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For students who struggle with Executive Function, prioritization can be a nightmare and can cause them to waste a ton of time and energy trying to get things done. In this video I describe the important aspects of the problem and HOW I help students who are resistant to planning, learn how to get through that resistance and plan, AND prioritize how they will execute the plan in a sane and thoughtful way.
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Hey, what’s up? It’s me. Seth Perler, or SethPerler.com. Welcome back. I’m an executive function coach Bayside Boulder Colorado. I just redid the office. Hope you like it pretty excited about it. Got all the things going on new by Ben E. Holly me get to the point today parents what I’m going to talk to you about it a little bit of is how I help students prioritize homework. So here’s the deal your kid comes home from school. They’ve got a bunch of homework. What does the kid who struggles with executive function usually do what they do. Typically is. They look in their backpack for the folders or whatever and they chaotically grab something that needs to be done there often not using a planner effectively. They’re not there often not very aware of exactly what needs to happen. However, they have a sense that something needs to be done. So if there’s somewhat responsible, they’re looking for that thing or the most important things to be done. They pulled me out of the backpack. They reflect a little bit maybe and if they use the planner they hopefully are looking at the planter and think are these are the things I have to do but generally speaking cousar goes with executive function more or less chaotically grab something to do something because they know they have stuff to do so. What when I’m working with these students what I help them do is I help them to do a daily plan. I’m not going to go in that deep about the daily plan right now, but I’ll help them figure out. What do I have to do tonight? So they list out and I always ask what your number one priority they put that first and then what other things so maybe the number one priority is finish a math worksheet and then they have to write a draft and then after we capture something that’s the Spanish whatever they write out the things that they need to do that night and then we have a back burner and so on and so forth what I’m going to talk about specifically right now is this how does your child prioritize what they do first? Why because if they don’t choose the order or prioritize the order in which they’re going to do things again, they are chaotically doing things that can be okay. However, one of the problems with chaotically doing whatever is that There is a lot of residual loss of sort of focus time. So for example, if they had an hour and a half worth of homework and they given night but because it’s okay. I kind of start something kind of finish something kind of have to do something kind of grabbed the next thing kind of work on it kind of take a break that’s kind of really long and kind of take him down a rabbit hole where to get really deep focus out of his study mode. It’s hard to get back into that kind of etcetera. So basically they take this 90 minutes of homework and get strung out. The quality goes down the time increases that’s required to do it and ultimately the amount of things that they gets on his last it’s ever so what I’m talking about again is how do we figure out exactly what they have to do? So I have them less what they have to do it. How do we prioritize it? How do you prioritize it? There are that was a lot of set up to get to this point. There are 5 main ways that after years of doing this there are 5 main ways that I have noticed that people prioritize stuff. So I find myself asking kids all the time. I’m the same question. I’m going to post you which is going to help you understand these five ways and here is what I will ask my students cool now we know what you have to do tonight. What do you want to do first? I don’t want you chaotically just doing something whenever let’s get a structure to the so what do you need to do first? Do you want to do the number one priority first the easiest thing first the hardest thing first the longest thing first or the shortest thing first now maybe parents you have another idea of a way people prioritize things by those are the general one that I find over and over so you can you can take this information and be like, oh, yeah, my kids usually doesn’t most important first or the easiest first or the quickest first or they just randomly do something and they have no method to the madness when I pose that question to the kids. So they written out the four five things I need to do tonight. That’s a cool. Now. We know what you have to do. What order do you want to do them in? What do you want to do first? Do you want to do the easiest first to hard as first the shortest verse in the longest first or the highest Priority First and what you ultimately find Is that unless there’s a super high priority because like there is a big project due tomorrow, which ultimately trumps everything like when they’re when your kids anxious and they waited till the last minute on something and it’s really down to the wire and they’ve got to do it then everything else was on the way to obviously that number one priority gets them for it aside from those types of days. We want to ask that question. What do you want to do is easiest to hardest longest shortest or highest priority and people have different styles. So, I personally am somebody who likes to do with the quickest things first. The reason I like to do the quickest things first is because I get multiple things crossed off my to-do list quickly and easily so I get multiple things to cross up pretty quickly and I’m also because it helps me get the ball rolling and get into a work mode in a focus mode. So many kids does ya want to do this the easy as for the hardest or