Adult Checklist for Executive Functions Strengths and Weaknesses


Task initiation   

Strengths Examples
Efficient Returns e-mails and phone calls promptly
Prioritizes Gets out of bed and gets going   quickly in the morning
Activates him/herself to start on a task
Weaknesses Examples
Procrastinates Puts off minor household jobs such as changing lights or doing the dishes after dinner
Has problems transitioning from one task to another and is slow to get moving Continues to watch TV rather than start to read a book or work on a household project



Strengths Examples
Plans a sequence that does not waste time Puts aside money to pay for a down payment on a car
Sets short- and long-term goals at home and work Gets out of bed and gets going quickly in the morning; drops kids at practice, food shops, goes to the bank, makes dinner, and picks up kids at the end of practice
Weaknesses Examples
Has difficulty committing to plans Forgets many needed items at the supermarket because of not using a shopping list
Cannot explain priorities and goals Loses out on opportunities such as going to a favorite restaurant because of not making reservations or planning ahead



Strengths Examples
Easily finds things that she wants Uses a calendar or planner to assist in keeping activities organized
Keeps desk neat and materials accessible at work
Designates a specified place for most things at home Puts away clothes in closets and drawers
Weaknesses Examples
Is always looking for something Loses money, keys, wallet, and cell phone on a regular basis
Is often unsure of her schedule Schedules two things for the same time


Time Management

Strengths Examples
Budgets time efficiently Is on time for meetings and deadlines
Correctly estimates the amount of time needed to complete a task Budgets time according to priorities at work and home so that  he/she can be at kids’ games or family gatherings
Paces herself to start and complete a job effectively Pays bills on time
Weaknesses Examples
Is frequently late Gets caught up in a minor detail in cleaning the house, so that one room gets cleaned and the rest of the house remains dirty
Has problems prioritizing Is late to pick up kids, get to work, or go to an appointment
May work very slowly Underestimates how much time it will take to complete common errands such as going food shopping or making dinner



Strengths Examples
Can shift his/her approach Adapts to unexpected changes in schedule
Learns from mistakes Is adventurous, willing to try out new restaurants or listen to different music
Looks at other perspectives Takes on new challenges at work or pursues additional training to develop new skills
Changes gears readily and solves problems
Weaknesses Examples
Experiences problems with changes in routine and schedule Becomes overly upset when a meeting or plans are changed
Becomes insistent and indignant in disagreements with others Gets stuck and is unable to come up with new approaches when a  previous solution or strategy no longer works
Sees only one side of a story
Is unwilling to try new activities, restaurants, TV shows or to meet new people



Strengths Examples
Can take perspective on herself and others. Applies what he/she has learned in one situation to another, such as knowing what type of restaurant her family will like or what kind of movie to rent for her children
Is generally accurate in her assessment of his/her performance
Knows strengths and weaknesses
Is a good judge of her abilities, so that she is able to take on manageable tasks at locations
Weaknesses Examples
Does not recognize the impact of her behavior on others Uses the same tactics or strategies that have failed repeatedly in the past
Can’t explain how she intends to approach or solve a problem Often feels that things that happen to her are outside of her control
Often acts before thinking and without  consideration of his/her actions or         anticipating consequences


Response Inhibition

Strengths Examples
Stops and thinks before making an important decision Delays making negative comments to her spouse or boss
Takes time to read directions or analyze a problem before starting to do something Checks over an important work assignment before handing it in
Can postpone immediate gratification Makes a choice not to engage in an argument with a teenage son or daughter
Weaknesses Examples
Speaks before thinking Agrees to do something such as going out or helping someone when he/she has other commitments
Can be impulsive Drinks or gambles too much without considering the impact
May not consider safety or long-term impact of an action
Talks about something in conversations or at work without sufficient preparation


Regulation of Affect

Strengths Examples
Can regulate/control his/her emotions Expresses frustration verbally
Can tolerate frustration Finds something positive about a situation when things don’t go as planned
Is optimistic and positive
Is not overly reactive when criticized at work or by family or friends and can accept the criticism or make a well thought-out response
Weaknesses Examples
Gets easily upset or angry Goes into a “rage” or an angry display in response to perceived criticism
Is moody, often in response to minimal provocation Becomes overly happy or despondent in response to a routine event
Stays upset for extended periods
Responds angrily to a critical phone call or e-mail at work
Stays angry or upset for an entire day, getting stuck in a “bad mood”


Social Awareness

Strengths Examples
“Reads” nonverbal cues and the feelings of others Has many friends and is well-liked
Recognizes the needs of others Is a good host, and people enjoy visiting
Sees other people’s perspectives Is a good listener and thoughtful in times of stress for others
Weaknesses Examples
Is unaware of other people’s feelings Unknowingly stands too close in conversations and makes others uncomfortable
Has difficulty understanding verbal cues such as social conventions and personal boundaries Dominates conversations and does not listen to others


Sustained Attention

Strengths Examples
Maintains focus and attention for a sustained period of time Can pay attention to something that may be important, but boring
Ignores distractions Keeps focus on a conversation with a child, even with distractions such as a television or other conversations in the room
Returns to an activity if interrupted and reengages attention Starts on household tasks such as cleaning, is interrupted by taking a child to a practice, then returns to the task
Weaknesses Examples
Starts one thing after another without finishing them Reads a book without paying attention to the content and needs to reread it
Gets bored easily Daydreams at work, getting distracted by the computer, or loses track in conversations with coworkers
Is easily distracted by external events Is told by spouse that she is not listening


Goal-Directed Persistence

Strengths Examples
Sets goals and sustains ongoing efforts to complete them Completes long-term tasks such as finishing a basement or maintaining a vegetable garden
Sets and achieves long-term goals and persists in the face of difficulty, hardship, and grueling effort Sets long-term personal goals such as building a business, saving money for a new home, or getting a college degree
Weaknesses Examples
Is bored by long-term tasks Starts cleaning the garage or basement and gives up after an hour
Gives up readily when a job is perceived as overly difficult Sets a goal of saving money for a down payment on a house but spends it on a new car


Working Memory

Strengths Examples
Follows multi-step directions Does tasks without losing sight of other commitments or obligations
Remembers previous experiences and applies them in a current action Remembers to do things when asked by spouse or boss
Remembers the details of a conversation, a project at work, or driving directions
Weaknesses Examples
Is absent-minded Often forgets items he/she wants when food shopping
Needs frequent reminders to complete tasks Starts on a project and forgets to do an important part of it
Has difficulty remembering multi-step directions