Monthly Tips

Each month, a Thinking Organized tip is emailed to our growing list of educators, parents and students who want to improve their executive functioning skills.

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When “I Have to” Isn’t Motivating Enough

Strategies to Build Momentum, Visualize Time, and Overcome Procrastination in Everyday Life
Everyone has expectations that they need to meet in their personal life, at work, or at school. Sometimes, though, these can be challenging to meet. Some of us, especially those with ADHD, may have difficulties managing and tracking time, which can lead to an inefficient work schedule. This poor perception of time passing is known as “time blindness.” Procrastination and low motivation can also interfere with our ability to achieve our goals. Experts believe that there are many reasons why we procrastinate, including a lack of self-efficacy, impulsivity, perfectionistic tendencies, and more. Due to this variability, there is no single solution to time blindness and it must be addressed on an individualized basis. Although losing track of time and putting things off happen to most of us from time to time, chronic issues can have serious negative repercussions on our lives. At Thinking Organized, we recognize that developing effective strategies to counter these difficulties can have positive, life-changing consequences. Here are several tips to start difficult tasks and stay on track.

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Erica MechlinskiWhen “I Have to” Isn’t Motivating Enough

The Importance of Summer Reading

Although students want their summer to be a well-deserved break, it is important to keep the academic ball rolling throughout these carefree months. While summer reading may seem optional, it is actually an essential tool to prevent the “summer slide,” or the loss of academic skills that occurs while school is out of session. In fact, the effects of the summer slide are cumulative. Researchers estimate that by the time a struggling reader reaches middle school, summer reading loss has accumulated to a two-year lag in reading achievement. Particularly for students who struggle with comprehension, these summer months are imperative to keep up with the reading skills they learned throughout the year.

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Erica MechlinskiThe Importance of Summer Reading

Problem Solving – How to do it Effectively and Why

Problem solving is one of the most important skills for success in both academics and life, but it is a skill that few people understand. Many adults struggle to teach their children how to effectively approach a task from multiple angles, and schools often do not offer classes that teach students how to solve problems. Instead, students are supposed to build this skill organically through the many challenges they face while navigating their coursework. Yet the tests that determine so much of their academic futures, such as the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GRE, and countless others, all heavily emphasize problem solving. So, what can parents do to help their children build this essential life skill?

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Erica MechlinskiProblem Solving – How to do it Effectively and Why

Transitioning Back to School for Elementary Schoolers

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered our lives. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the student population, who have engaged in virtual learning for almost a year. With the rollout of vaccines and increased public health measures, though, many students are preparing to return to the physical classroom. However, this shift comes with various changes to both home and school routines, as children and parents must adjust to this new situation after a year of developing and revising habits to make virtual learning go as smoothly as possible. Adapting to changes is challenging for everyone, but particularly so for elementary school students with executive functioning weaknesses, as they often find it difficult to manage new transitions. Some routines will need to be re-established, like packing their backpack, while others involve new elements, like remembering their face mask and hand sanitizer. While we expect the adjustment to take time, you can support your elementary school child’s executive functioning skills by identifying new or difficult routines and providing opportunities for practice.

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Erica MechlinskiTransitioning Back to School for Elementary Schoolers

Why Sign Up for Thinking Organized’s Summer Programs?

The end of the academic year is fast approaching, and many students are looking forward to a summer break filled with hours of gaming, socially-distant get-togethers, and more. This relaxation is needed now more than ever, as many students are wrapping up a challenging year of virtual or hybrid learning. However, while it is important that they recharge over the summer, it is just as crucial to keep up with academics to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming school year. Enrolling in one of Thinking Organized’s summer programs is a great way for students to keep their skills sharp without feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of more work. If your children ask why they should sign up for our summer programs, we have the answers for you!

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Erica MechlinskiWhy Sign Up for Thinking Organized’s Summer Programs?

How Brain Training Games Strengthen Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning skills are key to learning and managing in daily life. Whether you are a student or a high-powered CEO, knowing how to self-monitor, think flexibly, and recall information is crucial for success. However, many children have difficulty with planning, understanding and following directions, or staying focused, all of which can diminish their self-esteem and enjoyment of school. If your children are struggling with these skills, introducing them to brain training games is a fun way to help them develop their executive functioning skills.

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Erica MechlinskiHow Brain Training Games Strengthen Executive Functioning Skills

Make SMART Goals SMARTER

Setting goals to start off the new year is an important tradition. While we do not always stick to these plans, taking some time to reflect on our lives and envision what the future could hold provides a burst of energy that can take us far.
Last year, we encouraged everyone to set SMART goals, or goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, in order to help them achieve what they wanted to accomplish. However, 2020 was not the amazing, productive year many were hoping for, and many were likely hindered from reaching their goals. In light of all of the changed plans in 2020 and all of the personal growth and exploration many of us have been forced into, we at Thinking Organized think that it is time to embrace SMARTER goals for 2021.

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Erica MechlinskiMake SMART Goals SMARTER

Executive Functioning, Language, and Fun: A Triple Treat for the Holidays

With the holiday season just around the corner, you may be looking for fun activities to keep your children busy and off of screens. Many of our children have been engaged with distance learning for the past several months, so showing them that there is a world beyond their computer is crucial. Though it is important for students to rest during this break, there are many fun activities they can do that practice their executive functioning and language skills during the holidays so that they are prepared to return to school next month.

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Erica MechlinskiExecutive Functioning, Language, and Fun: A Triple Treat for the Holidays

Shelter from the Storm – A Moment for Mindfulness

For students and parents of all ages, the practice of mindfulness is a powerful tool for staying focused throughout the day. As the world seeks ways to cope with the increased stress of working and studying from home as a result of COVID-19, adding resources for remaining grounded has never been more important. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing one’s attention on the present moment without judgement. Studies have shown a wide variety of benefits of using this practice, ranging from increased emotional control to greater concentration. Like most things, mindfulness can be difficult for beginners, but with regular practice even the most skeptical can become comfortable with the practice.
By incorporating mindfulness into your children’s regular routines, you can help them build a powerful tool for managing moments of stress and emotional confusion throughout the day.

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Erica MechlinskiShelter from the Storm – A Moment for Mindfulness

Managing Academic, Work, and Personal Obligations During COVID

Between school and work, every family has a busy schedule. For children and adults with executive dysfunction, managing academic, work, and personal obligations can feel like an impossible task. This challenge is only magnified by the virtual platform that we are all using during COVID; in this time of virtual classes, meeting, and events, it seems that we are constantly jumping from one thing to the next. As a result, we might overlook projects or forget to complete a task. If your family is struggling to remember its obligations, check out these methods to help you record and track all of your responsibilities.

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Erica MechlinskiManaging Academic, Work, and Personal Obligations During COVID