10 Examples Of How We Use Executive Functioning Skills In Our Daily Lives

Can you name all the steps it takes to ride a cycle? All the processes involved in it? 

If you had to take a minute to come up with the answer, it’s because most of the processes involved don’t require you to consciously think about them. For most people, these processes just happen automatically because of their executive functioning skills.

Cycling requires you to pay attention to the traffic, plan your route and destination, monitor how you’re riding, be flexible enough to brake at a moment’s notice in case a vehicle comes out of nowhere, and be emotionally regulated enough not to shout at the person driving the vehicle and so much more. All of this is made possible because of your executive functioning skills. 

This blog will highlight various other examples of the daily application of executive functioning skills.

Encountering executive functioning in day-to-day life events

Executive functioning is the set of cognitive processes that help individuals control and direct their behavior so that they can achieve their goals. We employ these skills in our daily life, most of the time without even realizing it. Here are some examples of people using executive functioning skills in their daily life:

1. Studying


Studying can involve anything from reading a book to solving mathematical questions. The one thing required to perform all of the tasks involved in studying is sustained attention. There will be times when the material might seem too difficult or boring. Still, the individual needs to be persistent in their effort and stay on the task until it’s done.

2. Completing a project

Completing a project

This could include a summer project like building a model or a family project like throwing a surprise birthday party. Any of these tasks would require the individual to think of the idea and plan the details, including the things and the people required. They will have to stick to their schedule and get everything done on time in order to succeed. Additionally, if there are any bumps on the way, they will have to be flexible enough to adapt accordingly.

3. Littering


The impulse to throw a wrapper as soon as you are done eating a snack or a candy is strong. Especially if you are already holding several things in your hand. Putting the wrapper in your pocket or bag instead and waiting until you find a bin to throw it takes impulse control, a vital and valuable executive functioning skill.

4. Multitasking


More often than not, we are engaged in more than one activity. Watching TV while eating, talking to your friend while also looking through your phone, and listening to the teacher while also making notes, are all examples of tasks that require you to do multiple things at once. This ability to juggle and successfully perform multiple tasks is an example of executive functioning in daily life.

5. Cleaning your cupboards

Cleaning your cupboards

Cleaning your cupboards from time to time is an essential task. Clothes need to be organized according to season, occasion, and sometimes even color. Books need to be organized according to need, genre, and size. To effectively organize various personal belongings so that they fit inside the cupboard and are also easy to find is an executive functioning skill.

6. Playing a game

 Playing a game

Playing a game requires performing a lot of tasks, including but not limited to thinking or remembering a game, initiating it by bringing the required number of players together, dividing the teams, and then explaining the rules. Planning the game, following the rules, and making sure everyone gets a fair turn are all tasks that are possible because of executive functioning skills.

7. Going to the theatre

 Going to the theatre

Going to the theatre requires the individual to sustain attention throughout the show or movie to understand and enjoy the plot. It also requires them to control their feeling about the plot and express them as softly as possible or after the show is over to not disturb other people.

8. Conversing and communicating

Conversing and communicating

Effective communication requires a lot of skills. The individual needs to sustain their attention and listen to what the other person has to say. Even if they disagree with something, they need to respect the other person’s opinion and express their dissent in an appropriate manner. Moreover, the individual also needs to show the situation and conversation-appropriate emotions, like not laughing when someone is talking about a serious concern.

9. Eating 


While eating a meal, often the urge to skip all the green vegetables and get right to the dessert. To resist this impulse and do what you know is good for you requires exercising executive functioning skills. The reason why we consciously make healthier choices like eating green vegetables, even though we might not enjoy them in the short term, is because of this impulse control.

10. Shopping


Shopping usually requires you to plan beforehand everything you want and need. You might even choose to make a list that helps you remember everything and makes the process smooth and efficient. Sticking to your list and not splurging on things you don’t need require emotional and impulse control as well as sustained attention. These are all executive functioning skills that help in making daily life tasks much easier. 

Strengthening our executive functions

All the tasks mentioned above are examples of executive functioning skills being employed in daily life. 

Skills are like muscles; the more you exercise, use and train them, the stronger they get. The tasks that require executive functioning skills for their completion are the very tasks that also exercise and strengthen these skills.

To further improve executive functioning skills, the individual can make use of various tools and resources available. For example, they can use calendars and make to-do lists to better prioritize and manage several tasks at the same time. 

The individual can also engage in role plays that will expose them to a problem in a safe setting and give them a chance to master it. Executive functioning skills can also be strengthened by engaging our brains in several brain teasers and games that require outside-the-box thinking. At the same time, these skills can also be affected by learning disabilities like dyscalculia, however, taking measures and employing strategies can help the learners substantially. 


Executive functioning is a set of essential skills that help us accomplish the most basic of tasks, like listening and reading, to the more complex tasks, like driving. We use them in our day-to-day activities, most of the time, without even realizing it.

These vital skills can be learned and improved with regular use and training. Engaging in new but simple tasks that keep your brain on its toes can help in sharpening these cognitive skills.

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