Tips to Improve Executive Functioning Skills
Though there are several common themes or traits, ADHD manifests differently in every person. One fairly common trait is the inability to remember when work is due. To a parent, this often looks like procrastination or laziness. However, it can be better explained by a deficit in the underlying executive functioning skills – which time management and working memory encompass.
Time management includes one’s ability to feel the passing of time and the pressure of impending deadlines. If you have poor time management, you may simply not feel any urgency to get things done because the future always feels far away.
Working memory allows people to store things in their heads and reorder those things. If you have a poor working memory, you may think you can remember all of your homework, but those items are not in your head.
Practical Tips to Help Executive Functioning
Combined together, poor time management and poor working memory will lead students to procrastinate, miss deadlines, and generally have a low awareness of what they need to get done.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to solve these issues. However, we use several tools and strategies to combat these deficits.
Externalize time by adding more clocks to your room and your house.
Set daily reminders on your phone at certain times (like 5 pm or 7:30 pm) as a reminder to check your task list.
Use calendar reminders in Google Calendar or Outlook.
Find a planner or to-do list that works for you (there are many different types out there). You could try a hand-written one, sticky notes, index cards, a typed one, a planner book, or many other options.
Try a task-keeping app like AnyList or Asana.
Print several copies of your to-do list and place them in annoyingly obvious areas, like your bathroom mirror or your door handle. Find places that you cannot avoid looking at.
Write your most important to-dos on an index card and tape them to the back of your phone.
Write an email to yourself with reminders about your open tasks.
Break down bigger/complex projects into smaller, discrete tasks. Write those tasks on index cards. Tape those index cards to your desk.
Enlist a friend, tutor, or coach to help keep you accountable for daily and weekly tasks. Ask them to text you reminders of things to work on.
We help our clients with executive functioning skills! Contact us to learn more about how we can help your student be well organized for the coming school year.
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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