In this section you will find helpful exercise to train your attention and organization skills, and inhibitory control.
The exercises require time to write down things using pen and paper.
We provide you with instructions and templates you can download and print to start practicing!
1. Change of routine and report
UNIT: Cognitive Flexibility
OBJECTIVE: The central goal of this exercise is problem-solving. Changing our routine, creates new experiences, allows adapting and changing tasks and learning new skills, which facilitates flexible cognition. Keeping a journal, freewriting, brainstorming, and subject mapping are flexible thinking techniques. The objective is to explore many creative solutions to a problem in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner.
TIME NEEDED: Up to the learner
MATERIALS: pencil, ‘Worksheet Journal’
INSTRUCTIONS: Think and describe a moment/ a task you manage in your daily routine. Then think and propose a different way of accomplishing the task.
2. Red Light – Anger!
UNIT: Inhibitory Control
OBJECTIVES: To develop self-awareness about your own anger and to practice self-control before the situation gets out of hand
TIME NEEDED: Between 10 and 30 minutes depending on your needs
Color pencils; Worksheet “Red light – Anger”
- Read the short description of how anger starts small and grows to become bigger – often harder to control.
- Draw how do you think your anger looks in both scenarios.
- Think of the warning signs that indicate your anger is growing. You can find examples in the worksheet below.
- Write down your anger stop signs. You can place them somewhere in your room to remind yourself quickly and easily when needed.
- Think about a situation in which you felt very angry. Can you remember if any of the anger stop signs were present in this situation? Now imagine that the situation is repeating, but this time you manage to identify on time your anger stop-signs. What would you do differently this time, before the anger gets too strong?
- You can write down in your diary every time you manage to notice your anger stop signs and how they have helped you to manage your anger.
3. The Pomodoro planner
UNIT: Inhibitory Control
OBJECTIVES: Improve one’s self-control and the ability to deal with distractions in a good way.
TIME NEEDED: From a minimum of 15 minutes to fulfil at least one Pomodoro task up to a couple of hours, depending on the ability of the specific person.
MATERIALS: Pen and Worksheet “The Pomodoro Planner”
A Pomodoro is a unit of time (example: 15 minutes) that you intend to work on a specific task without stopping. It is the time you are committing to stay focused on the work you are doing.
By setting your intention to work uninterrupted on a specific task for 15-20 minutes with a planned break to follow, most people report that they can concentrate deeper and work more effectively. This will reduce the overall time you need to spend completing your homework.
- Look at the Pomodoro Planner and write down at least two tasks you have to/want to fulfil. You can List the tasks from your homework “To do list” in the order that you plan to complete them. (For example: I will solve two math tasks, or I will read the history lesson). Each line represents One Pomodoro (ex. 15 minutes). If a task will take longer than one Pomodoro, list it on multiple lines. You can Include in your list any other obligations you have that will take time away from your free time (packing for a hockey game, chores, etc.). The last task should include packing up your backpack so you are ready for the morning and can get credit for the work you accomplished.
- If, while you are working on a Pomodoro, you notice a distracting thought (ex. “I need to call Mark”), resist the urge to act on the thought. Instead, notice the thought and “park” it on the section “To Do Later” and commit to act on it during either a break or when you are finished with all your work. The more you work to stay committed to the task at hand, the more effective and efficient you will be in completing your work. Protect the Pomodoro!
- Plan to take a 5-minute TIMED break after each Pomodoro. After 3 Pomodoros plan to take a 15 – 20-minute TIMED break. The better you become at disciplining yourself to respect the timer, the more quickly and efficiently you will complete your work so you can ENJOY your free time.