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Old 09-08-18, 12:48 PM
italianstallion italianstallion is offline
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Executive function

I've been listening to Dr. Russell Barkley talk about ADHD and have found it very interesting. Basically, he says there is a misconception that the primary symptom of ADHD has to do with attention/focus. This is how I've tended to think about it, but he says that while attention/focus is a symptom, it is not the primary problem. The primary issue has to do with the executive function of the brain. While often times we know what has to be done, we cannot prioritize doing what is important.

I found this to be very accurate of myself. Every day there are so many things I would love to do, but I end up wasting so much time instead. I may not even necessarily be doing things I enjoy or that make me happy, they are just things to do INSTEAD of what I actually need to get done. I struggle to prioritize what is most important and instead procrastinate, instead of just sitting down and getting it done.
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Old 09-08-18, 01:14 PM
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Re: Executive function

I also know this problem, but I kind of "fix" it with very strict routines.
My routines get more and more and I get very inflexible.
But without them I couldn`t begin or stop doing things. Or I wouldn`t bring anything to an end.

Is there anyone else here who follows strict routines?
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Old 09-09-18, 11:07 AM
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Re: Executive function

Are we sure Barkley meant we can't consciously prioritize correctly or did he mean more an emotional, subconscious thing?


Cause if he meant consciously, I disagree. I know very well I need to finish my work project first. I just can't get myself to do it.
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Old 09-09-18, 12:01 PM
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Re: Executive function

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Originally Posted by italianstallion View Post
Every day there are so many things I would love to do, but I end up wasting so much time instead. I may not even necessarily be doing things I enjoy or that make me happy, they are just things to do INSTEAD of what I actually need to get done. I struggle to prioritize what is most important and instead procrastinate, instead of just sitting down and getting it done.
This just explained my life in a nutshell.

And it's frustrating cause it makes me feel like such an idiot...or like I'm being lazy, or that i'm just completely useless. It's like I KNOW I can do all this stuff...there's nothing physically stopping me, and it's often very simple things...things that would be relatively easy if I'd just freaking do them.
And then people get frustrated with me, because I'm not doing all these things...when they know I can do them. They've seen me at my good times so they know how capable I can be so they expect that of me all the time and they just don't get it.
Then again...I don't get it either.

It's very frustrating.
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Old 09-09-18, 12:15 PM
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Re: Executive function

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Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
I know very well I need to finish my work project first. I just can't get myself to do it.
Yeah, that's another thing that really frustrates me and is great at running my ego down into the mud...

I KNOW all of the things I should or shouldn't be doing. Dang it...
And then I think people think I didn't get things done on purpose. I'm just lazy or something. Or they think it's because I'm just not motivated. They get upset because they know I'm more then capable, so there's no reason I should be falling short.
And often times I get told I just need to "Just do it!" like the nike slogan goes. If I wanted something done bad enough, I'd "just do it!". Like it's a character flaw or something that I'm not doing these things.
They don't get that I think my "Do it!" button in my brain is broken.

Lunacie (an awesome member here on these forums) has a quote from Barkley in her signature that I really like:

Quote:
ADD is not a problem of knowing what to do; it is a problem of doing what you know.
-RUSSELL A. BARKLEY, PH.D.
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Old 09-09-18, 01:05 PM
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Re: Executive function

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Originally Posted by psychopathetic View Post
Yeah, that's another thing that really frustrates me and is great at running my ego down into the mud...

I KNOW all of the things I should or shouldn't be doing. Dang it...
And then I think people think I didn't get things done on purpose. I'm just lazy or something. Or they think it's because I'm just not motivated. They get upset because they know I'm more then capable, so there's no reason I should be falling short.
And often times I get told I just need to "Just do it!" like the nike slogan goes. If I wanted something done bad enough, I'd "just do it!". Like it's a character flaw or something that I'm not doing these things.
They don't get that I think my "Do it!" button in my brain is broken.

