One of my newest clients seeking help for executive function deficits is a delightful gentleman somewhere in his 60’s. He specifically wanted help with planning. He shared that his wife of many years will ask him each evening, “What’s on your agenda for tomorrow?”
He always responds with: ”Well, tomorrow when I get to the end of the driveway I will decide to go right or left.” He was using humor to gloss over a serious problem for him, his brain’s lack of connection to planning for the future.
Neuroscience refers to a brain’s ability to see future time as an “event horizon line.” The typical adult only has an event horizon line of three months. Time beyond three months is a “blank” or nonexistent future. For example, April 15th is so far away that most people aren’t thinking of carefully filing receipts so they will be ready to document expenses. This also explains behaviors like not saving money for future needs or exercising for future health. It’s why many people miss deadlines. It’s also helps explain why some of us never seem to manage to plan a vacation.
As my gentleman explored the strengths and weaknesses of his brain’s executive functions, he decided that his event horizon line is around two hours. He tracks time well in that time frame, but beyond that, time and his life, in unseeable in his mind.
While he jokes about this weakness, it causes him pain. As I said at the beginning, his primary purpose in coming to see me was this yearning to learn how to plan. Why? To paraphrase his words, he wants to be able to make a difference – a positive difference in the world. To do that he needs to be able to make and execute plans.
I deeply respond to this man’s strong desire to be able to live connected to a greater purpose beyond the mundane demands of life. Helping people understand the connection between their brain and their conscious use of time propels me forward every day. It gives all of us at EFS a tremendous sense of purpose.
And every day I plan. I look into my future and start working today on those future dreams. What new thing can I do to make a positive difference in another person’s life?
Putting some time into planning your life is everything. That’s why we created the Seeing My Time® Planner. It is carefully designed to provide a structure to live a balanced and purposeful life.
Being able to put our new planner into the hands of this client will give him the key tool he needs to be able to finally plan, and accomplish, what he wants to do. In my mind, anticipating this has already justified the effort and expense put into our planner, before we even get it printed. I am so curious to see his plans come to life!
Always planning…and having fun as a result!
P.S. If you are looking ahead to getting a planner for 2018, check out my free webinar on how to choose a planner.
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.