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
Late Summer 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 will now be 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 new location will allow for small group instruction in:

  • Summer 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

  • In recognition of National AD/HD Awareness Week, the University of Michigan is sponsoring the presentation "AD/HD and Anxiety” by Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D. The event will be held in the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School Amphitheater on Wed., Sept, 15, 2010 from 12 noon – 1:30 pm. It is free and open to the public.
    • 25-40% of people with AD/HD also have an anxiety disorder, which can exacerbate the condition. This presentation will teach self-help techniques to lower anxiety, manage emotional responses, and navigate life from a place of calm and control. Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned clinician, trainer, author, presenter, and the Director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, MI. For further information, click here.
      Carolyn Daitch, PhD
  • Geri will be the featured speaker at an orientation session for entering medical students at the University of Michigan Medical School on Sept. 7, 2010. Topics include: assessing learning styles, assimilating massive amounts of information, and employing test-taking strategies.
  • It’s time for the 2010 Annual Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. This conference--for AD/HD parents, students, educators, and mental health professionals--is an informative day of workshops led by local and national experts in the field. The location is the Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge Campus, 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-4579. Geri will be presenting “Defeating the Demons of Distraction at Work, Home, and School.” For more information, contact Marie Faulkner at (248) 522-3645.
  • Back by popular demand: College Night with John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D., co-authors of the book College Admissions: from Chaos to Control. This event will be held in the Multipurpose Room of the Downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library on Sept. 28, 2010 from 7-8:30 pm. The evening will cover three important pieces of the college selection and application process: Part 1: Finding and Paying for the College that Fits; Part 2: Applying to College: Those Pesky Essays; and Part 3: Applying to College: Those Nerve Wracking Tests. This event will include a book signing and copies of the book will also be available for purchase. This event was extremely popular last year, so arrive early!
  • Geri will be teaching a Human Resource Development course for the University of Michigan: Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction, on Wed., Sept. 29, 2010, 9am-12 noon. The course is available to all UM faculty and staff. For more information, click here.


Goofs and Glitches

The goofs we hear about at MYM usually provide rueful chuckles at the many ways in which distraction can cause glitches in daily life. Not funny at all was a recent news item about a successful California plastic surgeon who lost his life because he accidentally drove off a steep coastal road in Malibu (news story). Dr. Frank Ryan, who had stopped with his dog to hike near the road, was apparently texting to his Twitter account right before the accident. Police are investigating whether these texts or some other distraction might have caused Ryan to plunge his car off the cliff. Apparently, it cannot be said too often: drivers must focus their attention on the road at all times. This may require animal companions to be secured away from the driver—and it certainly requires that texting and other such uses of electronics be postponed until the vehicle is parked.

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


It Works for Me

Which parts of your job or home duties do you find most tedious? How often do you procrastinate working on these chores? For instance, you might resist filing invoices, writing thank-you notes, or updating your calendar software. Geri and her colleague Chris Bidlack of Bidlack Creative Group were commiserating about the routine paperwork that both of them hate when they came upon the brilliant idea of “parallel work.” The term is adapted from “parallel play,” which occurs when very young children pursue their own activities, but do so companionably near other children who also engaged in their own activities.

For adults, an unpleasant task can become more pleasant when accompanied by social support—and some really excellent coffee. Now, Geri packs up a stack of papers and her laptop once a week and brings them to Chris’ office. Each tackles their own least-favorite jobs while inspiring and encouraging the other to meet their goals. They interact just enough to spur each other on without causing distraction or loss of productivity. Who can you team up with to attack those boring-but-necessary tasks? Finding a “parallel work” partner might just ease the isolation and help you focus and stay on track. Like Geri and Chris, you might even plow through your in-basket before the coffee runs out!


Strategies for Success

With September upon us, changing schedules and changing sunlight levels can lead to fatigue, a critical factor in performance. Being consistently short of sleep leaves you grouchy, inattentive, and inefficient. It’s easy to get trapped in a vicious cycle of falling behind, staying up late to finish tasks, and losing even more sleep. No brain can go from 60 to 0 when it hits the pillow. Everyone in the household needs to transition to more effective, fall-appropriate bedtime rituals. Consider Tip #78 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: "Create a nighttime routine that includes activities like taking a warm bath, meditating, listening to music, writing in a journal, or reading. Find something that allows you to relax and let go of the day’s hectic activities.” To read about a busy working mom who did just that, visit O Magazine. She found that getting a full night’s sleep resulted in productivity gains that more than made up for the extra time in bed.



Student/Parent Corner

The transition from high school to college is difficult for many students, but for students with AD/HD and/or learning disabilities, it can be catastrophic. Symptoms like distractibility, impulsivity, procrastination, perfectionism, poor organization, slow reading rate, and lack of advanced reading, learning or test taking strategies can lead to feelings of frustration and failure. Students may not realize the amount of parent, teacher, and/or tutor support and structure they received in the past in order to graduate or earn high grades. Regardless of how bright and motivated they are, many post-secondary students with AD/HD fail because they are unprepared for the rigors of college life: they lack the self-management and coping skills required to meet the new academic challenges presented.

Here are 10 steps for College Students with AD/HD and/or Learning Disabilities to take to prevent common problems and ensure a smooth transition to college.

  1. Assume responsibility for your own success by making a plan. Know your strengths and fully acknowledge your challenges. Write goals and review your progress.
  2. Develop a support network. Use campus, community, and online resources to connect with others who understand your challenges. Consider tutoring or coaching.
  3. Engage in self-advocacy. Meet regularly with your instructors and counselors. Know your needs and ask for appropriate accommodations.
  4. Meet academic responsibilities. Go to class. Schedule your study time and take advantage of times and locations when you are most alert and focused.
  5. Establish schedules and routines. Review the syllabus for each class. Schedule the dates for all tests, papers, reports, and projects on a semester calendar.
  6. Use advanced reading, memory, note-taking, and test-taking strategies, taking into account your academic strengths, interests, and vulnerabilities.
  7. Use self-regulation strategies to manage thoughts, behavior, time, and tasks. Be specific about how to replace “bad” study habits with positive ones.
  8. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: eat nourishing food, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid addictive behaviors.
  9. Be proactive and avoid crises. Expect the inevitable ups and downs. Don’t deny academic warning signs like low quiz grades or late/missing assignments.
  10. Have an emergency plan in place in case a crisis develops. Deal actively with academic or emotional problems immediately--ask your support network for help.



  • 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:

  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake: an ambitious historical novel set in 1940, chronicling the lives of three women on both sides of the Atlantic during WWII. The distinctions between war and peace, battlefront and home front become blurred as secrets and desperation affect each of the characters.


Best wishes for a relaxing Labor Day and a successful new academic year!

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