Lunacie (an awesome member here on these forums) has a quote from Barkley in her signature that I really like:
Yes, our "Do it!" button is broken, or doesn't work right.

It's like brakes on a car that don't hold pressure and you have to pump them
several times to stop the car (focus on just one thing), and that means we put
several times more effort into doing ordinary things than most people have to.
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Old 09-09-18, 02:26 PM
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Re: Executive function

Quote:
Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
Are we sure Barkley meant we can't consciously prioritize correctly or did he mean more an emotional, subconscious thing?


Cause if he meant consciously, I disagree. I know very well I need to finish my work project first. I just can't get myself to do it.
I know what things I should be doing and have an idea of which things are more important than others. But I just have a very difficult time sticking to any sort of schedule and still get sucked into doing things that are often not important but which I usually find more stimulating or interesting.

One of the biggest problems for me is that I have very little sense of the passage of time, especially during so-called "hyperfocus" (or "perseveration" as Barkley likes to call it). Almost every day, I will do something like check the news or go to an online forum with the intention of just spending 15 minutes and the next thing I know, three or four hours have passed. I usually can't figure out how that much time could have passed.

Sometimes, I've just closed my eyes while lying in bed and let my mind wander and it will seem to me like it's only been 20 minutes or half an hour when it's actually been two hours.

And, of course, I usually overestimate how long it will take to do tasks I don't like doing. I might think about washing the dishes and will tell myself that it will take "too long" when I could probably have done them in 20 minutes.

This lack of much sense of the passage of time and how long it takes to do things makes it difficult to manage my time and stick to any schedules I set for myself. And my ADHD medication doesn't seem to be helping in this particular area.
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Old 09-10-18, 04:05 PM
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Re: Executive function

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky8 View Post
I also know this problem, but I kind of "fix" it with very strict routines.
My routines get more and more and I get very inflexible.
But without them I couldn`t begin or stop doing things. Or I wouldn`t bring anything to an end.

Is there anyone else here who follows strict routines?
I think this would greatly benefit me but it is just so difficult to stick with it. Beside a mandatory routine like going to work or going to classes, I always sputter out with my routines. I have been trying to take baby steps though like leaving my phone across the room and not by my bed side, so that I will get right up in the morning and not waste an hour on the phone.

I will try to seriously map out more of a daily routine.. the older I get the less time I can afford to waste so I really need to get in a routine now more than ever I feel.
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Old 09-10-18, 04:10 PM
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Re: Executive function

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Originally Posted by psychopathetic View Post
This just explained my life in a nutshell.

And it's frustrating cause it makes me feel like such an idiot...or like I'm being lazy, or that i'm just completely useless. It's like I KNOW I can do all this stuff...there's nothing physically stopping me, and it's often very simple things...things that would be relatively easy if I'd just freaking do them.
And then people get frustrated with me, because I'm not doing all these things...when they know I can do them. They've seen me at my good times so they know how capable I can be so they expect that of me all the time and they just don't get it.
Then again...I don't get it either.

It's very frustrating.
Agreed. Being on the medication definitely makes it all more manageable. But without all the bad habits and "laziness" come right back. The problem is it is so tempting to not take, or put off taking meds for me at least... not sure if this is the "laziness" part of me taking over or the lack of solid routines.

But we have to remember that while it may come across as laziness to those who do not understand, we know this is not the real problem. Which brings me back to the executive function, or our lack of it.
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Old 09-10-18, 04:16 PM
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Re: Executive function

Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppnNSailinMan View Post
I know what things I should be doing and have an idea of which things are more important than others. But I just have a very difficult time sticking to any sort of schedule and still get sucked into doing things that are often not important but which I usually find more stimulating or interesting.

One of the biggest problems for me is that I have very little sense of the passage of time, especially during so-called "hyperfocus" (or "perseveration" as Barkley likes to call it). Almost every day, I will do something like check the news or go to an online forum with the intention of just spending 15 minutes and the next thing I know, three or four hours have passed. I usually can't figure out how that much time could have passed.

