What I’ve Read Lately: ACTIONS Against Distractions

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“ACTIONS Against Distractions: Managing Your Scattered, Disorganized, and Forgetful Mind”
by: Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.

Available Here (Not an affiliation link)

jtpedersen_Actions Against Distraction_Geraldine_Markel_Defeat_Demons_StrategiesA few weeks ago, an acquaintance (Geraldine) asked if I would consider reviewing her book.  The topic is an item of personal interest.  Not sure about you, but I constantly am leading a war against the distractions in my life.

Geraldine is an educational psychologist and coach.  Her focus is assisting individuals, leaders, and teams to perform better, faster, and with less stress—at any point in their lives (personal, professional).  ACTIONS Against Distraction, is Geraldine’s second book combatting the demons of distraction. She points out she uses ‘demons’ as a effort to be amusing, while also addressing the negative factors we all face.

From the Preface, ACTIONS is focused on helping you:

  • Discover your strengths and vulnerabilities
  • Inspire a transition from ‘good intention’ to ‘effective action’
  • Gain and maintain improved attention, memory, and organization
  • Enjoy greater peace of mind and life satisfaction*

These are the demons ACTIONS focuses on:

  • Technology
  • Others
  • Activities
  • Spaces
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Illness/Medication
  • unruly Mind
  • Maintenance, Meltdowns, and Peacefulness

Reading the book cover-to-cover, I discovered that Geraldine uses a consistent set of tactics, or steps, for each demon.  She starts with a review and description of what the demon is, and it’s consequences.  Typically a short story is interspersed throughout.

After making sure you understand the demon, if you didn’t already, she provides a self-check. The self-check is a checklist of symptoms you can check-off, based on your life.  The goal is to let you objectively assess, perhaps more honestly than before, how strongly the particular demon’s affliction may be for you.

Ok, I can hear it now. Check-lists, what a waste of my time.  I know what my issues are.   To which I would respond: Really?  If someone were to ask you what your Top 10 distractions were, how long would it take you to build the list, let alone flesh out details underlying each specific distraction?  The lists are useful in helping you more fully grasp just what the impact of each distraction may be.

Having constructively defined the particular affliction, she then leads you through a process of defining Positive Outcomes.  For instance, if your Technology demon is spending too much time playing games on your iPhone, an effective action may be to schedule a ‘no-tech’ period each day, with the positive outcome of being more productive.

The example may seem simplistically silly.  And, I think many of our worst personal distractions are just that.  But, when was the last time you took action to address them?  It is this process of reviewing the problem, identifying it clearly, and leading you to determine a solution, that delivers the reader value.

Here’s what I found key to getting the most out of this book…

Yes, you can read the book cover-to-cover.  I did it in order to do a complete review.  However each of us knows what our principal shortcomings are.  Your best value is to read the opening chapters, then just focus on the chapters for the specific demons you want to conquer.

The structure for handling each demon is the same.  Tackle one demon, then go back for another, and then another.

This is a book almost everyone can gain value from.  I thank Geraldine for giving me an opportunity to review it.