What are Executive Functioning Skills?

Executive functioning skills (EFS) are the neurocognitive-based skills that everyone needs and uses to complete tasks in our daily lives. The specific neurocognitive-based skills targeted by PranaMind include the following:  planning, organization, self-control, task initiation, time management, metacognition, working memory, attention, flexibility, and perseverance.  

These basic executive functioning skills, each plays an important function in accomplishing both daily responsibilities and long-term goals. It is important for you to know that they work together in different ways.


What are Executive Functioning Skills?


is developing a well-thought-out strategy before starting a task. This involves thinking about what you need before starting something and creating a list of steps to help accomplish that goal in an effective way.

Time management

 is using time well to complete tasks. With strong time management skills, you are better able to do your best and most focused work on jobs, while also completing assignments on time.

Task initiation

means you starting right away and not procrastinating, especially when it something you do not want to do. Task initiation is critical because it is the initial steps in getting up and starting a job.


means having neat and orderly systems in place. Being organized includes you having a place for everything, developing a plan to keep materials orderly, and cleaning up we go. Learners with strong organization skills are better able to find what they need when they need it.


is thinking about your thinking. That means considering what you know and what you do not know about a topic as you learn. This is a critical skill when completing challenging assignments, and even just comprehending new learning material.


allows you to focus for a period of time, ignore distractors, and refocus when needed. Strong attention skills can help to make sure you hear and understand instructions, focus well during conversations, and concentrate on longer tasks.


is effectively coping with change. This means your being open-minded, testing out new approaches, and going with the flow when things do not go as planned. Being a flexible thinker also means being able to see a situation in more than one way, which is critical for problem-solving and perspective-taking.

Working memory

keeps information in your heads while you use it. You use working memory when solving complex math problems and juggle numbers in your head. You also use working memory when remembering critical details in a story or just thinking back to what the directions given in class were.


is stopping and thinking in order to make a more positive choice in the moment. That involves you learning how to “hit the pause button,” calm down when emotions run high, think through a situation, and make a good choice for now and the future.


is working through challenges and roadblocks that come up along the way. This means your being able to try new strategies, continue working when a task is difficult, and even asking for help, when needed.

EFS are not “all or nothing.” Research has shown that every individual has a unique profile of EFS strengths and challenges. That may mean someone is great about planning out and organizing for an assignment, but really struggles with getting started. Another individual may be very disorganized but has the ability to start the assignment the night before it is due and persevere to get it done on time. It is Important to consider your own unique learning profile so you can focus on your strengths and improve on the areas that are a challenge for you.

Executive Functioning Skills Coaching
at PranaMind

What We Do

Using students’ academic work as a springboard, our EFS coaches teach students how to organize, plan, prioritize, manage time, maintain focus, self-assess, and study efficiently.

Who We Work With

Most of our clients are bright, capable students in middle school to college who are not achieving their potential because of ineffective EFS. Some have diagnoses such as ADHD or other learning differences. EFS coaching is an excellent additional support to school-based interventions.

Why It Matters

EFS are increasingly important in a complex world with many distractions and competing priorities. Students who learn these EFS are better equipped to navigate the challenges and succeed in life.

Who is Executive Functioning Skills Coaching For?

  • Middle school, high school and college students
  • Students who struggle with focus, attention, or concentration
  • “Unmotivated” students who procrastinate or are labeled as “lazy”
  • Gifted and talented
  • Students who feel unsuccessful
  • Students who struggle with time management
  • Students who have been told they “are not meeting their potential”
  • Students who cannot start, avoid, resist help with schoolwork
  • ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Processing disorders
  • Outside-the-box thinkers & learners

How We Do It

PranaMind EFS coaches use a repertoire of strategies to curate an individual EFS toolbox for each student. In a weekly 1:1 two hour session, that is either in person or online the coach and student identify, employ, and evaluate tools and strategies specific to the student’s EFS academic assignments. 

Depending upon what is discovered from comprehensive intake and interpretation of detailed assessments, the EFS coach designs a unique individualized plan for each therapy session. The goal is for the student to develop a positive growth mindset and mindfulness while improving academic, behavioral and social success.

Culture of Collaboration

Parents and the EFS coach share the same goals, they want the student to do his or her best. The EFS coach works with parents to form a “culture of collaboration” that is an information exchange focused on a clear outcome and coordinated efforts. The collaborative culture is a supportive learning environment to ensure communication about “our” learner’s progress. 

If you think that your student is experiencing EFS challenges, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your student’s situation and needs in more detail. Difficulty with EFS can hold many students back from the success they could otherwise achieve in school and beyond. No matter at what point the situation is addressed we can assist your student to be more successful in school and beyond. Intervening to support the development of EFS is an investment in students’ academic success and lifelong trajectory of achievement.