Sarah Shore Coaching & Training, LLC

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I Will Form Good Habits

September 9, 2015

Persistent consistent effort toward a goal or desired state of being creates a habit.  Good habits create success.  Are you ready to start developing more good habits?  I hope so. 

Maybe your goal is the habit itself (like walking more), or maybe the habit is the action you need to take to get you to the larger goal (like walking more to lose a few pounds). 

If your goal is a 3.0 GPA, your habit needs to be one hour of reading per night per class.  If your goal is greater flexibility, your habit is a daily yoga practice.  Get the picture?

I was introduced to the book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” several years ago by a good friend who has amazing discipline and focus.  This short book about perseverance, discipline, and success shares timeless principles, even if the language is a bit outdated.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.  

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Form good habits!  Good habits pave the path to success.

  • Walking
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Stretching
  • Drinking enough water
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Learning new things
  • Reading for personal development
  • Keeping a to-do list
  • Daily decluttering
  • Keep in regular contact with special friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

I personally want to be doing all of the things on this list as part of my daily routine.  In my mind, these are the elements that create a harmonious and productive lifestyle.  I challenge you to start a new healthy, productive habit now!  And if you want some structure, accountability, and coaching support along the way, give me a call or check out Focus Forward.


August 25, 2015

I don’t think there is a better, more productive, more healthful habit to develop than a daily walk.  Times in my life when I’ve been in the habit of a daily walk have been some of the happiest, most productive, most centered times of my life. 

There is something to be said for rituals.  There is something to be said for routine…daily routine—the kind that happens no matter what. 

Walking is the third tool from The Artist’s Way, a book which has inspired me recently to make some lifestyle changes.  The first daily habit (Morning Pages) is the act of filling three pages of paper with your longhand writing…about absolutely anything that crosses your mind that morning. 

The second habit (Artist’s Dates) is about setting aside a block of time each week to do something that inspires you—that replenishes your energy.  And walking is the third habit.  The first habit provides direction.  The second habit provides inspiration.  The third habit, walking, provides integration. 

Integration comes from the Latin integratus meaning “to make whole.”  A daily walking habit allows you to integrate all the parts of your psyche that are fractionated and cut off in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life.  Plain and simple, walking each day gives you the opportunity to tune in to things that are important to you…things that may have taken a back seat to the seemingly urgent tasks of our life.

We can get so lost in checking email, running errands, making dinner, giving the kids a bath, or paying bills.  A daily walking habit requires you to take time away and let your mind wander as your feet walk whatever path you choose.  If I could suggest one powerful change to make this month, it would be to start a walking habit. 

Walk each day for at least a half hour (you want to give your mind time to do its work).  Early morning or evening…whatever works for your schedule.  Making a decision to add this daily habit to your life will work its magic in no time. 

And if you need help getting the support, structure, and accountability you need to make this new habit stick, may I suggest our next session of Focus Forward.  You can check it out here.  In the meantime, write, play, walk…  

Artist Dates

August 18, 2015

My daughter is 4 and playdates are the thing!  Even though they can be hard to schedule, there is nothing more important to my daughter’s development than love…and play.  Play often falls to the bottom of the list as far as adults are concerned and here’s where Artist Dates come in.  

Artist Dates are the second part of the three-step process that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way.”  Morning Pages are the first and provide direction on your journey.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an artist or creative for these strategies to be effective.  Writing each morning clears your mind and gets your energy focused.  Worth building into your daily life as a good habit that will help you create greater success. 

The idea with the Artist Dates is that you take time for inspiration.   Once a week, you will go on your own to do something fun, playful, enjoyable, inspiring.  It could be anything that woos you…that’s the idea.  It should feel inspiring.  You should feel drawn to it.  If you do, you are on the right date! 

Going to the park to read, visiting an art supply store for new materials, taking a new dance class…whatever your heart desires.  You are to spend time by your lonesome doing something that feels playful. “Artist’s dates are assigned play.” –Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way.”

Ask yourself “what sounds fun?”  Then, go do it.  These solo expeditions are meant to replenish and inspire your imagination.  With that replenishment and inspiration, you can approach the rest of your week with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  As a weekly habit, it helps you to build fun and whimsy into your life. 

The magic happens when you don’t just do this once or twice but you build it into your life as a habit—something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what.  This is a weekly date with yourself…with that part of you that needs time to explore and play. 

