problems with executive function

Problems with Executive Function – An Executive Functions Coach Can Help

Don’t Let Executive Function Issues Hold You Back – Consider Executive Function Coaching

How do you know if you have a problem with executive functions? Ever feel like your to-do list is a labyrinth, with each task a daunting puzzle to solve? Or perhaps you find yourself perpetually late, despite your best intentions? Welcome to the world of executive functioning – the brain’s command center for planning, organizing, and managing daily life. For those with impaired executive functions, this intricate system can feel more like a tangled web than a well-oiled machine. Navigating tasks and responsibilities can often feel like an uphill battle, especially for those grappling with executive function deficits. However, there’s hope. An executive functions coach provides tailored guidance to enhance focus, organization, and goal achievement with newfound confidence. Dive into the world of impaired executive function with us as we explore the transformative potential of coaching interventions. Let’s turn problems with executive function into stepping stones toward a more fulfilling and empowered existence.

Did I Always Have a Problem with Executive Functions?

Some may wonder “Did I always have a problem with executive functions?” There was a time when things weren’t so hard. This was the question that Greg asked me when we first met. Greg went through school, his job, and being a single dad without a hint of executive function deficits. However, when he lost his daughter, he began to experience a tremendous amount of anxiety. The anxiety ate into him and caused depression, and ultimately, a loss of executive functions. When Greg explained to me what had happened, we explored the topic of brain fog. Did he feel like he was at the top of a mountain full of fog, wandering aimlessly trying to catch his breath. Yes. Greg’s prolonged exposure to this caused at first a temporary then a permanent loss of executive functions.

So are you like Greg and have a problem with executive functions? Ask yourself this question. “Do I constantly struggle with organizing tasks, managing time, or staying focused on important activities? So much so that it impairs my daily life?” If the answer is yes then you most likely have some executive function deficits. However, with some help, you can overcome these hurdles. Let’s see how Greg did it.

How did Greg Overcome His Impaired Executive Functions?

When it came to Greg’s executive function deficits, it was worsened by a harsh critic. Yes, like many that have problems with executive functions, Greg had a really hard time seeing the positive side of things. The first metacognitive exercise I had Greg work on was daily gratitude journals. However, there was a twist. I understood very well that most people that had a loss of executive functions knew what it was like to have good time management, planning, and initiation. Therefore, it would be very challenging to see the positives in what is viewed now as subpar performance. This is what I instructed Greg. 

Greg, when you do your daily gratitude journals, I actually want you to start off by listing out all of the unfortunate events that occurred. Make sure you leave 3 lines in between each point. For the first line, I want you to link the event to one of your executive function deficits. On the second line, I want you to think about a simple change in your routine that can compensate for this impaired executive function. On the very last line, I want you to try to note a small victory, the light at the end of the tunnel. Then when you are done, I want you to take three 8 count deep breaths and say “I am making progress.”

Greg and I continued this metacognitive program for around 3 months. Each week, we reviewed and addressed specific problems with executive functions he encountered. As we talked, we came up with solutions, and as they worked, he noted them in his journal. This process slowly showed Greg that although he had impaired executive functions, he can compensate for them. There was indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

What did Coaching do for Greg’s Executive Function Deficits?

You might be wondering, okay so in order to overcome my own problems with executive functions all I have to do is keep a gratitude journal? Well, not entirely. Keeping a journal of any kind is only half of the battle. Having the right guidance during the battle makes all of the difference. When I first started working with Greg, he was frustrated, annoyed, and depressed. Journaling by himself might have spiraled him deeper into his depression. His negativity might have become more and more negative as he realized he was hopeless with problems with executive functions. So how did I help Greg with his executive function deficits?

  • I provided him with a very specific structure and kept him accountable to that structure. I understood that he had impaired executive function, so I asked him if he would be okay with texting me his journals each night. This would keep him accountable and save time with me reviewing it during our session. Greg was a frugal man.
  • Greg had very specific guidance on how to compensate for his loss of executive functions. Tailored support meant that Greg had a higher likelihood of success.
  • I had Greg focus on solutions before focusing on any positives of the events, so that he would feel the momentum of progress. The worst feeling an individual with executive function deficits is a lack of progress.
  • Mindfulness at the end with a tailored mantra was critical for Greg. Going through this type of metacognitive journaling can be very draining. It is important to collect ourselves at the end and acknowledge that we are indeed doing well.

If Greg’s story struck a chord with you, it’s a sign that you don’t have to face your problems with executive functions alone. Taking that first step towards support can make all the difference. Schedule a free consultation with us to explore how tailored coaching can help you regain control and thrive in your daily life. Your journey towards clarity and empowerment starts here.

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