The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success by Peg Dawson, EdD and Richard Guare, PhD

The subtitle is “How to Use your Brain’s Executive Skills to keep up, stay calm and get organized at work and at home”

I’ll summarize the table of contents here briefly.

  • Part 1 is understanding the Executive in your Brain and covers the topics of Are you smart scattered and stressed? and your Executive skills profile and managing your Executive skills by modifying the Environment and Improving your executive skills.
  • Part 2 is understanding the impact of Executive skills in your daily life and Executive skills in the workplace and in the home and in your relationships.
  • Part 3 is strategies for Individual Executive skills including controlling Impulses, Working memory and keeping track of it all and emotional control and task initiation and sustained attention and planning/prioritization and organization and time management and flexibility and metacognition and goal-directed persistence and stress tolerance


There is an Executive Skills Questionnaire that I did. It tests you on all the above individual executive skills by asking to score yourself from a 0 to a 3 on a number of questions. Then it gives you a score in each of the categories.

So, for myself, personally, I scored fairly high (strong) in Response Inhibition, Working Memory and Time Management.

Where I scored lower (weak) was in Emotional Control, Organization, Planning/Prioritizing, Stress Tolerance, Task-fulfilling, Sustained Attention and Goal Direction.

Then they have a worksheet to work through what you think your strengths are and why they are strong and what you are weak in and why you’re weak in them and then what can you do to get around those weaknesses. ie. weak at organization? Start small and declutter and see a small improvement in your organization. Then you’ll want to build on that small success and so forth.

There’s a lot more to the book with a questionnaire about relationship skills and other questionnaires/quizzes that I’ve not yet gotten to. Need to read more and I’ll report back when I’m done the book.

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