The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success

How to Use Your Brain's Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home

Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

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January 15, 2016
ISBN 9781462522798
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294 Pages
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January 16, 2016
ISBN 9781462516964
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Are you smart, scattered, and struggling? You're not alone. Cutting-edge research shows that today's 24/7 wired world and the growing demands of work and family life may simply max out the part of the brain that manages complex tasks. That's especially true for those lacking strong executive skills—the core brain-based abilities needed to maintain focus, meet deadlines, and stay cool under pressure. In this essential guide, leading experts Peg Dawson and Richard Guare help you map your own executive skills profile and take effective steps to boost your organizational skills, time management, emotional control, and nine other essential capacities. The book is packed with science-based strategies and concrete examples, plus downloadable practical tools for creating your own personalized action plan. Whether on the job or at home, you can get more done with less stress.

See also the authors' Smart but Scattered parenting guides, plus an academic planner for students and related titles for professionals.

“Psychologists Peg Dawson and Richard Guare…apply their well-honed approach to assist adults with executive skill challenges….The book offers simple and effective strategies for maintaining focus, dealing with clutter, and getting through busy days of family life.”

ADDitude


“Dawson and Guare, masters of executive skills, have provided a user-friendly, practical, and immensely valuable guide. This book is an instant classic.”

—Edward Hallowell, MD, coauthor of Delivered from Distraction


“This isn’t just a good book, it's a great book! Chock full of highly useful recommendations and guided by science and practice, this book is rich with methods to help any adult overcome problems with time management, organization, self-control, and related skills.”

—Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, ABCN, author of Taking Charge of Adult ADHD


“This book addresses the exact issues I struggle with when I'm feeling scattered and not accomplishing my goals. It helped me evaluate my areas of weakness and gave me clear, simple suggestions to help me get past some of the frustrating challenges I've experienced my whole life. The authors' personal, accessible, supportive writing style kept me engaged and focused.”

—Sue V., Rochester, New York


“As someone who consistently struggles with time management and organization, I was so glad to come across this book. Between the step-by-step breakdown of issues and the real-life stories, I found it both helpful and entertaining. The interactive worksheets were really enlightening.”

—Cheryl T., Parsippany, New Jersey


“Wow, am I glad to have this in my toolbox! The authors deftly unfold a plan to lead with your strengths, manage your weaknesses, and improve the areas that matter most. It will help me work with clients to break down their major career moves into smaller, attainable goals. The Action Plan alone is a life changer.”

—DeAnne Pearson, MEd, ACC, owner and career coach, Deliberate Careers, LLC


“Drs. Dawson and Guare provide adults of all ages with practical, well-grounded advice for staying on top of today's busy lives. Each chapter combines just-right background material with ready-to-use tips and tools to put into practice immediately.”

—Joel T. Nigg, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University


“This is a terrific self-help book—one of the best I’ve seen—for helping individuals develop their executive skills. Chapters offer sound solutions and strategies, with lots of everyday examples. The authors have an impressive grasp of current brain science, and have translated it into language that is meaningful and easy to understand.”

—Mary V. Solanto, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Table of Contents

I. Understanding the Executive in Your Brain

1. Are You Smart, Scattered, and Stressed?

2. Your Executive Skills Profile

3. Managing Executive Skills by Modifying the Environment

4. Improving Your Executive Skills

II. Understanding the Impact of Executive Skills in Your Daily Life

5. Executive Skills in the Workplace

6. Executive Skills in the Home

7. Executive Skills in Relationships

III. Strategies for Individual Executive Skills

8. Controlling Impulses: Response Inhibition

9. Keeping Track of It All: Working Memory

10. Being Cool: Emotional Control

11. Avoiding Procrastination: Task Initiation

12. Staying Focused: Sustained Attention

13. Defining a Path: Planning/Prioritizing

14. Clearing Clutter: Organization

15. Sticking to the Schedule: Time Management

16. Shifting Gears: Flexibility

17. Learning from Experience: Metacognition

18. Reaching the Finish Line: Goal-Directed Persistence

19. Rolling with the Punches: Stress Tolerance

IV. Looking Ahead

20. Aging without Losing Your Edge: A Prescription for Preserving Executive Skills

Resources


About the Authors

Peg Dawson, EdD, is a psychologist on the staff of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She also does professional development training on executive skills for schools and organizations nationally and internationally. Dr. Dawson is a past president of the New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the International School Psychology Association, and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from NASP. She is coauthor of bestselling books for general readers, including Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens, Smart but Scattered—and Stalled (with a focus on emerging adults), and The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success (with a focus on adults). Dr. Dawson is also coauthor of The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition, and books for professionals including Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, Third Edition.

Richard Guare, PhD, is Director of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Dr. Guare's research and publications focus on the understanding and treatment of learning and attention difficulties. He is a neuropsychologist and board-certified behavior analyst who frequently consults to schools and agencies. He is coauthor of bestselling books for general readers, including Smart but Scattered, Smart but Scattered Teens, Smart but Scattered—and Stalled (with a focus on emerging adults), and The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success (with a focus on adults). Dr. Guare is also coauthor of The Work-Smart Academic Planner, Revised Edition, and books for professionals including Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, Third Edition.

Audience

Anyone who has difficulties with time management, attention, organization, and other executive skills—or who just wants to be more efficient at juggling the multiple demands of 21st-century life. Also of interest to mental health professionals and coaches.