Adult ADHD and Executive Functioning Practice

May 5, 2014 Elizabeth Prager

I have been working on my executive functioning (EF) skills during my week long break from school. How have I, chock full of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), accomplished this? Well, by practising the steps of EF: planning, organizing and only then completing a task. I began, and completed, one project over break and am currently in the middle of my second (which I sadly won't finish for quite some time). It's well known that executive functioning skills are somewhat lacking with adult ADHD - so, practice! Here's how how executive functioning practice can work.

How to Practice Your Executive Functioning Skills

My first task over break was to paint my dressers. This is a half before/after photo, because I neglected to take an original photo of the left dresser (um, where was my EF then?). In order to paint my dressers, I needed a plan:

  • What type of paint, primer or sealant? I figured this out by looking up stuff online! Research! We all know how much I hate that, but it was important to do.
  • What color paint? This required the help of another person, Sarah. It was important to remember that my task wouldn't just affect me.
  • Where would I do the actual painting? Our apartment is a small two bedroom filled with furniture. I had to rearrange some things to free up enough space in the study to let me paint without getting it everywhere.
  • How would I ensure my apartment not be covered in green paint? Drop cloth under the painted items. Safety first!

This all went on before I had even brought the gallon of paint home - and more! I had to decide how much paint to buy, what brushes or rollers to use, if I wanted new hardware for drawer pulls, and so much more. Did I want to sand the dresser before painting? So many things to plan.

Like many projects, I did not do this 100% on my own. Good wife, Sarah, helped me along the way. How did she help the most? She forced me to wait a few months after I had the idea to begin with to guarantee I actually wanted to paint the dressers and that it wasn't a hyperactive momentary whim. Second, and most importantly, Sarah had me agree to wait to paint the furniture until after my semester ended at school. The task became a reward in a way and, by waiting, I was able to dedicate my whole mind to it.

Others Can Help Your Executive Functioning Practice

I have a few themes that I continue to go back to on this blog: journaling is a must, for example. One theme I have come back to a lot lately is this: no [wo]man is an island. We need not go this journey alone and look at all the beautiful things we can accomplish when we let others helps us work on what needs working on - like our EF skills.

It's well known that executive functioning skills are somewhat lacking with adult ADHD - so, practice! Here's how how executive functioning practice can work.

You can also connect with Elizabeth Prager on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2014, May 5). Adult ADHD and Executive Functioning Practice, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

Robert Chiappardi
May, 9 2014 at 12:43 am

Planning, research, and well thought out plans are awesome ways to keep the mind grounded. Thank you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Prager
May, 9 2014 at 5:57 am

I couldn't agree more!

Beverly Hutchinson
May, 5 2014 at 5:32 am

Good job!

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