Executive Functions: But, I Don’t Want to Do My Homework!

We know you don’t want to do your homework.  But it needs to be done.  And there’s a reason you’re not doing it.  It could be that you’re tired.  But, more than likely, those ever pesky executive functions are getting in your way again.  Want to know more?  (Hint: the answer is yes; it will help you to get through everything faster.)

Sense of Time

Problem: I’ll have time to do it later.

This is a common excuse when it comes to postponing anything you don’t want to do. Everyone has used it before, for any number of chores.  You might think this has to do with self-actualization, but it might boil down to a poor sense of time.  Believing that you can finish it later is often more a matter of misunderstanding how much time is involved in a task – and what can be done before or after.

Solution: Prove the amount of time you need.

If you’re certain that you’ve got enough time to get to it later, and then prove it.  Start timing how long it takes to do everything, from organizing your notes to completing a single math problem.  When you can demonstrate just how long it will take, then you can actually show how long you need to do your homework and schedule your time around everything you want (and need to do).


Problem: I can’t figure out where to start.

You’ve got a test in history class tomorrow, a paper for English due at the end of the week and math homework that you know you’ll struggle with.  So, where are you supposed to start?  After all, everything seems pressing and yet none of it sounds like any fun.  It seems like a good idea to build up your courage and take a bit of a rest before getting started.  But it’s not.

Solution: Get started now.

Just dive in.  Your homework, studying and paper writing can’t wait.  When you don’t have any idea how or where to start, the place to begin might be organizing your assignments.  Break your tasks into smaller pieces or make a schedule.  But, you shouldn’t spend too long doing this before you pick one thing to focus on and get started doing it.

Working Memory

Problem: I don’t think there’s a lot to do.

You might not suspect working memory to be an issue when doing your homework is the last thing you want to do, but it could be.  One reason that you avoid doing something you need to do is that you have a difficult time understanding what’s to be done.  If you can’t remember what you need to do – after a few sentences or after a few hours, you can suspect glitches with working memory.

Solution: Write everything down, always.  And then set reminders.

Get in the habit of writing everything down all the time.  Everything.  Whether it’s a new assignment or notes about how you need to do it.  Jot down sports practice times and birthdays.  Make to-do lists, schedules, and set reminders.  You’ll find there isn’t that much to do as long as you stay on top of it like this.

Want more helpful hints on dealing with executive functions?  That’s our specialty, and we’re always delivering more tips through the blog.  If a more personalized approach is what you need, then it’s time to give us a call.