What is the Executive Function of Working Memory?

by Lisa Woodruff

Nov 4, 2022 | Episode 509 |

What's next for research at Organize 365®? Now that I've learned that I have ADHD, I'm ready to dive deeper into this topic of executive function and organization with formal research.

Lots of times ADHD can be diagnosed when the person’s executive functions are analyzed. 

In this episode, I shared three examples of me relying on my working memory.  I analyze if my working memory helped or hindered the situation and explore explanations as to why I responded, the way I did, in each situation.  

The executive function of working memory holds information in your head for a short amount of time so you can manipulate that information and do something.  Example: A math problem.  You take in the information of the numbers and functions that are being requested. When you do the problem in your head you are using your working memory to solve the problem.

All hope is not lost - yes we can improve our executive functions according to Psychology today.  They suggest to identify which executive function you want to improve and then pick a strategy to help you improve.

Strategies to improve your executive functions include:

  1. Chunk things into smaller tasks
  2. Externalize information using notepads, to do lists, or reminders 

(had you completed the math problem, mentioned earlier, on paper, you would be helping your working memory by reducing demand upon your working memory so it is available for other items you need to remember)

  1. Buddy up with a peer to foster accountability
  2. Blocking access to distractions such as your phone in a drawer while focusing on a task
  3. Use rewards to motivate periods of consistent effort

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