Sometimes, I've just closed my eyes while lying in bed and let my mind wander and it will seem to me like it's only been 20 minutes or half an hour when it's actually been two hours.

And, of course, I usually overestimate how long it will take to do tasks I don't like doing. I might think about washing the dishes and will tell myself that it will take "too long" when I could probably have done them in 20 minutes.

This lack of much sense of the passage of time and how long it takes to do things makes it difficult to manage my time and stick to any schedules I set for myself. And my ADHD medication doesn't seem to be helping in this particular area.
Yes!! I can definitely relate to the "more stimulating". For example, yesterday I was supposed to wake up and study for an exam first thing and just get the studying over with... Instead I decided to play video games for an hour.. then 2 hours.. then a few hours... I did not end up studying until the night time. Procrastinated the day away again.

I find when on meds I am more rational, and can find the important things more stimulating, or at least realize their importance act on them. Or I am not as intrigued by the time wasters like video games. But I have a bad habit of even procrastinating taking the medication.
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Old 09-10-18, 09:42 PM
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Re: Executive function

Quote:
Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
Are we sure Barkley meant we can't consciously prioritize correctly or did he mean more an emotional, subconscious thing?


Cause if he meant consciously, I disagree. I know very well I need to finish my work project first. I just can't get myself to do it.
barkley call executive function conscious , Thomas moore disagrees and calls them unconscious
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Old 09-14-18, 03:19 PM
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Re: Executive function

I know Barkley has lead the charge on a lot of important ADHD research, but there is a lot of research besides Barkley. I know scientific research sort of culminates, and I think we can get the wrong idea by only taking the word of one person. information builds on information. there are a lot of other theories, and their is of coarse dabrowski positive disintegration.

the assertions, from what I understand, is that we can't learn these things. that at no time can we conceptualize. I might have a different judgment call on this, but the only thing I can really get behind (and this just might be me talking now after a lot of incorporation) is the concept of time, and that isn't even that we can't plan long term or even predict long term events(I know for a fact I can based on prior knowledge) and ya, I think that if I can other's can to. it's more of, we don't feel the same sense of anxiety other's feel on the passage of time. the contingency there, alarms (good thing we have iphones). I guess I have trained myself to monitor my words when the time for something is coming up (cause I do have an internal clock, I can say what time it is when I've only looked at the time once or twice in a day).

I think on my personal track, a giant milestone was learning what taking the horse by the rains actually means, the super ego for instance. getting out of control matrix's (as in I'm not an IT and what the word IT even refers to), regularizing the hybrid side if myself (what in turn the words hyperfocus even means). knowing my personality, developing parts of my personality, giving life my life a meaning (the existential stuff SUCKS), understanding all the extension of self stuff (which I had to really understand to get out of control matrix's).

I had to understand how to separate myself from others, what that means on the side of empathy, understand my own intelligence and what that means to me, understand literal and metaphorical meaning(like, I think that's something we all understand to some degree, but really piecing together what that means in terms of my own intelligence), why we squelch ourselfs and what that does to our behavior, cognatively, emotionally and behaviorally. understand EQ, affective language to the tune of how that effects our own behavior, self talk.

the things that matter to me, things that aren't important to me. were I am talented, where I am not, what I can get better at, what I need to put down (this might be just me cause of multipotentialism and how that was getting in the way of the road of my life), addictions and causes.

understanding wounds and how to heal them, understanding egalitarianism and why we can get stuck on a war path sometimes. understanding my best and worst sides, understanding the shadow and incorporation(the carl jung stuff). understanding modular and evolutionary intelligence, Multiple Int theory, gifted stuff.

how we pick up behaviors from people and being ok with self and trusting the self, how self sabotage happens and why, understanding stigma and alienation, understanding motivation, intra and extra-personal relationships. understanding that what we see in ourselfs we in turn help elevate other people in that same way (understanding charisma, the thing something can't know about themselves, other's have to tell you).

