Improving Executive Functioning

By Valerie Rice | December 10, 2020

Photo by Erik Mclean on

Once upon a time I decided to join TikTok in order to widen my network and find more subscribers. No, don’t look for me, please. I found my tribe instead and the wild, wacky, unprofessional weirdo that is me shines brightly on there. Anyway, I fell down a rabbit hole for days and sort of realized something. There are a LOT of people, myself included, who range from a bit disorganized to having a deficit in executive functioning skills. Oh, but I can help with that. Wanna give it a shot? No, I’m not going to tell you to meditate (again). Read on.


Photo by Anete Lusina on

Silence is not always the answer. For many people, they need peace and quiet, especially those with sensory processing disorder. And a task (or several) becomes overstimulating quickly. For others, they require sound to move (me!) and will stay stationary until they get enough. So let’s try something. Next time you need to accomplish something, turn off ALL the noise, including background buzzing. If you are groovy, move on. If not, try adding white noise, music, maybe TV, whatever gets you moving without distraction. I repeat: WITHOUT DISTRACTION. Seriously,  I prefer the sounds of either Supernatural or a good band. I am currently listening to Rob Zombie. Alright, the reason I tell you to do this is because sometimes you just need motivation or for your mind to feel occupied in order to complete a menial task like dishes or folding laundry or to focus on the super obnoxious homework.  Other times you need to “distract the puppy” from dashing off when it should be paying attention. People with active minds i.e. those who are highly intelligent, neurodivergent, and so on, need to distract their overactive brain puppy so the rest of it can focus. 

Photo by Ono Kosuki on


I can’t look at my kitchen and just clean it. Ever. I will just turn around and give up. But I CAN look at my stove and wipe it down. Or clear a counter. Or empty a dishwasher. So another fun activity (ha ha) is to make a list of how we clean, or work, or do homework like we would explain it to someone else. Use lined paper and number each step. Cut the steps apart so you only see one at a time. Hold that strip and go do that one step. Now WALK AWAY. Go back to your starting point and get the next step. And so on. Yes, this is a little more athletic, but the exercise is really going to help as is the ability to focus on one step at a time. Eventually you can work your way up to more and the whole task will seem less daunting.


Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

Oftentimes we assume that our day has to be complete by nightfall but we have no idea what that actually means and so we don’t actually do anything. Even when I say that I am going to work today I have no idea what that means. Now I am a little wonky, and I love a good schedule, but just can’t take the pressure either, so this is what I do. I set daily goals. Today I promised myself I would write a post, read all by email, work on all my social media for 30 minutes each, respond to 30 followers, and create a new outline for a new members only post. Yeah. and I have 8 hours to do it because that is a work day. Simple. Shhh, this is good. Each goal is specific, achievable, has an end date (time). This is reasonable for me. Why don’t you try writing a few for yourself that you know you can do. 


This is not going to be a magic cure. Nope. It is going to help though. These self interventions, or you can ask someone you trust to help you do these things, are really just to make your day easier. Remember that nobody is perfect, and being a little bit of a wanderer or neurodivergent is not a curse or a problem, and the goal is not to fix it. You aren’t broken, but adaptation is a superpower. Be well!

Published by vrice2010

A mother, an author, a nerd. After many years working in the fields of mental health and developmental disabilities, graduating from the University of Phoenix, and pouring my talents into my local community, I decided to spread my wings and reach a wider audience.

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