Using Summertime to Improve Executive Functioning Skills

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… as the sweet song from ‘Porgy and Bess’ goes.

Here’s a twist on that way of thinking about summer: along with livin’ easy, summertime can be a great time to develop executive functioning skills and strategies to make livin’ easier the rest of the year too.

What are executive functioning skills?  The executive functions are a set of brain functions that help us “orchestrate” our lives. The executive functions are key to setting goals, organizing, planning, prioritizing, initiating actions, following through, maintaining emotional balance, and the like.

If you are challenged by ADHD, some areas of daily life impacted by executive functioning can include:

  • Time management – including use of calendar and to-do list and developing routines
  • Work management –  addressing procrastination and distraction, managing long-term projects,
  • Life management – addressing balance, prioritizing, and/or career exploration  
  • Self-care – considering how to make exercise, mindfulness, stress management, and eating and sleeping well all part of your life

If you are a student you might also face:

  • Educational challenges – optimizing learning study strategies that use your strengths

What would the fall be like for you if you picked one or a few of these areas to tackle over the summer? What would it be like if you developed insight, skills and strategies in a few of these areas to carry forward? Which of these areas might really benefit you?
If you think it might be worthwhile to use some of your summertime this year to work on making “livin’ ” easier the rest of the year too, consider addressing some of these areas impacted by executive functioning.  

Some resources to support exploration, growth and learning in relation to executive functioning skills include:

  1. Working with an ADHD Coach on whatever of those areas you might choose. 
  2. Finding a class in mindfulness is another approach to supporting improvements in your executive functioning skills. (I’ll be offering one again in the fall.)
  3. If you are a student: signing up for a program, such as one of those offered at Landmark College for high school students, rising college students and current college students. 
  4. Googling “summer executive function” to see if any programs focused on building executive functioning skills – particularly for young people – might be offered in your local area. 

It’s not too early to start planning ahead. Use the summer to have fun and also to get ready for fall!

Wishing you a marvelous and growth-full summer!

Image courtesy of stockphotos at

Summer Programs for High School Students Who Learn Differently
High School Program for Rising Juniors and Seniors
Sunday, June 29  – Saturday, July 19, 2014
Saint Vincent College • Latrobe, PA
High School Program for Rising Juniors and Seniors
Sunday, July 6 – Saturday, July 26, 2014
Landmark College • Putney, VT

High School Program for Rising Juniors and Seniors — Social Pragmatics Track
Thursday July 3  – Saturday, July 26, 2014
Landmark College • Putney, VT

Transition to College Program High School Graduates Who Learn Differently
Friday, July 25 – Saturday, August 9, 2014
Landmark College • Putney, VT

Intensive Workshop for Success in College
Monday, August 4 – Friday, August 8, 2014
University of California Berkeley
Summer Session for Visiting College Students
Saturday, July 5 – Saturday, August 9, 2014
Landmark College • Putney, VT
– See more at:

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