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
September 2011

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 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.



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.

Here in the newsletter, MYM will continue to provide announcements as well as information and tips on memory, time management, and organization. Features will be grouped into two new, expanded sections, the first of which is Managing Your Academic Mind, 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 second section will be Life Management, which 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

  • Visit the new online headquarters of College Admissions Advisors, the trio behind Solving the College Admissions Puzzle: A Guide for Students and Families About College Selection, Essay Writing and High-Stakes Testing. Geri, John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., and Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., now offer one convenient website where you can purchase the book, contact them about coaching services and follow their blog.
  • Geri will be presenting "Family Balance in an Unbalanced World" to the Huron Valley Parents of Multiples support group at 7pm on September 14, 2011 at Peace Lutheran Church, 8260 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor, MI. The group has a membership of approximately 130 families, including families with twins, triplets, and one set of quads. If anyone knows about distraction, it's got to be parents of multiples!
  • Great news from the University of Michigan: there will be plenty of room for everybody at this year's National AD/HD Awareness Week Event on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.The venue has been moved to spacious Rackham Auditorium, so please plan to attend and bring your friends, family, and colleagues. The 2011 guest speaker will be Kevin Roberts, author of Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap (Hazelden, $14.95 paper, 200p, ISBN 9781592859481).
    • Internet addiction, a growing, international issue, has particularly severe implications for individuals already facing the challenges of AD/HD and other conditions. Kevin, who was our Featured Resource in the June - July 2008 MYM Newsletter, is an AD/HD coach and a mentor to those struggling with online gaming addiction. For more information on Kevin and his book, visit
    • Please help MYM and UM spread the word about this valuable presentation: feel free to print out, post and/or forward the event flyer for locations such as relevant newsletters, event calendars, office locations and bulletin boards. Thank you for helping to spread the word.
  • The annual Michael Golds Memorial ADHD Conference will take place September 23, 2011 at Oakland Community College, Orchard Ridge Campus, Farmington Hills, MI. This gathering of ADHD experts, educators, affected persons and their families honors the memory of a young man who struggled with AD/HD but who eventually became very academically successful.This year's keynote speaker will be Steve Peer, President of CHADD, on the topic "ADHD through the Lifespan." Geri's colleagues, Isabelle Beaulieu, Ph.D., and Roger Lauer, Ph.D., will present "May I Have Your Attention Please: Improve Your Working Memory (WM)." Further information about sessions and registration is available at the conference link above.
  • Geri will be presenting Advanced Reading Skills for Graduate Students at the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School on October 13, 2011, 4-6 pm.
  • Ann Arbor area workshop: "Teens Using Drugs: What To Know and What To Do" is a FREE, ongoing, two-part series designed to help participants learn to understand, identify and address adolescent alcohol/other drug problems. Part 1 is presented on the first Tuesday of each month from October through June, provides information on how to understand and recognize the signs of a teen substance abuse problem, and includes a short video. Part 2 is presented on the second Tuesday of each month from October through June, provides information on what should and should not be done when a teen substance abuse problem is recognized, and concludes with an open talk by a teen speaker in recovery. The series is presented by Ronald E. Harrison, and is co-sponsored by Dawn Farm, the Livingston/Washtenaw Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Consortium, and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System Greenbrook Recovery Center. Open to all; registration is not required. For information, please contact us at (734) 973-7892 or, or see


Goofs and Glitches

Last month, Geri had to make a trip to the emergency room with a family member--always a stressful experience. Fortunately, the situation was easily remedied, but it did take time. Once things had settled down, a trip to the ladies' room was necessary. The single-use stall was quite grubby and there were no purse-hooks or shelves in the space. Geri is all too aware of the prevalence of hospital-based infections, so she did not want to set her purse on the dirty floor. Delaying bathroom use was not an option, and she was eager to return to her loved one, so she hastily set the purse on the edge of the sink.

However, just as she assumed the most vulnerable of positions, the bulky bag triggered the automatic sensor and the faucet sent a stream of water whooshing into the center of the purse. First came the awkward scramble to move the purse away from the flowing sink, then there was the mess of spilled water all over the floor! People were already pounding on the door to use the facilities, so Geri frantically tried to sop up the mess with flimsy, paper hand towels from the dispenser. Good thing the technological advancements didn't extend to an automatic hand-dryer, as well, or there would have been no way to rescue the iTouch, cell phone, business cards, medications, etc. Don't let distraction melt your aspirin: stay aware of your surroundings and watch out for automatic-sensor appliances!

Automatic, Hands-Free Sink

Thoroughly-Rinsed Purse Contents

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


Life Management

At some point in nearly every career, continuing education will be a necessity. Doctors and engineers face licensing exams, teachers have to accumulate credits every few years, technicians need certificates to use new processes or equipment, and so on. In a good economy, employers may be generous enough to cover both the costs and the time off required for such training and certification. These days, however, more workers and job seekers are forced to shell out their own money to take preparation and instructional courses--and they often have to fit these courses on top of their regular schedules and responsibilities. Therefore, many people turn to accelerated learning programs: "boot camps," short courses, compressed semesters or weekend learning. These sessions are expensive, stressful and physically exhausting. For example, one university runs an off-site summer program for teachers in which a class that normally takes four months is packed into 10 consecutive, full days. A review course for a medical board specialty licensing exam lasts 5 days, runs from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM, and includes evening discussions. Most of these courses end with--or are soon followed by--a high-stakes examination. How can participants organize their time and energy to get the most out of educational situations like these? Click here for 10 tips that can help.


Featured Resources

So, you're 15 years old and your high school French teacher has just given you a list of over 100 vocabulary words to memorize. What to do? How about coding and launching your own flashcard website, and then watching it grow into a web-wide teaching/learning sensation? That's what happened to Andrew Sutherland, who is now a college student and the president of his own company, Quizlet . Quizlet allows users to create their own flashcards or to access cards submitted by other users. Programs on the site present the information in various modes so that students can familiarize themselves with the material, play learning games, and test themselves on their progress. Flashcards are available for a wide variety of subjects and standardized tests. One caveat: users should make sure that data provided by others is accurate and relevant to their own class notes and course requirements. The site is free but contains advertising; users may also choose to register for a fee in order to avoid ads and gain access to some additional features.



  • New Book New publication: "365 Secrets of Study Success: A Tip a Day Gets an "A." Geri's amassed a tip a day with motivating quotes for secondary and post secondary students. When students learn how to learn, they can show what they know on tests, papers, projects and presentations. Now available in print or download versions. A perfect gift for the college bound student!
  • 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! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in Solving the College Admissions Puzzle: a Guide for Students and Families About College Selection, Essay Writing and High-Stakes Testing 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 is now 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, which was a Finalist for the USA Book News Best Books 2009 Award, 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:

  • A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss: mystery and intrigue fans will enjoy this New York Times Notable book by an Edgar Award-winning author. Inspired by Liss' Columbia University doctoral dissertation on personal finance, the storyline involves the machinations within 18th century-England's emerging financial world of stock trading, government issues and lotteries. The protagonist is Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and ex-boxer, who is hired to conduct a murder investigation. Readers of today will experience a sense of deja vu as Weaver moves around and within the uncertain world of English financiers and stock jobbers: the developing stock market even undergoes a massive crash as the "South Sea Bubble" bursts. If you get hooked, you can move on to the sequel, A Spectacle of Corruption, which follows Weaver through the decades following the South Sea Bubble.


Get outdoors for a walk or a bike ride: take in that refreshing, September air!

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