What are these skills you speak of?
“Executive functioning skills” is a term that is used to describe our brain’s ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks. Brain functions such as short-term memory, mental flexibility, and self-control are all involved in these types of tasks. In your day to day life, this means that you are capable of developing strong executive functioning skills if your brain does well with remembering, being able to shift gears or “think outside of the box,” and being self-aware enough to enable you to control impulses and adjust your actions when change is helpful. If you are lucky enough to have strong executive functioning skills you will more easily develop the ability to:
- Find things when you need them rather than spending half of your planned task activity just trying to locate the items that you need.
- Keep track of tasks that need to get taken care of or appointments/dates to keep instead of constantly needing to apologize for forgetting to do things or show up when you promised to.
- Prioritize things that are the most important over accomplishing other perhaps the easier ones…or the ones that are less tedious…or the ones that just happen to be in front of your face (I call these rabbit holes…a major weakness of mine, I go down rabbit holes all the time. My professional husband also uses the term, “project creep” when he is encouraging me to avoid it and stay on task. ).
- Chunk/plan out long term projects so that you can gather the necessary materials and then work on them gradually rather than leaving it all to the last minute.
- Estimate how long a task will take, fairly accurately, so that as you plan things in your schedule or on your “To Do” list, you have reasonable expectations of yourself rather than expecting yourself to have 8 hands and 2 brains and then feel like a failure when you don’t accomplish everything on your list.
Life stress can test and strain our normal coping skills. Sometimes the stress comes from normal life events like the loss of a parent, getting married, or changing jobs. Other times, the stress can come from the conflict we feel between living our lives by expressing the “true selves” we feel in our hearts and our fears that we will not be accepted by others for who we are. Chronic pain, the shadow of emotional trauma from past abuse, pressures that come from our complicated, modern lives…it all can get to be overwhelming.
As this site grows, you will find resources to help you better understand some of the struggles you are going through, to not feel so alone, and ideas for how you can move forward through the more challenging times in your life while reaching out to others, friends, and family (and/or therapist if you need) for support. Be sure to check out the How to Use This Site page to get you familiar with how resources are organized on the site. For those of you who would rather just jump in without an instruction manual, you can either search for key terms or move your mouse over Resource Index by Topic in the top menu bar and jump right in!