Executive Function Strategies Blog

Academic Goal Setting: Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Editor’s note: We hope you enjoy reading this story about how an Executive Function coach practices what she preaches as she encourages her students to use academic goal setting to strengthen their Executive Function skills.

Last winter I was standing in line to buy coffee with a fellow coach when he got an alert on his phone reminding him to record an update on his progress so far that day, and he was so excited about it that he showed it to me. It was an app called Habit List and he was having success changing some habits he was focused on. I made a note of the name of it on my iPhone and thought, hey I'll check it out and maybe it will benefit some of my students down the road that want to change a habit. Little did I know then that something (kind of minor) he said would make such a major impact on my personal life.

5 Must-Have Apps for Improving Executive Functioning in Children


Children who struggle with executive functioning skills such as organization, planning, time management, and working memory perform much better when they have the assistance of a parent, teacher, or coach to help them apply these skills. This can be problematic when a child has five homework assignments due within two days and can’t even figure out how to get started. Unfortunately, personal support is not always available to help children know how, when, and where effectively to use their executive functioning skills.

Fortunately there are a variety of powerful apps and technologies for improving executive functioning in children who may have weak executive functioning skills. While these apps will not transform children who walk around with a messy backpack filled with decaying, month-old lunches into highly organized and efficient people, they provide some support and scaffolding that can enhance children's overall executive functioning. The key is for parents and educators to identify areas of executive weakness and then to find apps that practice and support those skills. The following are five of our favorites for supporting planning, working memory, organization, and time management.