Executive Functioning

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive function is a set of mental skills that we use every day to learn, work, and manage daily life. Some people describe executive function as “the management system of the brain.” That’s because the skills involved let us set goals, plan, and get things done. When people struggle with executive function, it impacts them at home, in school, and in life. Trouble with executive function can make it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions, among other things.

Executive function skills are brain based skills developed in your frontal lobe or prefrontal cortex. Executive function is responsible for many skills, including:

  • Paying attention

  • Organizing, planning, and prioritizing

  • Starting tasks and staying focused on them to completion

  • Controlling impulses and emotions

  • Thinking flexible and adjusting your behavior to changes

  • Working memory (keep key information in mind while using it)

  • Self-awareness and monitoring (keeping track of what you're doing)

We are not born with these skills! But the good news is, we are born with the ability to develop them. Executive function skills usually develop quickly in early childhood and into the teen years. But they keep developing into the mid 20s.
  1. Attend your classes daily

  2. Find a system that works for YOU to keep track of your assignments

    1. Using a planner

      1. Planners should include a schedule for classes, study time, homework assignments, social events, club meetings, exercise time, and any other time necessary to achieve goals.

      2. Bring your planner to school everyday and keep it in the same place (backpack)

      3. Note each of your class assignments and due dates once you are made aware of them. Check them off as you complete them

    2. Using your Phone

      1. Apps to try: https://www.additudemag.com/assistive-technology-education-applications-adhd-students/

      2. Many students use the "Notes" section in their phone. Similar to a physical planner, headings can be used to delegate classes and their respective assignments and due dates


    1. Teachers update google classroom regularly where you can see submitted assignments, assignments that need to be completed, and even classroom notes and resources

If you are in need of immediate help, we offer the following resources:

 The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 988

Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741-741

CPS Student Safety Hotline (OPEN 24/7 during non-school hours and/or closures): 773-553-3335 


Trevor Project Hotline (LGBTQ+): 866-488-7386


**If you are ever unsure who to dial, call 911**

Disclaimer: The following page is intended for psychological education and support. Any individual in need of ongoing treatment should consult with their pediatrician or school-based clinician (counselor, social worker, psychologist, nurse)