If you’ve ever had a neuropsychological evaluation done, you’re probably familiar with the term “executive functioning”. EF affects people with Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, and others with asynchronous development by impairing their ability to function in various ways. Those who have deficits in executive functioning struggle daily with the skills necessary for achieving life’s goals.
Further, these cognitive processes have a huge impact on the success of self-management and self-regulation in all settings. From the time we wake up, to the time we go to bed at night, all of our actions involve these processes, e.g., planning our day, managing our time, prioritizing, etc.
I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and I’m pretty sure that I have issues with weak executive functioning. (I can’t formally confirm the condition of EF as of yet, but there’s definitely a processing glitch going on.)
What seems to be happening with me is that EF type problems are thrown into the mix of being analytical, a perfectionist, as well as being stuck in “hyperfocus” mode (spectrumites: can you relate?).
For example, it takes me forever to complete a task as I normally get stuck with the process involved in implementing. And I recognize that I spend more than enough time analyzing things while trying to figure out what steps to take as I (painstakingly) move towards the end result.
But of course, to the casual observer, it appears as if I’m not accomplishing anything at all. It’s just that the implementation of whatever task I’m working on is progressing at a snail’s pace probably because of the combination of these complexities.
In general, I’ve found that by implementing the following simple strategies, it’s easier to navigate on a daily basis. So, here are a few tips to help anyone (with EF weaknesses) maximize productivity.
- Use daily “To-Do” lists that are organized by priorities.
- Calendars and Day Planners are very useful.
- For tasks, do them one at a time, as opposed to multi-tasking. This helps to minimize the amount of unfinished tasks, and also, with time management issues.
- Regarding lengthy projects, break each one apart into manageable parts.
- Allow sufficient ample time to prepare for various deadlines.
- Place all the stuff needed for the next day in a tote/messenger bag right in front (or on the side) of the main door used for exiting. Don’t forget to note on the “To-Do” list- Prepare the tote bag the evening before.
As for those of you who are also interested in intervention or treatment, there are cognitive remediation therapies for EF and I do believe that God often works through (medical) interventions.
With that said, out of curiosity, I briefly explored related therapeutic programs through searching the internet and came across the computer-based Cogmed approach. I’m not sure if it’s effective or not, as I would still need to do a thorough research on this product. However, personally, I would consider trying this type of remediation if I found that it’s truly effective, and also, affordable.
If you have experience using Cogmed’s training program, please feel free to share your experience or thoughts.
(Image courtesy of Mr. Lightman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)