In our work-obsessed culture, this probably sounds self-indulgent.  And it is.  And it should be.  Why shouldn’t we indulge ourselves once in a while in a pursuit that brings us joy and ease?

Do this!  Sign a 12-week contract with yourself that says you’ll embark on one Artist’s date per week!  I’m excited for you…and I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is simple.  And it is effective if you want to be more productive in any endeavor…because you are filling up your reserve of energy and focus during these inspirational play dates.

Our group coaching program, Focus Forward, can help you stick with your goal of incorporating Artist Dates as a lifelong habit.  Don’t wait.  Our next group starts September 7th!

Here’s to all the inspiration and play coming your way as you commit to one Artist’s date a week.  I’m excited for you to get started…

The Artist's Way

August 12, 2015

A few weeks ago I was introduced to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  While I haven’t read through the book, the message is clear. 

Your inner critic is getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward on your goals. 

While the book was written to help artists and creatives get past the internal blocks to greater productivity and creation of their art…the concepts are applicable in any line of work.  The advice is so simple and so effective that I’m going to implement it in my own life and I hope you’ll do the same. 

There are three basic tools for encouraging your creative (or productive) genius to come out.  According to Cameron, they are “simultaneously universal and individual.”  Who doesn’t love that?   

  1. Morning Pages…which provide direction on your journey
  2. Artist’s Dates…which provide inspiration
  3. Walking…which provides integration (how true!)

Let’s take “Morning Pages” to start.  Here’s the idea.  Straight from the book, “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…as in “Oh god, another morning.  I have nothing to say.  I need to wash the curtains.  Did I get my laundry yesterday?  Blah, blah, blah.”  They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.”

Here’s the idea.  Get yourself a notebook from Target or the drug store or Amazon's version.  Or, if you are feeling so inspired, get yourself a beautiful leather-bound notebook from a fancy stationary store.  Whatever you choose, you should have a decent amount of page space to write.  Sit down in the morning, preferably in a space where you can really listen to the thoughts that come up in your mind. 

You could do it while you have your morning coffee or a glass of water…or even before you get out of bed.  Start writing.  Write anything that comes to mind until you fill up three pages with your thoughts.  As Cameron says, there is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.  They are not meant to be “art” or even “writing.” 

They are just a collection of words that you are getting out of your head and onto the page.  Often, the words might sound angry or self-pitying, repetitive, or bland.  And that’s good.  That’s what you are going for.  All of this clutter in your mind is what’s preventing you from getting your creativity and your productivity into the world. 

Write until you fill three pages.  Write whatever thoughts are in your mind.  Do this every morning.  Do it for at least 8 weeks.  Or make it a life-time habit, which is what “The Artist’s Way” asks you to do.  Here’s an important point:  you are strongly discouraged from reading anything you’ve written until you have been doing Morning Pages daily for 8 weeks (I didn’t see that coming, did you?).

We are all our harshest critics.  In order to fight that critic, to hold that critic back from having a negative influence over our creativity or productivity, we need to bring all these critical statements that we make about ourselves (daily) into the light of day.  “The Artist’s Way” suggests (and I think I do agree) that the practice and discipline of Morning Pages really helps to do that in an effective and powerful way.

This is a simple tool, it’s a free tool, and it’s a powerful tool.  There are communities of believers who sing the praises of this process.  If you are looking for a daily habit to help you be more successful and more productive, I encourage you to read “The Artist’s Way” and start your Morning Pages habit now. 

A great way to keep yourself accountable and get support for implementing this new success habit in your daily life is to sign up for our next Focus Forward session.  Imagine that in just 4 weeks you could be off to a great start with this new habit that will help you to unleash your creativity (even if you are not an artist) and optimize your productivity for your maximum success.  What are you doing tomorrow morning?

How Much by When?

August 4, 2015

A very useful book, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield (better known as the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series) outlines 64 guiding principles that help get you to where you want to be in life.

One of his principles is the idea of goal-setting—how to set goals and what to do once you’ve set them.   If you are making changes in your life for the better, goal-setting is an important part of the process and really effective in improving your chances of success. 

