Executive Function: Planning

A while back, I wrote a post briefly explaining what executive functions are. I didn’t go into a lot of detail, as there are quite a few aspects involved. Ultimately, executive functions helps you get things done and organized throughout the day.

One executive functions is planning. The ability of being able to look ahead and know what needs to be done in order to get things done. Whether it be a birthday party, or maybe a date night with your spouse/partner, or maybe even a project at work.

For many, it isn’t too much of a problem to know what needs to be done in order to plan for a birthday party, or a date night, or anything else that needs planning. However, for those with ADHD, being able to plan ahead doesn’t come so easily. It is quite different for those with ADHD compared to our neurotypical counterparts.

The main reason why those with ADHD have harder time with this is basically due to the fact that our perception of and with time is quite different from those without the disorder. Those with ADHD do not perceive time in the same way.

Due to how our brain is wired, individuals with ADHD are looking for instant rewards and gratifications. Time will fall into two categories: now or not now/later. The ‘now’ is usually the choice we tend to go for. We struggle focusing and motivating ourselves to do tasks with delayed rewards and gratifications.

Planning ahead is definitely a huge struggle. However, there are definitely things that we can do in order to improve our ability to plan ahead.

First thing is to realize that it’s something that you struggle with. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging and admitting that you struggle. Everyone struggles with something.

Once this done, think about what causes you not to plan ahead. Do you have too many demands at work? At home? Think of specifics.

Once you know where you struggle the most with regards to planning, you can always find someone in your life who can help with this. It could be a spouse/partner, family member, friend, therapist, colleague, just to give a few examples. There is nothing wrong with asking for some help or even accountability.

At the end of the day, consider where you struggle and find ways to make it easier for yourself.

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