Got an executive function but you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD- Here’s some practical advice

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and executive function disorder (EFD) are two similar, but separate, conditions that make it harder for us to organize and complete tasks. Though it’s possible to just have one of the two conditions, it’s estimated that around 90% of children with ADHD also show signs of having EFD.

Here’s what you need to know about ADHD and EFD

ADHD is most often diagnosed in children between the ages of 6 and 12; it’s estimated that 2-5% children in school have it. The main symptoms include:

  • impulsiveness
  • hyperactivity
  • inattentiveness

In addition to these, anxiety and sleep-related disorders can also be seen in people with the condition. The symptoms usually lessen as children go through puberty and enter adulthood, though it’s not uncommon for the symptoms to remain in adulthood. Children with ADHD may not do too well in school and have emotional and social problems, while adults with it may become associated with things like crime, unemployment and substance abuse. Different people with the condition will show different symptoms.

EFD is a condition that affects our executive functions. These functions are a set of skills we all use to organize and act on information that we glean from the world around us. Thanks to these skills, we’re able to plan, manage and complete both short-term tasks and long-term goals. Those who have EFD usually show some or all of the following symptoms:

  • – misplacing items
  • problems with time management
  • problems keeping track of possessions

Some people can be born with EFD and having conditions such as ADHD can eventually lead to you getting EFD. The executive function skills are controlled by a part of the brain called the frontal lobe. If you sustain an injury to the front of your head, this can trigger symptoms of EFD.

Practical advice on managing the two conditions

Having just one of these conditions can be hard enough, but having both of them can make certain aspects of life more challenging. If you have both of these conditions and think you won’t be able to manage, here are some practical tips for managing them both together:


  • Using a pocket planner and updating it daily
  • Adopting a step-by-step approach to tasks
  • Breaking one large task down into several smaller, manageable tasks
  • Using a calendar for long-term tasks
  • Having an organized workspace with no clutter
  • Using visual aids to help stay organized
  • Noting down duet dates/deadlines

ADHD in adults is most commonly by a combination of medication and therapy. Stimulants are usually used and the most common type of therapy used is cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapy not only helps with managing ADHD, but also with treating any potential side-effects caused by the medication, such as depression and anxiety. You may even be appointed a life coach to help you. Whatever treatment you’re taking, following the tips listed above can go some way to help you manage both ADHD and EFD more effectively.