  1. Decide “How much by when?”  I will weight 135 by Nov. 1 or I will save $3500 by January 5.  These goals are specific, powerful, and measurable.   Think of all your goals in this context. 
  1. Write your goals out in detail.  Paint a vivid picture and let your subconscious mind go to work helping you get closer to that vision.
  1. Read your goals three times a day…aloud and with enthusiasm if possible!  This helps to stimulate your motivation and increase your awareness of resources that can help you achieve this goal.
  1. Create a goals book.  Get a notebook or a binder and make a page for each goal.  Write the goal at the top of the page, illustrate it with pictures and depict the goal as already achieved.  Review your goal book as often as possible.
  1. Carry your most important goal in your wallet.  Every time you open your wallet, you are reminded of your most important goal.  This exposure helps keep your awareness of your goal sharp in your mind.

Goal setting is the first step in our Focus Forward Group Coaching Program.  Once you set your goals for the program (examples include:  get up at the same time every day, get into a good workout routine, spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning your room, etc.), you get daily online peer support, accountability, and the guidance of your coach. 

Move forward swiftly toward your new achievements!  Goal-setting is a mindset that you can shift to right now.  I’m excited to see what you accomplish.  Let’s unleash the power of goal setting in your life and see what happens!

Summer Camp.

July 28, 2015

ADHD coaching

My daughter started a new adventure this week.  Summer camp.  Her first day was a whirlwind of new experiences as she tried to learn the ropes and fit in with kids who had started at camp weeks earlier. 

As I dropped her off on that Monday morning I knew we were starting a new chapter and that she would reach new milestones. 

She was quiet when I picked her up after her first half day for the preschool crowd.  She seemed to be processing all the events of her busy morning.  As the day went on, I could tell new knowledge was coming together in her mind. 

As I put her to bed that night, she had a hard time falling to sleep.  Finally, after many bedtime stories she said to me, “Mommy, I couldn’t put my goggles on by myself today so I didn’t want to swim.  Can you tell my teacher I need help putting my goggles on?”

I thought about the question and how best to respond.  As a coach, my job is to help you discover the best solutions to the problems and challenges you face.  Not only is solving problems for you impractical, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.    

Wanting my daughter to rest easy, I assured her I would let her teacher know in the morning. 

Many more times she reminded me before falling asleep that night.  She wanted my promise that I would resolve this for her.  “Can you ask your teacher?”  I asked.  She simply said, “I want you to do it, Mommy.”  “Ok,” I said.

In the morning, she asked another dozen times.  Each time, I reassured her.  “I will ask your teacher.”  We headed off to camp.  As we walked to her “home base,” she reminded me one more time.  “Mommy, can you ask my teacher to please help me put on my goggles when it’s time for swimming?”  “Yes,” I said.

As we approached the teacher, I took a calculated risk and pushed my daughter just a bit past her comfort zone.  I was so hopeful she would rise to the challenge but prepared to catch her just in case she needed me.  I said, “Do you have something you want to tell your teacher?” 

As the teacher listened intently, my daughter clearly projected her voice and said, “I need help putting my goggles on today before swim.”

I was filled with pride and a great sense of relief.  I could see the pride she felt for herself after pushing past her fear.  What may seem small was a big leap for her.  And a success as her teacher warmly and supportively agreed, “Yes, we will put them on together.”

I pushed her past her comfort zone but I was there to hold her hand while she did it.  That’s exactly the kind of support a lot of us need.  We are all capable of making those leaps and pushing past our comfort zones…sometimes we just need to feel supported on the journey.

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make some big leaps toward your goals, the support of a coach and an awesome online peer group might be just the thing to get you there.  Check out Focus Forward and start thinking about your next big leap.


You...are NOT alone.

July 21, 2015

ADHD CoachingI mention this because recently I had a surprising experience. 

I’ve always been a fan of sharing my life with others.  On the scale of openness--guardedness, I’m pretty much an open book.  So I was caught off guard when a great candidate for my group coaching program wanted to drop out. 

I knew she would get a ton out of the program and really benefit from it, both personally and professionally.  But she was afraid she would not be anonymous. 

She feared she would be identifiable by the other participants and that fear made her drop out before she even got started.  

There are lots of people struggling with the exact issues you are struggling with.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more. 

