Have you been diagnosed with executive function disorder?
Individuals who have abnormal executive function symptoms may feel frustrated, alone, and misunderstood. Many people don’t yet comprehend this disorder, including some professionals who work in the medical and behavioral health industry.
Executive function disorder often gets lumped into the same category as Attention Deficit Disorder. And, while the two do share some similarities, there are also traits which distinguish them from one another.
Learning how to cope with executive dysfunction symptoms can be vital for individuals who struggle with symptoms.
Read on to learn 10 strategies and exercises to help you deal effectively with executive function disorder!
What Is Executive Function Disorder?
According to statistics, 90% of people with ADHD exhibit symptoms of executive function disorder.
However, one doesn’t need to have symptoms of both disorders to have executive function disorder. It’s possible to have either one of these diagnoses or the other, without having both diagnoses simultaneously.
Executive function disorder is the inability to organize and regulate behavior to achieve long-term goals.
Executive functioning refers to the cognitive and mental abilities to engage in goal-directed action. When an individual is impaired in this area, they have trouble with planning, problem-solving, self-restraint, self-awareness, and retaining memory.
Individuals with executive functioning impairment often have trouble fulfilling their day-to-day responsibilities.
They may find that school, work, and other regular daily activities pose an extraordinary challenge when comparing their efforts with others.
10 Exercises & Strategies to Assist With Abnormal Executive Functioning
If you struggle with symptoms of executive function disorder, there are some exercises and strategies that might help.
1. Maintain a Daily To-Do List
Many people, even those with normal executive functioning, can benefit from keeping a list of daily tasks that they must meet. However, for individuals with executive function disorder, a daily to-do list is practically essential.
Make a habit of beginning each day with a list of priorities. Include a list of immediate things to do, as well as things that need your attention in the near future.
Your daily to-do list will help you to stay on track throughout the day and ensure that you are taking care of your most important responsibilities.
As you complete each task, you may want to check or cross the item off your list. This will provide a visual aid of your daily accomplishments, and might also encourage you as you move from task to task.
2. Take Notes
Always keep a pen and notebook in hand.
This strategy comes in handy when you attend doctor appointments or meetings. But, it can also be a useful tool when you are alone. Whenever you think of something you need to remember, write it down.
For many people who struggle with executive function disorder, keeping up with a notebook is easier than keeping track of their own thoughts.
3. Plan Ahead
Mapping out a plan for the month, week, and day is a must-do.
Keep a calendar posted where it is visible to remind you of important dates and appointments throughout the month. Then, use a day-planner to track your week. Include your bills, as well as phone calls and emails to return or send.
The more that you can remind yourself of important tasks, the less likely you will be to forget them. And, this is a huge fear, and struggle area, for those with executive function disorder.
4. Wrap Up Each Day With a Daily Review
At the end of each day, conduct a daily review. This will help you succinctly wrap up the day, as well as plan for the next.
If you have any items that need your immediate attention, make a note to remind you to prioritize these items.
5. Be Accountable
According to research, maintaining regular accountability to another person can increase our odds of successfully reaching our goals to 95%.
While the percentile might be slightly lower for those with an executive functioning disorder, the principle remains the same.
Choose someone who you trust to share your goals.
Not only will you feel more challenged to meet your goals, but an accountability partner can also serve to remind you of important events and due-dates that you might otherwise forget.
6. Set Reminders
Whether you choose to use a phone alarm, a timer, or another device, it can be helpful to give yourself some sort of reminder throughout your day.
You may correlate your schedule with alarms to help you stay on track. This can even be a productive way of reminding you when it’s time to change tasks as you go on with your day.
7. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Time-management tends to be a problem for those with executive function disorder.
You can help remedy your struggle against the clock by giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for upcoming items on your daily itinerary.
8. Practice Makes Perfect
Although perfect may be a stretch, practice certainly doesn’t hurt. Role-playing prior to important conversations and meetings can help to prepare you for when the time arrives.
When you start your day, or when you are feeling overwhelmed, meditation can help you to center your mind.
Deep-breathing and meditation exercises can be monumental when we feel anxious or forgetful.
If you begin to feel angst creeping in, take a moment to re-center and balance yourself. Then, you can re-emerge with a more focused, calm state of mind to complete your day.
10. Ask For Help When You Need It
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to ask for help. When you feel like you are incapable or unable to tackle the tasks at hand, a little encouragement from another person can go a long way.
Before letting things reel out of control, reach out to another friend, family or co-worker for help. Often times, they are more than happy to help you get back to where you need to be.
Need Help Managing Your Symptoms?
If you’re managing symptoms of executive function disorder, we can help.
Contact us today for help with abnormal executive functioning!