How Executive Function Skills Differ From Thought Work
Weight Loss, Personal Development, Exercise & More
By Dr. Sooit
We tend to believe we don’t need to develop executive function skills until we really need them. However, research shows that becoming increasingly deficient in our executive function skills can lead to poor life decisions or even a feeling of anxiety. Executive function refers to the job functions that help us deal with changing situations. Executive function is a skill that enables our body and mind to effectively participate in our daily lives. It involves many different skills but the basic ones are: thinking, planning, multitasking, communication, and decision-making.
For example, in a job interview, your executive function includes answering a question with only a few words, being able to anticipate what comes next and presenting yourself confidentially.
A real life example is the inability to manage an exercise program. It happens when we make “tricky” choices like whether to go to the gym or skip class.
Our executive function skills require us to make realistic, goal-directed choices, the types of things that are very hard to predict. A lot of our executives function well when we make reasonable choices based on information we have, but, without knowing beforehand whether it is realistic or not, we can become lost, making poor decisions.
Dr. Jeanne Harris, MBA, author of “Executive Power” explains why executive function skills can take years to develop:
“These skills usually take many years to develop, so what will cause this? Many individuals find out that their executive functions are not well-developed as a result of trying to discover the mistakes in previous decisions and challenges themselves to stay on top of current events, avoid self-doubt, and so on. Since making decisions that involve social interactions and managing your emotions can be difficult, it is probably not a good idea to try to develop executive function skills in the first place. When developing them, the most important thing you can do is learn the style of thinking that enables you to get things done. With this approach, your executive function begins to come into its own.”
Learning to overcome your fears and doubts about our abilities is the starting point of the development of executive function skills.
Try some different things to strengthen your executive function skills. Meditation, changing exercise routines, taking a class or two that challenge you, a mindfulness practice, any form of breathing exercises, and attending group courses can help.
Are you unsure about how to use executive function skills? Check out Executive Power to get additional guidance on how to overcome negative thoughts, replace self-doubt with confidence, and increase your abilities to develop.