Developing Executive Functioning Skills

Executive function (EF) is the management system of the brain.  Simply said, it is the part of the brain that helps you “get stuff done”. Executive functioning takes place in the frontal lobe of the brain and it helps you manage time, pay attention, shift focus, plan and organize, remember details, multi-task, and exhibit self-control and emotion control.

Do you have difficulty with any or all of the following?

  • Initiating tasks
  • Finishing tasks on time
  • Multitasking
  • Organizing daily tasks, homework, projects
  • Short term memory
  • Learning and processing new information
  • Keeping track of their belongings
  • Managing feelings

Luckily, EF skills can be practiced and improved. There are many easy, practical strategies that you can implement at home to help you boost these skills.

Time Management: Pomodoro Technique

  1. Work for 25 minutes
  2. Take a 5 minute break
  3. Repeat 4 times
  4. After the 4th cycle, take a longer 30 minute break

Watch this for a visual explanation of this technique!

Keep your workspace clean and organized

A disorganized physical space will cause a disorganized mental space. If you lose papers frequently or are always searching for certain things, create spaces with paper baskets and label them- “to do” and “finished”.

Ideas for Desk & Office space organization

How to organize your desk

Mute, Mute, Mute!

Mute your Google Chats during your class to help you focus. Google Chat notifications can be extremely distracting and will pull your attention away from your class and break your concentration. Anything you get in the chat can wait! Prioritize your class.

Create a task system!

Have a task system for your “to dos” for the day and week.


  • Post-it notes can be extremely helpful in noting your “to-do” tasks. Stick it on your desktop in front of you or on the side of your laptop. When you complete it, toss it. As to do tasks come up during your class, just jot it down quickly on a post-it so it will be a visual reminder to do it.
  • Use a planner – Whether paper or digital, having a planner that helps you map out your day helps you to visualize what you need to get done in your day or week.


Establish a homework/study routine for each day of the week.

This is a set time that is designated daily to sit down, organise the planner, and work on homework. Set a time that works for you and your family schedule. In Zoom school, you should take a break from your computer for at least an hour after school. Then set a designated time to work on your homework and stick to that routine daily.

For example:
-Each weekday from 5 pm-6:30 pm is your homework/study time


-Each day after dinner from 7-8:30 pm

Choose a time that works best for you!