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Practicing Executive Functioning and Setting Goals

Today, many students feel lost in the endless assignments and tasks they receive at school. They struggle to manage the time they have in order to complete everything. As a result, many students feel unmotivated, ashamed, apathetic, and even resentful. Developing executive functioning and setting goals are critical to success in school. It will also prepare them for adult life.

Executive functioning is a set of skills that are learned to operate in an effective and efficient manner. This includes planning ahead, delaying immediate gratification, staying focused, being organized, and following instructions.

Some tips for practicing executive functioning:

  • Try keeping a detailed calendar of all the things that need to get done. Revisit the calendar at least once a day, even if it is just for a brief two minutes. Edit the calendar whenever something changes in your future plans.

  • Try dedicating a folder for each class. Have one pocket for things to "turn in" and the other pocket for things "to do." Use the middle sections (with dividers) for notes, handouts, and past assignments. Be intentional about putting papers in order from the day you receive them.

  • Before engaging in fun activities like video games, ask yourself, "Have I done all that I need to do today?" If you can’t remember, revisit your calendar. Are there assignments you can get ahead on? Are there tests you could be studying for?

  • Don't leave the classroom until you are sure about the details of any and all assignments that are given, and make sure that they are put properly in the correct folder.

Tips for setting goals:

  • Make the goals attainable and reasonable. Nothing is more demoralizing than setting the bar unrealistically high and not even coming close to accomplishing the goal.

  • Have subgoals. If the main goal is to complete a six-page paper in a week, then the subgoals could be to complete a page a day. This allows one day to be a make-up day, a rest day, or a get-ahead day.

  • Dedicate time to accomplish your goals. In your calendar, write down times you can work on assignments. When those times come, focus only on those assignments.

  • Have small breaks. It is good to have rest periods of 5-10 minutes to rest and refresh your mind.

  • Reward yourself. After working hard to accomplish a goal, it is important to reward yourself with playtime, personal time, etc.

A few good things to do every day are to make your bed, clean your room, and accomplish at least one non-school-related task. This helps develop the habits and mindset of a goal-oriented student.

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If you need academic help, executive functioning support, or general advice for your student, please do not hesitate to give us a call! (214) 444-3431 Sam Barnes, Owner and Center Director

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