ch- ch- ch- ch- change me…

NaBloPoMo Day 6:
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Today’s question is an easy one to answer. I’d like to have thicker hair, fewer wrinkles and a ultra-fit body, of course, but those aren’t the things I’d ask for if I had one self-altering wish from a genie in a bottle. What I’d wish for would be worth all of those things put together.

I’d like to have really strong executive function skills.

What is this executive function, you ask? In a long-ago post, I gave a brief rundown of executive functions. Since then, I’ve found a table of executive functions by Leslie E. Packer, PhD, that I think sums it up beautifully. She breaks executive function down into a set of subfunctions. I’ll score myself for each of her subfunctions on a scale of 0 to 2, zero being no problem at all and two being something that’s often a problem:

  • Goal Setting – Not an issue for me! I’ve got a million goals. (0)
  • Planning – I’m good at list-making, but not so good at leaving enough time to get done (or having the things I need at hand). (1-2)
  • Sequencing – I think I am pretty good at doing tasks in order, and I’m a good storyteller. (0)
  • Prioritizing – I struggle with doing the most important things first. (2)
  • Organizing – Ahem. My worldly goods are often in a state of chaos. I am “cyclically neat,” meaning I have the skills to organize, but when I am stressed, I have trouble implementing them. (1-2)
  • Task Initiating – Depends on the task! High-interest tasks are really easy to start; low-interest tasks, not so much. (1)
  • Inhibition – I can be very easily distracted. (2)
  • Pacing – I don’t always judge time well. I think I can cram in one more thing… but I really shouldn’t try. (2)
  • Shifting – I actually make transitions well. (0)
  • Self-Monitoring – I am pretty conscious of what I need to do, but I don’t always monitor the time remaining accurately. (1)
  • Emotional Control – I’m not too much of an overreactor… I don’t think. Okay, I am a worrier, and may indulge in a bit of catastrophic thinking, but I don’t fly off the handle. (1)
  • Task Completion – Definitely a tricky one for me. (2)

This is one of those things I worry about putting on the internet, because it might not exactly reassure a future employer. But I’m pretty realistic about my self-assessment on the job. I know I’m a valuable employee. I’m smart, articulate, and diplomatic. I’ve got excellent interpersonal skills. I’m a quick learner, and I can think out of the box and McGyver things as needed. I’m not lazy or unmotivated; in fact, I’d say that I am driven to learn how to improve myself in any way possible.

The thing is, when I am given structure, as in a work situation, I do really well. But when I am the one responsible for creating the structure, it is much harder. At home, for instance, I have so many undone tasks, so much disorganization, that it makes me crazy. I have worked on improving in this area for – literally – years, and things have definitely improved, but there is still so far to go – and I am nearer 50 than 40! Sometimes I despair of ever getting there.

If I could get the Instant Genie Upgrade on executive function skills, I’d have the drive and motivation to eat well, work out, get my house in shape, finish all those craft projects, read all those books, and be an overall better person. I still wouldn’t have thick hair, but I think that would be worth the trade-off.

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