An executive function tool for working memory

A Story of Executive Function: Hansel & Gretel and Working Memory

My working memory is pretty awful. It is likely that a concussion on the playground way back in early elementary school is a big factor in this executive functioning deficit. Alas, what is truly scary is that my working memory is getting worse as I age, which is typical for most adults.

Sunday is my morning to complete a three-mile run. I repeat half-mile loops in my neighborhood. As I jog around, my mind is very busy and suddenly I’m wondering if I’d done 1.5 miles, or 2 miles, or 2.5 miles? I’ve lost track! Using a counter doesn’t help because I don’t remember to click it.

Executive function of working memory

I did five laps on this beautiful fall day.

Following the Sklar Process ™ First Truth of Time: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, I came up with a visual strategy to externally support my brain. I had six coffee stirring sticks in my pocket. As I round the corner on the hill where I slow down, I drop a stick. The next turn around I see it on the ground and it reminds me to drop another one. I leave a visual marker to help me keep track of my laps.  I was inspired by Gretel, in the tale of Hansel and Gretel, who left a path of crumbs as a trail home. However, I learned from her mistake and don’t leave crumbs the birds will eat before I do my next half-mile.

If you have trouble with working memory and keeping track of repetitions, consider the this type of strategy. Give yourself a visual reminder to support your executive function of working memory!

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program® and the Set Up Success and Seeing My Time® planners. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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