Tools for learning. Skills for life.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.
Task initiation difficulty (often understood by many students as procrastination), is significantly influenced by executive function skills. One of the primary levers in helping to solve task initiation challenges is understanding the root of the issue. It may be true that students would “rather be doing something else” or find the assignment or material “boring,” but that’s not the basis of what’s really getting in their way. Likely, there is something else going on — the student finds the work overwhelming, doesn’t know where or how to begin, thinks it’s too difficult, worries that it’s going to take them “forever” to do it and they just don’t have the patience or time, or they don’t have the materials they need.
Emotional development and regulation also play a key role in executive function task initiation, as emotions are strong influencers on our ability to take action. Lack of confidence causes students to postpone getting started, oftentimes in an attempt to avoid negative outcomes.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help students improve their executive function task initiation abilities. It starts with identifying the underlying, root issue and problem-solving from there. Engaging Minds instructors help students determine the first step in a process, break tasks down into smaller and manageable steps, create a timeline and plan to follow-through, and develop check-in plans to keep the student, instructor and parents on the same page. With continued application, practice, and executive function coaching, student confidence begins to grow and task initiation skills gradually improve.