October 10, 2017

Executive function tips from tech entrepreneurs

Many students look up to entrepreneurs for their success – yet students may feel like it’s impossible to emulate their success. Not so! Many successful entrepreneurs rely on strong habits that are in fact, EF strategies.

Richard Branson, master list maker

Richard Branson is an entrepreneurial rock star. This Brit founded Virgin Records at 20 years old and has gone on to develop Virgin Air, Virgin Hotels – even Virgin Galactic! How does he bring all of these ideas to fruition? He loves making lists, instead of simply relying on his memory alone.

” If I didn’t write down all of my ideas, I would forget them! So I always remember to write down my ideas,” he said in a post on Twitter.

What does this look like in practice? Branson, who struggles with dyslexia, always make sure to carry a notebook in his back pocket, so he’s never scrambling for a scrap of paper. Students can (literally) take a page out of Branson’s book by carrying an organizer during the school day. Writing down every assignment, even if it’s no homework, can keep students organized when they sit down to complete their assignments each night – and help them to avoid last-minute work on a forgotten project or math packet.

Jack Dorsey, self-reflector extraordinaire

Any student who has ever boiled down their thoughts into 140 characters knows Dorsey’s work; he was one of the brains behind Twitter. While he was the CEO of Twitter, he also led the charge with another company. How did he do it? According to Forbes, Dorsey carves out time to self-reflect.

“The best thinking time is just walking,” he said to the publication.

He takes time to wander outdoors to assess his successes and his failures at the end of each week. While students don’t have to reflect on their academic or social progress every week (these things can take time!), they can certainly follow in Dorsey’s footsteps. Students can periodically review their study habits to double check that they’re useful. Are they still using their accordion folder to house all their assignments? What about using a timer to keep themselves on track during homework sessions?

Warren Buffett, ultimate prioritizer

Buffett has some unusual habits compared to other entrepreneurs. He always sets time aside to let his mind wander; he reads up to 500 pages per day. But this investor and philanthropist knows that staying focused is key. How does he keep himself on task?

He will prioritize his goals with a visual reminder. Buffett will list his top 5 goals to make sure he doesn’t get sidetracked. He then will figure out the steps he needs to take in order to start achieving them. Students who are transitioning – from 8th grade to high school or elementary to middle school – can stay focused amidst all their new to-dos by following Buffett’s lead.

These foundational skills help set up these entrepreneurs for success – and they may not even realize they have strong executive functioning skills. To learn more about how EF skills are the building blocks of success, contact us here and schedule an appointment.