by Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.
Managing Your Mind; $18.95
Purchase Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction
In her latest book, psychologist and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) coach Geraldine Markel identifies eight “Demons of Distraction,” and offers strategies for overcoming them at home and in the workplace. Although ADDers will find much that’s relevant, the disorder is mentioned only in the introduction and conclusion. I, for one, was delighted to discover that these eight demons, which certainly lurk in my shadows, are also problems for people who don’t have ADHD!
Since Dr. Markel gives us permission to “start with the problem you are most interested in,” I read the Technology Demon chapter first. As she suggests, I went into “Electronic Lockdown,” ignoring the lure of the Internet, e-mail, my PDA’s beeping, and my phone (after checking caller ID). I admit it may have been wiser to investigate why the PDA was beeping, but I managed to read the entire book, and take notes, in one evening and an afternoon. Thanks, Dr. Markel.
The well-organized, short chapters make the book reader-friendly. Each chapter tells us why a specific distraction occurs, includes real-life examples, and offers strategies to prevent or reduce the distraction. Markel ends each chapter with a “Demon Busters” summary.
In her concluding “plan of attack,” Markel asks, “Will you defeat or be defeated by the eight demons of distraction? It’s up to you.” If you are armed with the strategies in this book, it is indeed.
Author Q&A: Geraldine Markel
Q: How did you identify the eight demons of distraction you covered in this book? They came out of the extensive speaking and training I’ve conducted in corporate settings. The same distractions were mentioned again and again by managers and staff when I asked what was interfering, at a deep level, with their productivity.
Q: Who did you want this book to speak to—adult ADDers, or a wider audience? I wanted to reach the everyday person who feels bombarded, all day long, by distractions. Whether the person has ADD, is highly stressed, or has taken a new job, these distractions keep her from focusing on goals.
Q: Which demon presents the biggest difficulties for ADDers? The Technology Demon. We’ve made strides in understanding how the ADD mind works in fine-tuning medications and in dealing with environment. But this demon is everywhere. ADD adults often hyperfocus on technology. They get addicted to games or online shopping.
Q: The activity demon haunts ADDers through the holidays. How can we tame it? It’s about avoiding inappropriate multitasking, knowing how to say no. Maybe just sit down with somebody, get help with planning a reasonable number of activities. No matter what you do, you’ll be dealing with increased activity and stress. Knowing that, prepare to use some minor stress-management strategies. For some people, it’s as simple as taking two breaks during the day to breathe and stretch.