whatever I always follow up with a cool why cuz I want to know what they’re thinking. I’ll will I like to do the hardest because blah blah blah. I like to do the number one priority because Bubba block now this may change next week. You asked me on a Wednesday. What do you want to do? First easiest hard to shortest the longest or number one priority first and it may change and that’s okay, but I’m always curious why and then I’m like, oh that’s a really good reason some only supporting them and giving them feedback. But I want that metacognition going. I want them having to articulate why they’re choosing to do things the way they do that’s very important cuz I want them Mindful and conscious and self-aware and knowing why they’re making the choices they are making because the more they have knowledge of why they’re making choices. They’re making the better choices are going to make in all areas of life. But basically I’m asking those five questions and then we are putting them in order. They’re going to do this first the second this third. This fourth is V whatever their homework is. the night now your child probably is not going to get everything done on their list you tonight that’s very common with kids to start with executive function. So it might be a win for you if they got three out of five things or three and a half out of buy things or whatever. So you always have to look at what’s a win in the situation. Now my kidneys self-care time. They need play time to need relaxing time. Like you know, what we like or what can we have to lean out like out because sometimes your kid might want to do the things they might miss the number one priority and one of the most important things no matter what order my kids go in at my office here. I need to know that at least our number one priority thing is going to get done. Why because then number one priority thing is the thing that I say if you got nothing else done today. What would be your number one priority? What would you get done and be happy about so the very least the number one priority thing has to be done, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done first, but I want them thinking in these terms people. This is about thinking this is about how our brain Plan things in the thinking that’s associated with planning, you know, this is a very complex skill. So anyhow, I just want to point that out to you and it’s a great question. You can ask your child. Hey what you got to do tonight? Okay, let’s list all the things. Now. What order do you want to do them in and what do you want to do first the easiest to hardest the shortest longest or highest priority thing first, then they pick what order in an in my office. What ideas they have them, right? What order maybe it’s 5321 in a whatever order they want to do those things. I have them pick that at the beginning and we’re planning the night why the other benefit of picking the order they want to do things is it takes the Lingering residual breaks that are kind of chaotic and that are really a time-waster in an energy way sir for them. And it may they make the decision of the beginning of the night. So they take out their plan list of these a no card or whatever. They write their plan of the things are going to do they figure out what order they’re going to do them in and now once they finish one thing all they have to do is look at their to-do list and say okay, here’s my next thing here is what I chose is number two with this thinking and decision-making is already been done. I don’t want them making that decision after they finish the first task. I want them having made that decision when they made their plan for the night. Now last thing I’m going to say to you parents. This is not an overnight matter. I do not teach these kids to do this and do this two or three times with them and they’ve got it. Ok, this takes persistence. It takes time takes patience. I takes a lot of exhaustive in-depth discussion about things in a lot of times has the parent like look, let’s move it. You need to get this done. To go to bed. I see what’s going on here. I see that you need to be in bed in an hour to go take your 20 minutes to get ready for bed means you only have 40 minutes to do two hours worth of stop. Come on. Let’s get him what you know, so it’s very hard. I think sometimes as a parent to watch this cuz you know stuff got to get done and you’re like, I want you to be done. I want you to have free time. I don’t want you to take all night to do this stuff. But sometimes you need to have these discussions over and over patiently persistently continuing to deepen the discussion and help them with gradual release of responsibility where they get more and more take ownership of this process as they develop be extraordinarily complex skills of planning so to recap This was about five questions that I find myself asking kids over and over and over as we are planning their evening those five questions. I asked our after we finish their General plan of what needs to get done. What do you want at what order do you want to do these things in it? And do you want to do you want your first thing to be the easiest you want to do the easiest things first the hardest things first the shortest things first the longest things first or the highest priority things first. Why is that your choice? That’s really interesting. Tell me more cool. Okay, let’s make our order good now we can get started and now they can get started doing their work and when they’re done with one task, they can move easily into another one that they have intentionally chosen the order of so that they can really get down to business and get back to free time fun time and stuff like that. Anyhow, again, my name is Seth. What’s up, bro. Com. Executive function coach at Boulder Colorado if you haven’t signed up on my website for my weekly a Blog. I send you out an update every week and help you figure out how to navigate this thing called education. Have a great day. I will see you soon.