Have you ever wondered how some people seem to have it all together? They can juggle multiple projects, keep track of deadlines, and always have a plan for the next step. Well, they probably have good executive functioning skills. Executive functioning is a fancy way of saying the ability to manage your brain and your behavior. It involves things like planning, organizing, prioritizing, and completing tasks. Without executive functioning, we would be like a ship without a rudder, wandering around and bumping into things. Executive functioning is what helps us set goals, make decisions, and solve problems. It also helps us control our impulses, emotions, and attention. Executive functioning is not something you are born with or without. It is a set of skills that develop over time, starting from childhood and continuing into adulthood. Some people may have more challenges with executive functioning than others, due to genetics, environment, or other factors. But the good news is that executive functioning can be improved with practice and support. In this blog post, I will share some tips and strategies on how to boost your executive functioning skills and become more productive, efficient, and successful in life.
Good executive functioning skills include:
Inhibitory control: the ability to resist distractions, impulses, and habits, and to think before acting.
Working memory: the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind for short periods of time.
Cognitive flexibility: the ability to switch between different tasks, perspectives, or rules, and to adapt to changing situations.
People with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning, which can affect their academic, professional, and personal lives. For example, they may have difficulty starting or finishing projects, following instructions, managing time, keeping track of belongings, or regulating their emotions. However, executive functioning challenges are not insurmountable.
Here are 4 Key strategies that people with ADHD can use to improve their executive functioning skills and cope with their difficulties:
Medication: Some medications for ADHD can help improve executive functioning by reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. However, medication alone is not enough, as it does not teach skills or habits. It is important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication and to monitor its effects and side effects.
Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can help people with ADHD change their negative thoughts and behaviors that interfere with their executive functioning. CBT can also help them develop coping skills, such as problem-solving, goal-setting, self-monitoring, and self-rewarding.
Skill-building: There are many activities and exercises that can help people with ADHD practice and strengthen their executive functioning skills. For example: Memory games like Concentration or Sudoku can help improve working memory by requiring players to remember and manipulate information. Puzzles or brain teasers can help improve cognitive flexibility by requiring players to switch between different strategies or perspectives.
Accommodation: Sometimes, people with ADHD may need some support services in their work or school setting to help them overcome their executive functioning challenges. For example, they may benefit from written or verbal reminders or checklists for tasks, Organizational tools like planners, calendars, timers, or apps, A mentor or coach who can provide guidance and feedback.
Executive functioning is like a muscle. It’s not set in stone, and you can make it stronger with practice and support. People with ADHD can flex their executive functioning muscles by using the strategies mentioned above and by seeking help from family members, or friends when needed. Lumita Wellness can provide the support needed through their experienced and certified Psychotherapists.