Our lives are lived at an incredible pace, and developing Executive Function problems is not unusual. EF refers to a vital, basic set of mental skills. It has nothing to do with your intelligence level, nor do you have to be in an executive position to develop EF problems, LOL. People of all ages, including children, can have this disorder. The tools that might let you down include information processing, making decisions, remembering, managing time, and reactions to different situations.
If you have EF problems, it might compromise your focus, self-control and relationships with other people. Some liken the symptoms to ADHD. However, many things could cause Executive Function problems. For example, medications you take, a brain injury, depression and even genetics.
Misplacing or losing items could indicate EF problems
Have you been losing or misplacing things more than usual lately? Have you searched all over the house for your car keys, only to find them in the fridge? Or worse still, in your hand?! I know someone who tried to figure out how to fit the broom into the refrigerator instead of the broom closet. How many times have you forgotten to take critical files to meetings? Rushing out in freezing weather to get to work in time — forgetting to take your jacket.
EF problems could ruin your multitasking skills
If you struggle to get started on a new task or project, or feel overwhelmed when you try to multitask, EF could be to blame. One of the Executive Function skills helps you to organize time and thoughts. Therefore, if you have trouble with long-term planning and getting your jobs done in the office and at home, you now have something to blame!
Chronologically challenged? EF problems may be the reason
It could be so frustrating when you speak to someone whose name has slipped your mind. On top of that, you can’t quite remember when or where the incident you’re discussing happened. Furthermore, the name of the person you are talking about is on the tip of your tongue, and that’s where it stays. EF problems compromise the skills to remember names and dates along with the chronology of events. Most importantly, forgetting critical information could cause a host of problems.
Are EF problems causing the ants in your pants?
Do you struggle to settle down and start a task without the urge to leave this and tackle that? The worst punishment is standing in a slow-moving queue, right?
Does a wandering mind cause you to miss the gist of a conversation?
Here is where different EF problems start joining forces. If your mind wanders during meaningful conversations, you probably miss the real point of it. Furthermore, suppose you also struggle to remember names, events and the order in which things happen. In that case, you could really get yourself in a real pickle.
How often are you late?
Running late for most meetings, family affairs or other appointments and social events frequently is a sure sign of Executive Function problems. Once or twice is not so bad, but when people start saying you are always late, it could count against you. Your family and friends may see you as the poor planner and disorganized person they love. However, business acquaintances may brand you as rude if you arrive halfway through an important meeting.
Do you often leave tasks unfinished?
This could be because you can’t estimate how long the task will take. You might have to leave that task incomplete because the next job is waiting. You might manage to cut only half the lawn and leave the rest long due to other pressing matters.
Multiple steps cause total confusion
For many people with EF problems, tasks with multiple steps entirely overwhelm them. If someone explains the steps verbally, they can’t remember all of them. Without a written list, they can also not decide what is most important and where to start.
Do you have to go back to previous pages?
If you find the need to turn back to previous pages when you read, you might have EF problems. It could compromise your skills to retain information. The same could be the problem if you have to rewind the TV repeatedly while watching a program.
Why am I here?
It is not only old people who walk to a room to get something, only to forget what they came for. People of any age can have Executive Function problems. For example, you go to the calendar with good intentions to note an important meeting. However, the calendar is in a different room, and when you get there, you can’t remember what you wanted to record or the date to which it referred. The name of this skill is working memory, which could even cause your inability to remember how to use a computer program that you’ve used countless times before.
Is your desk messy and cluttered?
Your EF problems may cause your home and workspace to be cluttered and messy. Piles of papers on your desk and disorganized closets, pantry or workshop, are sure signs of chaotic Executive Functions.
Your control over emotions and impulses is zero
EF problems can cause havoc to many aspects of your life. It could overwhelm you. Failing yourself and others frequently could cause mood swings and even depression. You might have little control over your emotions, and impulsiveness may cause even more problems.
Here’s the good news
Importantly, Executive functioning disorder does not necessarily affect a person in all the ways mentioned here. You could experience only one or a few of these problems. The good news is that the compromised functions are treatable. Various therapies, some of which work for ADHD, can also improve Executive Functions.