We continue our review of the Executive Functions of our mind. Social scientists have named 8 executive functions and describe them as, “skills for life and learning.” While a large chunk of the literature is written about the importance of and how-to of teaching children these skills, it is vital for adults to check in and ask ourselves, “How are my Executive Functions?”
Think of an air traffic controller – constantly taking in data while sorting, organizing and making sense of it, at the same time managing their emotions in order to make quick and critical decisions. There is a little bit of air traffic controller in all of us…there’s a lot going on and our Executive Function skills enable us to function well in the chaos.
Last week we talked about Flexibility – the ability to shift directions when new information is received.
This week let’s review the two separate Executive Functions that deal with Organization:
1) Planning and Organization – defined as the ability to manage current and future-oriented tasks and demands. Closely connected to boundaries – can you say Yes to what you need to say Yes to, and No to what you need to say No to?
2) Organization of Materials – defined as the ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces. Closely connected to managing paperwork, which is one of the “Forgotten Four.”
You probably know people who you would call “born organized.” And, it’s easy to think, “I am (or not) an organized person, or I do (or not) like to plan so this doesn’t apply to me.” Not so fast….
We all get through our day due to a certain amount of planning and organizing – including our time, demands, tasks, and our physical spaces. And, we all have places in our lives that would be less stressful if we applied more planning and organizing to them.
We are bombarded with messages, both subtle and powerful, that distract us and pull us away from these basics. Adopting a certain amount of planning and keeping our spaces organized are the basics that support us to think, work, and live well.