I’m not just talking about sticking to a monthly budget or juggling the responsibilities of home and work.  I’m talking about things most non-ADHDers take for granted, like:

  • maintaining a clear path from your bedroom door to your bed
  • being able to schedule more than one thing in any given day
  • trusting yourself to wake up when you have an important meeting in the morning
  • not just flaking out and missing work for one day, two days, two weeks
  • creating and following any semblance of a routine
  • following a to do list (not making one,  we all know how easy that is, but following one)

The list could go on.  But let’s just say you pretty much consider yourself the bottom of the barrel when it comes to organization, time management, focus, productivity, and tidiness.  Well, you are not alone.  That’s why a group program can be so effective.  You can achieve your goals more easily and more quickly when you work in a group. 

Let’s go over some boring facts about working with a group of peers (peers = people who are daily dealing with the same stuff you are dealing with when it comes to managing your time, tasks, self, and stuff).    

Things happen when people work together.  You’ve seen this before, right?  Skyscrapers, heart surgery, tug of war…a group of people working together can do amazing things.  When you sign up for group coaching, there are a dozen factors at play that help drive your results.  Here’s a partial list:

  1. You recognize you are not alone.  You see that others share similar thoughts, feelings, and problems.  How reassuring!
  2. You get to help others.  By offering your feedback and encouragement, you gain a boost to your own self-esteem.  It feels good to help others!
  3. You start to feel hopeful.  Seeing other people with similar problems experience success gives you feelings of optimism.  It is all possible for you too!
  4. Wealth…of information.  A wealth of information is available to you in a group program: the advice and feedback of your peers and your coach can be priceless.
  5. You gain insight.  Start figuring out your own motivation, behavior, and emotions.  Insight helps you figure out what changes to make to be more effective and get more of what you want.  Sounds good to me.

If you’re hesitant to enter a group coaching program, I wish I could wave a magic wand and ease your concerns.  I wish you could know how supportive and helpful your peers will be once you meet them.  I wish I could take away the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt you might feel.  But there’s only one way to get there from here…

Jump right in and do it anyway.  You’ll be glad you did.  

If you love someone with ADHD, don't do these 20 things...

February 6, 2015

ADHD CoachingCourtesy of  (Written by:  June Silny)

You wonder if everybody’s life is as chaotic as yours. Something’s not right.  Your child doesn’t act like the other children in the class. Homework assignments guarantee a night of fights, slammed doors, and tears shed. The teachers call you in for conferences weekly.

Your husband gets fired again claiming all his bosses are jerks. You work overtime so your car isn’t repossessed. Your sister cancels every time you plan to meet for dinner. Your teenager is hanging out in the local piercing parlor. And your daughter can’t find her car keys whenever she’s walking out the door. Your relationships are constant conflicts.

You’ve considered splitting up, but you can’t afford to live on your own. You’ve thought of quitting your job, packing your bags, and running away. You’re tired all the time. You’re trapped, choking, and you cannot breathe.

Loving someone who has ADHD can make your life crazy if you don’t get a grip on it. The doctors prescribe medication. The therapists tell you what to do, but your home is as wild as a college frat house.

A person with ADHD can be hard to live with. The thought patterns and behaviors of a person with ADHD never go away. They are manageable, but that too, is a full-time challenge.

Without proper care, ADHD can lead to substance abuse, overeating, unemployment, toxic relationships, divorce, constant conflict, academic failure, insomnia, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. A person with ADHD has an active thought process of options, possibilities, and scenarios the average person cannot even imagine.

Eventually, reality bites. The rent is due, the electric bill is unpaid, and your checking account is overdrawn again. You’re exhausted from staying awake worrying all night. You want to run away, but your problems are like misspelled tattoos that stay with you wherever you go. There is hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a person with ADHD has to work through his challenges, you as his lover, parent, sibling or friend also have to learn coping skills to improve the situation. Don’t do these 20 things if you want to have a happier life together.

1. Don’t live in denial - Admit the truth.  Call the problem by its name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Your life will become easier when you identify it, own it, talk about it, and stop running from it. Admitting that it exists is the first step to freedom. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Many of history’s greatest contributions have come from people with ADHD. Scientists, authors, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs have become successful because they have a creative vision that average people do not possess.

2. Don’t criticize - Judge favorably.  Realize that your loved one with ADHD is trying his hardest, even though it’s not good enough for your standards. Lighten up, go easy, and give them time. They will accomplish what they have to do, but not on the schedule you have in mind. Allow them time and space to accomplish their tasks. Influence them with love, not with criticism.