temperament, character, 1st nature 2nd nature. atunment/adapting to with nature. knowing the difference between having pride and being completely vulnerable. understanding with detail the way the lenses we see the world actually works, pancake sorting(seriously that is a thing, look up bill gates and pancake sorting). understanding the interconnection of everything(I think that is a gifted thing).

difference between our own worldview and the world at large. how I specifically think (that was difficult because I like to learn from sources, but I am a source), that there is only so far logic can take us (even the scientific method hedges on the concept that logic is fallible and iterates, such that nothing is 100% true, or else, we would still be in caves). I think, ehh, that's a big point in this discussion.

hitting enlightenment, spirituality, incorporation of symbols. understanding hunter/gatherer society and how to apply energy from one place to another, be it relationship or just how we relate to our work from other things (like addiction, self sabotage etc...). understanding motivation, that relationships are they key to living.

the realization that more I did something the better I would do at that something, that doesn't seem like a shocker, but with stuff outside of academics and what we typically realize. the more I would make my own personal plans everyday to get things done, the better my reach in making plans in the future. that applies to everything (and what that particular 4 word phrase actually means).

going out and doing stuff we naturally get better at navigating the world, the more we incorporate via conscious affective language into our life(move the energy from one thing, driving a car, to driving us through the day for instance). understanding all the minute details of executive transactions, using visualization to enhance a memory that really displays who we are, a certain emotion in a certain time, knowing what being fully present means (and having that moment that really encapsulates what that it feels to be fully alive).

then, what executive action means, using mental gymnastics of pretty much everything I posted. on the morbid end, we can think of executions of a person (see that in our visualization), then, we can transfer that energy into what we do best... hit stuff in video games. then we can transfer that same energy into our aim (present and future) and what we are doing (say, task list), then shoot for it. attack the day, attack the task list and execute the list items. applying the same knowledge from the "making plans helps make plans in the future" into "the more I execute and attack the day, the better able I will become in the future"
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Old 09-14-18, 04:22 PM
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Re: Executive function

On the subject of executive function, I can't recommend "Two Awesome Hours" by Dr. Joshua Davis, Ph.D. enough, and not because he's a childhood friend of mine. It's all about maximizing your energy and creativity for a sustained burst of time (roughly two hours) to get done what you really need to get done at a high level.

The common "human performance" literature is all about making you a super-efficient machine for the (roughly) 16 hours you are awake. The problem with that is that humans AREN'T MACHINES! We have biological rhythms and limitations, so you have to work with that to make you most effective for the times when you really need it. This includes when and what to eat, when to use caffeine, when to check (and not check) your email and ADD Forums messages, your environment (including your desk at work), light levels, exercise, etc. etc.

It's all backed by really good neuroscience, and some of it is really eye opening. Lots of easy "hacks", as they say nowadays.

Check it out. And no, he's not giving me kickbacks. It's just a really helpful book. I should probably read it again.

Daniel
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Old 09-14-18, 04:25 PM
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Re: Executive function

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky8 View Post
I also know this problem, but I kind of "fix" it with very strict routines.
My routines get more and more and I get very inflexible.
But without them I couldn`t begin or stop doing things. Or I wouldn`t bring anything to an end.

Is there anyone else here who follows strict routines?
I should! I try!
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Old 09-14-18, 06:06 PM
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Re: Executive function

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Originally Posted by Drogheda View Post
I know Barkley has lead the charge on a lot of important ADHD research, but there is a lot of research besides Barkley. I know scientific research sort of culminates, and I think we can get the wrong idea by only taking the word of one person. information builds on information. there are a lot of other theories, and their is of coarse dabrowski positive disintegration.
Just a note: this is exactly what Barkley does.
He isn't involved in research directly as I understand it.
He reads all the research and presents the findings
when double-blind studies come up with the same conclusions.
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