember the usefulness of instructional self-talk. Self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: talking to yourself. You hear young children doing it all the time; for example, a toddler murmuring to herself, "Don't touch."

Adults don't usually need to remind themselves what not to do; it is more important to focus on what you need to do, given your priorities. When you engage in instructional self-talk, you review the items on your to-do list and focus on those of highest consequences. Those consequences may be financial, social or personal. If you haven't prioritized your list and are feeling stressed, then you provide the instructions. For example, say, "I'm stressed because I haven't taken a few minutes to star chores or tasks that must get done. Look at the schedule and write in when to do this." Self-instruction then is used to tell yourself what, when and how to accomplish the item.

This process provides several benefits: when you specify instructions, you increase your sense of control and push out the negative and distracting thoughts that may plague you. Forming these thoughts into sentences and speaking them aloud engages the brain in a way that forces you to concentrate on each item. As autumn brings new responsibilities heaped upon the old, try self-instruction to prioritize and better manage your life.


Managing Your Academic Mind

Here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, fans worship their favorite University of Michigan Wolverine athletes for their prowess on the field, ice and court. Facing down opponents like the Michigan State Spartans or the Ohio State Buckeyes takes rigorous preparation and bravery. However, the public hears less about the courage and perseverance it takes to overcome the challenges of a learning disability in a Big Ten college classroom. ESPN's website provides an inspiring story about wide receiver Roy Roundtree, who was diagnosed with reading and information processing difficulties in middle school.

Roundtree's story illustrates a best-case scenario for a student in his situation:

  1. When his grades dropped, his family intervened and had him tested.
  2. After he was diagnosed with learning disabilities, his family and teachers constantly reassured him that he was smart and capable, but needed to study and learn in different ways in order to process information.
  3. Roundtree recognized and sought out motivators and role models; for instance, he knew he needed to stay academically eligible in order to play football. He accepted tutoring from family members and school personnel whenever it was available, and even insisted on transferring to a better high school.
  4. When he got to the University of Michigan, Roundtree continued using the strategies that made him successful in high school, even when they differed from the casual approaches of his peers. He forced himself to actively engage in all of his classes and formed a new academic support team using campus resources.

The happy ending is that Roundtree not only earned respect on the football field, he earned his University of Michigan undergraduate degree--and is now enrolled in graduate school! Click on the ESPN link above to read the full version of this inspiring story.


Featured Resources

A tip from a client: if you're looking for a nimble way to keep track of your tasks and projects while on the go, try Task Coach is a simple, open source, to-do manager which keeps track of personal tasks and to-do lists. It is designed for composite tasks, and also offers time/effort tracking, budgeting, categories, notes and more. It can also work with calendar software such as iCal. (Just make sure you don't mix up your days and nights--see Goofs & Glitches, above!) Computer-based platforms can be downloaded for free, while iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad versions are available for 99 cents at the iTunes Store.



Defeating the Demons of Distracton Book Defeating the Demons of Distration Cards Defeating the Demons of Distraction Brochure


Cooking: A Positive Distraction

Cooking can be a positive and creative distraction. If you are one of the many people who find that cooking is relaxing, you may enjoy the recipes that we sometimes feature. If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to send it in to be shared. Here's one you may enjoy.

Sicilian Citrus Salad: This classic Palermo salad was brought to Sicily a thousand years ago by Arab settlers. Geri acquired the recipe from her father, Charles Ponte, of Canicotti, Sicily. It can be made with a variety of oranges, and is thus named, Nzalata D'Aranci Pattuali. It is an excellent addition to a Sunday brunch or as an accompaniment to roasts.

Geri recently submitted this recipe to the Women's Council of Washtenaw County, dedicated to supporting and educating women in the business community. We'll let you know if they include it in the Women's Council Cookbook they are compiling as a fundraiser. To learn more about their valuable endeavors, click here.

Sicilian Citrus Salad (for 6 people):

  1. 6 blood oranges, peeled, seeded, and diced
  2. 2 grapefruits, peeled, seeded, and diced
  3. 1 lemon, peeled, seeded, and diced
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  6. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  7. Freshly ground black pepper
  8. Freshly ground sea salt
  9. 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 1 teaspoon lemon juice and/or 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Place diced ingredients in a bowl. Mix in herbs and then toss with oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Serve in a bowl or on lettuce-lined plates.

Take a photo of your creation and share your success: mail photos and comments to


Let's welcome fall: "Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile," as American poet William Cullen Bryant wrote.

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