Printable Executive Functioning Skills Checklist [PDF Included] 

Our ability to plan and organize our thoughts and activities is known as executive functioning. Executive skills are used in daily life to decide what to do, create goals, and restrain our desires. Those who possess executive skills are also good at maintaining focus and impulse control, as well as organizing knowledge and materials.

Our executive functioning abilities are crucial to many of our daily tasks. Success in school, the workplace, and everyday events also depend on possessing these abilities and cognitive skills.

While People who struggle with executive functioning can learn to control their problems and have happy lives with some practice and encouragement.

In this post, we share a curated checklist on executive functioning skills to help determine a person’s skill set. This checklist can be utilized and will help you determine which skills a person needs to work on and improve.

Checklist to evaluate executive functioning skills

We have curated a science-backed checklist that is based on various studies[1]. From basic to advanced skills, the checklist is one of the tools that can be helpful to determine the set of cognitive skills that are needed for self-control and managing behaviors.

1. Processing speed:

 Does the person take the optimal time to react to and/or comprehend information in their surroundings?

2. Visual-Spatial Organization

 Does the person have the capacity to comprehend how other things—such as shapes, persons, letters, and words—relate to one another? 

3. Mathematical reasoning;

 Does the person enjoy and possess the ability to perform mathematical procedures or concepts?

4. Basic reading:

 Can a person read well, clearly, and without making mistakes in pronunciation and sounds?

5. Writing Expression:

Can the person write clearly, accurately, quickly, and with the ability to convey their message?

6. Sustain attention:

Do they have a tendency to pay full attention while being easily distracted, worn out, or bored?

7. Working memory: 

Can the person keep details in mind while carrying out arduous activities?

8. Self-monitoring: 

Do they keep track of their own progress and compare it to a minimum requirement or expectation

9. Concept formation and abstract reasoning:

 Does the individual have the ability to link different pieces of knowledge and organize them into categories?

10.  Response inhibition:

Does a person give thoughts before making a decision or taking action on them?

11. Working memory (Knowledge and facts): 

Does the person remember all the knowledge and facts on the required subjects?

12.  Emotional control:

Does the person have control over his feelings before acting out?

13. Organization:

Does a person show structure and organization in their work?

14. Planning:

Do they execute sets of tasks in series as planned?

15. Prioritization

Does a person show the ability to prioritize what has to be done first? 

16. Metacognition:

Do the people involved in determining the what, how, and why question themselves?

17. Time management:

Does a person remember to submit work on time?

18. Flexibility: 

Does the person have the skills to adapt to any circumstances and be flexible with them?

19. Goal Directed:

Does the person have one goal and give up all else to achieve it?

20. Stress tolerance:

Does the person have the ability to work under high demand, pressure, and the unpredictable nature of events?

How can one utilize this checklist?

If you want to know if someone has certain cognitive skills for executive functioning, this is a list for them. This checklist includes items such as being able to plan and organize, being able to pay attention, being able to control impulses, etc. Executive functioning skills are important for everyday life and can be a predictor of success in school and at work. There are a few different ways that one can utilize an executive functioning skills checklist as an individual, a teacher, or an organization.

  • One way is to use it as a way to measure and track progress over time. This can be especially useful for individuals who are trying to improve their executive functioning skills/
  • Another way to use an executive functioning skills checklist is to use it as a tool to help identify areas where an individual may need more support or assistance.
  • Determining initials signs of emotional dysfunction or disorders related to the same(Only professional diagnosis is accurate)

Detecting poor executive functioning: Sign to look out for

A number of signs can be used to identify people who have poor executive functioning. Planning and organization issues, impulsivity, weak working memory, and poor emotional regulation are a few of them. An individual’s capacity to function in daily life can be significantly impacted by challenges in executive functioning. 

A few indicators may enable you to determine whether someone has impaired executive functioning. For instance, If the person has trouble finishing projects or following through on goals, the person struggles with organization or time management or the person struggles with impulsivity and decision-making. Executive dysfunction in the following skills might be a sign of some psychological problem:

  • Reaction Restraint – Having difficulty controlling thoughts or reactions in an important movement.
  •  Working Memory – Difficulty remembering important tasks or facts regarding a thing.
  •  Emotional Regulation-  Having difficulty controlling one behavior or emotions.
  • Task Commencement – Inability to initiate a project oneself with external pressure.
  •  Sustained Attention- Easily distracted by external factors.
  •  Problem Solving: Difficulty finding a solution or identifying the problem.
  • Adaptability – Inability to adapt to change in the environment
  • Organization skills – Poor organization skills like procrastinating work, and missing deadlines.
  • Time Management – People have poor time management skills, for example, delays in work.
  •  Goal-Directed Endurance,- Unable to set or achieve the optimal goal. 
  •  Meta-Cognition – Inability to self-evaluate oneself.


Any dysfunction in cognitive abilities that support daily life functioning is executive dysfunction. Executive functioning issues can make it challenging to begin tasks, remember information, and complete them. Issues with executive function can have an impact on a person’s ability to learn, work, and interact with others. Using this checklist, teachers can determine where the child is lacking and help them better improve those skills; interventions and training can be provided to improve these skills. At the same time, using some motivational tools like quotes can be beneficial if blended with checklists and other tools. 


  1. Castellanos, I., Kronenberger, W. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2016). Questionnaire-based assessment of executive functioning: Psychometrics. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 7(2), 93–109.

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