3. Don’t accept excuses - Encourage and inspire them to achieve their goals.  ADHD isn’t an excuse for an irresponsible lifestyle. It just means that what comes easy to you, may be difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do something, it means that it’s harder for them. Simple tasks that you take for granted; such as opening mail, trashing junk mail, and placing your bills in a “to be paid” folder, feel like a climb up Mt. Everest to a person with ADHD. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have it. Try to be encouraging, in spite of your doubts and disappointments. Point out the times when they suceeded.

4. Don’t be a coach - Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines; grab your pom-poms and start cheering. Words of encouragement have more power than insults and put-downs. Coaches arein-your-face critics. Their job is to point out the negative. Cheerleaders stand on the side, rooting for success, believing in their teams ability to achieve. Let your loved one with ADHD know that you are on the same team.

5. Don’t make unrealistic demands - Stay with the possible.  When a person with ADHD gets stressed out, an obsessive thought pattern of “what-ifs” begins. Screaming and shouting, “Just do it already. Stop making such a fuss,” will not break through compulsive thinking. Accept the fact that they may not be able to do what you want, when you want it, or how you want them to do it. If it’s something important, be specific.

6. Don’t give instructional lectures - Be respectful.  Lectures are not helpful if a person feels like they are being spoken to like a child whose baseball broke the neighbor’s window. If you have something to say, be sure to choose the right words at the right time. The timing of your conversations determines if you will be heard or ignored. Schedule a time to talk. Rehearse your speech so that it comes out as love, not control.

7. Don’t be impulsive - Practice patience.  Someone with ADHD is impulsive. If you are the rational thinker in the relationship, your ADHD loved one is depending on you  to be wise and patient. Two impulsive people reacting emotionally and regurgitating information at each other, does not make for a happy ending.  

8. Don’t be a martyr - Call for backup.  Have a support team to help you through the struggles. You don’t have to manage everything alone. Call a friend, a therapist, or a loving relative. Find someone who just listens. If you don’t want advice or suggestions, a comforting shoulder to cry on can strengthen you and change your outlook.

9. Don’t forget your goal - Prepare for a positive outcome.  Sometimes words come out that you later regret saying. They can’t be taken back. Hurtful words leave deep wounds. Keep your goals in mind. What would you like to accomplish? Ask yourself, if I say this will it lead to a negative or a positive outcome? It’s up to you. You determine the outcome. Go slow. Think before you speak.

10. Don’t feel guilty - Know that you are doing your best.  Feeling that your loved one is hard to love, or that you don’t like their behavior is a sad feeling to experience. If you’re a parent and are upset about your child’s behavior, guilt runs through your veins. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. You’re in a tough situation and you aren’t always sure which is the best way to handle it. Be gentle with yourself.

11. Don’t try to control them - Control yourself. Intimidating or threatening does not inspire change. Trying to control people is never effective. When you don’t know how to motivate your loved one, think about how you can change your approach. You can’t control other people; you can only control your words, thoughts, and reactions towards them.

12. Don’t lean in - Step back. Intense emotions are negative emotions. Leaning in and pushing a person to perform isn’t the most effective way to reach the result you desire. When stress is high and you feel like screaming, back off. Stepping back gives you time to breathe, relax, and readjust your thoughts.

13. Don’t label them - Be compassionate.  Judgment is easy; compassion is hard work. Don’t box them in as a “forgetful, lazy, disorganized mess,” or “someone who will never succeed.” Labels create pre-determined expectations that last for years. People become what you see them as.  

14. Don’t say “never” - Nothing stays the same.  When times are tough, it’s hard to remember that tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better. Believe it. “Never” is a word of hopelessness. Start saying, “not yet.” The only thing constant is change.  

15. Don’t say “Just do it” - Understand that they can’t.  An ordinary thinker cannot understand how a person with ADD/ADHD can’t accomplish the simplest tasks such as paying bills, organizing papers, and putting their clothes away. These tasks may be easy for you, but remember, the person with ADHD also has a hard time understanding why they can’t pay a bill or manage their mail.  

16. Don’t be afraid to help out - Offer a helping hand.It’s important to teach your loved ones how to be responsibly and independently. But also remember, that there are times when it’s okay to offer assistance. Even Einstein had a helper. His wife cooked for him, cleaned up after him and did his laundry because his high-powered mind was too busy discovering the quantum workings of the universe to take time to put his dirty socks in the laundry bin.

