I’ve written a lot about executive function, but I realized recently that I don’t have a post that explains what EF is. I set to write one post and 4000 words later, I have a short series. This is part one. The three remaining parts will be posted over the next two weeks.
So what the heck is executive function, anyhow?
Executive function is a broad term that refers to the cognitive processes that help us regulate, control and manage our thoughts and actions. It includes planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, initiation of actions and monitoring of actions.
That’s a nice concise definition, in theory, but what does EF look like in real life?
In practice, executive function is a slippery concept. Sometimes it looks like responsibility. Sometimes it looks like self-discipline. Sometimes it looks like being a competent adult.
If you have poor EF, people might mistake you for being disorganized, lazy, incompetent, sloppy, or just plain not very bright. Why? Because executive function encompasses so many essential areas of daily living. Nearly everything we do calls on areas of executive function. Cooking. Cleaning. Parenting. Work. School. Self-care. Continue reading Executive Function Primer (Part 1)