What are Executive Functions?

Executive function is the cognitive process that organizes thoughts and activities, prioritizes tasks, manages time efficiently, and makes decisions. Executive function skills are the skills that help us establish structures and strategies for managing projects and determine the actions required to move each project forward. Individuals with executive dysfunction often struggle to analyze, plan, organize, schedule, and complete tasks at all — or on deadline. They misplace materials, prioritize the wrong things, and get overwhelmed by big projects. (https://www.additudemag.com/7-executive-function-deficits-linked-to-adhd/)

People who have difficulties with their executive functions are at times diagnosed with EXECUTIVE DYSFUNCTION or Executive Function Deficit Disorder (EFDD). All people with ADHD have difficulties with executive functions to some extent, but there are other people who also have difficulties with executive functions that do not have ADHD and can benefit from coaching.

Executive Function Skills include:

  • impulse control

  • emotional regulation

  • task-initiation

  • flexible thinking

  • planning and problem solving (planning solutions to problems)

  • self-awareness / monitoring

  • self-control / inhibition

  • working memory (nonverbal working memory is the ability to hold visual images in your mind and verbal working memory is internal dialogue and your ability to recall what you've heard)

  • time management

  • organization

  • successful completion of tasks (can you initiate and maintain the task through to completion even when there is no immediate consequence or reward?)