17. Don’t have unrealistic expectations - List what you love about them.  Accept your loved ones as they are. Just like with any other relationship, you have to look for the good, and stay focused on it. Never lose sight of the awesome qualities of your ADD/ADHD loved one. If it’s your partner, remember that their fun-loving, impulsive personality is probably why you fell in love with them. Go back to the beginning. Love them again, as if you first met them. If it’s your child, remember the feeling of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.  

18. Don’t neglect other family members - Spend time alone with them.  ADD/ADHD can take over your home environment, subliminally controlling everything and everyone in it. Spend time with other family members. They need you, too. Go to the movies or go get some ice cream with them. Remind them that they still exist for you. Hug them and hold onto them.  

19. Don’t get mad - Pause for peace.  Make peace in your home and your life your priority. The other lessons will soon fall into place if your home is a loving environment. Anger is easy. Staying quiet takes strength. Put your relationships before your feelings. You don’t have to veerbalize every comment that comes to mind. Place your ego on the side until your anger subsides.  Don’t ever accept abusive behavior of any type. There are certain relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, and need to end. Seek professional help.  

20. Don’t forget to love yourself - Do something that makes you happy.  ADHD relationships can suck the joy out of life. You realize that you haven’t laughed in a month. You forgot how to smile, and you can’t remember the last time you had fun. Make time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Have fun again, and do it often.

Wrapping up 2014

November 18, 2014

Get yourself a Life Check-up...just in time for the holidays!

If you're wondering what to give your significant other, good friend, or favorite family memeber this holiday season, why not consider a life coaching package that's designed to get him or her energized, motivated, and inspired for the year ahead?

Personally, I can't think of a gift that I would appreciate more than the opportunity to brainstorm with a coach, get clear on my goals, develop concrete action steps to implement, and be held accountable for moving forward.  

Ok, so how to you present a gift like this?  Well, its great for anyone who's mentioned getting a life coach, or who has an interest in self-improvement or who's kicked around certain goals for a while but hasn't moved forward.  We all know getting started is the hardest part, so make it easier by doing the leg work for your loved one.

The program works like this.  Three 45 minute sessions:  Discovery, Action, & Moving Forward.  Give a gift with lasting value to help your loved one accomplish something special...whatever that may be.  Now through December 30th, the "Life Check-Up Coaching Package" is priced at $300.  Email to reserve the gift of a coaching package for your loved one today!  


How are Executive Function and ADHD related?

October 27, 2014

Excerpted from National Center for Learning Disabilities ( "What is Executive Function?"

Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action and present action (write down that appointment) with future experience (get to the appointment on time). We use executuve function to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention, remember things, and manage our time and space.  

If you have trouble with executive function, these things are more difficult to do. 

As with other learning disabilities, problems with executive function can run in families.  It can be seen at any age, but it tends to become more apparent as children move through the early elementary grades. This is when the demands of completing schoolwork independently can trigger signs of a problem with executive function.

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to regulate our own behavior. Executive function allows us to:

  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until we’re called on

What Are the Warning Signs of Executive Function Problems?

Do you have trouble:

  • Planning projects
  • Comprehending how much time a project will take to complete
  • Telling stories (verbally or in writing), struggling to communicate details in an organized, sequential manner
  • Memorizing and retrieving information from memory
  • Initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently

How Are Problems With Executive Function Identified?

There is no single test that identifies all of the different features of executive function.  Careful observation is necessary to better understand strengths and weaknesses in this area.

What Are Some Strategies to Help?

There are many effective strategies to help with the problem of executive function challenges. Here are some methods to try:

General Strategies

  • Take step-by-step approaches to work; rely on visual organizational aids.
  • Use tools like time organizers, computers or watches with alarms.
  • Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day.
  • Ask for written directions with oral instructions whenever possible.
  • Plan and structure transition times and shifts in activities.

Managing Time

  • Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take.
  • Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each chunk.
  • Use visual calendars at to keep track of long term assignments, due dates, chores and activities.
  • Use management software such as the Franklin Day Planner, Palm Pilot or Lotus Organizer.
  • Be sure to write the due date on top of each assignment.

Managing Space and Materials

  • Organize work space.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Consider having separate work areas with complete sets of supplies for different activities.
  • Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.

Managing Work

  • Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include such items as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions; etc.
  • Meet with a teacher or supervisor on a regular basis to review work; troubleshoot problems.

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