Some research shows that executive functioning may better predict success than IQ.
The 12 areas of executive functioning are:
1. METACOGNITION (SELF-AWARENESS)
2. INHIBITION (SELF-CONTROL)
3. WORKING MEMORY (SHORT-TERM MEMORY TO APPLY OR COMPLETE A TASK)
4. EMOTIONAL REGULATION (SELF-CONTROL, IMPULSE CONTROL)
5. MOTIVATION REGULATION
8. PLANNING (TIME MANAGEMENT)
10. TASK INITIATION
11. PERSEVERANCE (STICK-TO-IT-IVE-NESS)
Strategies For Improving Executive Function
A general rule: start incorporating changes one step at a time.
Eating a healthy diet will improve brain function at all levels (avocado, fish oil, leafy greens, colorful veggies, berries, tea/coffee, walnuts, fermented foods, and dark chocolate).
Physical exercise carries blood and oxygen to your brain, improving brain health and function.
Mind management is critical for healthy brain function (mental detox, stopping negative and pessimistic thinking, forgiveness, etc.)
1. METACOGNITION (self-awareness)
iv. Learning style
b. Detail of future life and self.
c. Define current priorities (family, physical, social, financial, spiritual, professional).
d. Define preferences, boundaries, and needs.
e. Assess professional and personal relationships.
2. INHIBITION (self-control, impulse control)
a. Practice mindfulness (focus on your body, movements, feelings, and thoughts …)
b. Always ask the “What then?” question.
c. Ask yourself if this helps you attain your goals.
d. Games like solitaire (without quitting or cheating!)
e. Martial arts
3. WORKING MEMORY (short-term memory to apply or complete a task)
a. Use chunking.
b. Memory games/exercises.
c. Develop mnemonics for important tasks.
4. EMOTIONAL REGULATION
a. Deep breathing.
b. Self-soothing (havening, affirmations, music …).
c. Take a time out.
d. Take a walk.
e. Challenge negative thoughts with positive truth.
f. Verify assumptions.
g. Kindness meditation/prayer.
5. MOTIVATIONAL REGULATION
a. Choose your context (environment, friends, influencers).
b. Define rewards (celebrate effort, bigger rewards for bigger goals).
c. Be your own cheerleader.
d. Do what you dread first.
e. Quick breathing exercise.
a. Be alert for opportunities throughout the day to be flexible (a different route, a spontaneous lunch date ...).
b. Be intentional about stress management.
c. Take a “this will work for my good” attitude.
a. Create to-do lists for tasks.
b. Think aloud.
c. Do a brain dump with sticky notes that can be rearranged easily.
d. Have a calendar on your home page that orders your time (daily, weekly, monthly).
e. Keep your environment (room, house, office …) simply furnished with as little surface space as possible.
f. Have minimal décor where you need to work or think. (Clear/clean room = clear/clean mind.)
g. Develop SMART goals together and revisit them often.
h. Start the day mentally going through the schedule.
8. PLANNING (time management)
a. Create to-do lists.
b. Develop SMART goals and revisit them often.
c. Have a calendar on your home page that orders your time (daily, weekly, monthly).
d. Mentally go through the day’s plan.
e. Develop a daily routine and commit to keeping it.
f. Do a task immediately if it takes less than 3 minutes.
a. Brain puzzles (sudoku, crosswords …)
b. Chess, Word problems (like in school)
c. Analyze current events and consider possible solutions.
d. Find a friend who is safe to brainstorm with or debate various topics with.
e. Do a brain dump with sticky notes that can be rearranged easily.
10. TASK INITIATION
a. Chunk your tasks (either time chunking or task chunking).
b. Revisit SMART goals often.
c. Do what you dread first.
d. Start the day planning how you will manage your to-do list.
11. PERSEVERANCE (stick-to-it-ive-ness)
a. Use rewards for effort (a simple smile, acknowledgment, or self-high-five is great).
b. Have an accountability partner/group.
c. Start and complete one task (or chunk) before starting another.
a. Give your brain a rest when you feel mental fatigue.
b. Mindfulness (hyper-focus on details of self and environment).
d. Games like Simon Says or Memory.
If you want to learn more about improving brain functioning, let’s talk! Book a free discovery call here.
Thanks for reading!
Remember – tg, I’d be grateful if you’d share it. Thank you!