Executive Functioning Skills- Teach Planning and Prioritization

Use these tips and strategies to teach planning skills and prioritization skills, two executive functioning skills needed for everyday tasks in the classroom and home.

What Are Urban Planning Skills? (And How To Develop Them)

Urban planners help design, maintain and develop lands and build communities by accommodating the growing population. These professionals can find jobs in public sector or private sector companies, non-profit organisations, social service agencies, real estate firms and consulting organisations. If you are interested in becoming an urban planner, understanding the requirements of the job can help you make the right career choices. In this article, we discuss key urban planning skills, explore a list of examples, identify ways of improving them and discover how to highlight them while applying for a job.

Urban planning skills are a set of abilities that help urban planners develop, design and plan the usage of lands to facilitate growth, economic development, community building and movement in urban areas. They are responsible for planning the use of underdeveloped lands, revitalising areas that are declining and facilitating the economic growth of these spaces. They may also be involved in infrastructure planning for cities to ensure accessibility, safety, sanitation and efficiency within communities. All of this requires urban planners to have a combination of hard and soft skills that can help them plan, organise, develop and manage urban areas.

How to teach Planning and Prioritization

We know the feeling of being stuck on a big project. It can be overwhelming when we are presented with a task so immense that we spin our wheels with fixing problems. Maybe a big house remodel or other multi-step project comes to mind. For our kids with executive functioning challenges, the smallest project or task can be overwhelming. Planning and prioritization are a big part of that.

In fact, many adults struggle with the skills of planning and prioritization, too. Recently, I’ve had many readers reach out in response to our free executive functioning skills email course. Several readers have indicated that much of the information applies to themselves (and adults) or other adults they know. Planning and prioritization are skills that can be difficult to establish well into adulthood. For the adult with executive functioning difficulties, these are common concerns and challenges. The information below can be a help to children, teens, and even adults.

Here are strategies to help the adult with executive function disorder. Many of these tips and strategies are great for teens as well.

planning and prioritization Problems

  • Can’t get started on homework
  • Has trouble figuring out how to start a big assignment like a book report
  • Starts a project but then never finishes because they struggle with the steps
  • Has difficulty remembering and completing all of the steps to when getting dressed and ready for the day
  • Can’t figure out the most important assignments to complete first
  • Has trouble when there are more than a few items on a “to-do” list
  • Can’t sequence a project visually or verbally
  • Has trouble looking at the “big picture”
  • Can’t figure out how to find the important items when cleaning out a messy desk
  • Overwhelmed when planning out the day

The activities listed below can help with the executive functioning skills of planning and prioritization:

Prioritization is another complex executive functioning skill that, when achieved, provides kids with the ability to achieve goals. Deciding on steps of a process and thinking through that process to work toward the most important tasks is a difficult skill for many kids.

When prioritization is difficult for a person, getting every day tasks like getting dressed, completing homework, or multi-step tasks can be nearly impossible.

Prioritization allows us to make decisions about what is important so we can know what to focus on and what’s not as important. Being able to discern tasks that are necessary from those that we should do is crucial.

Prioritization is a critical skill to have, but can take some practice to achieve. Try the activities listed below to support development of this skill.

Activities to Teach Prioritization

Provide opportunities to practice prioritizing by planning simple tasks. Talk about how to build a snowman, how to make a bed, and other tasks they are familiar with.

Discuss the most important steps of tasks. What must be done before any other step can be done.

Show kids photos, and ask for their opinions about what they found to be the most important detail or big idea.

Make to-do lists to help kids plan and prioritize. Once you have everything written down, then rank tasks in order of importance.

Make a list of assignments with due dates. Highlight the things that must be done first.

Create a calendar and schedule.

Create a daily task list. Check off items as they are completed.

Try easy projects. If something seems to “big”, break it down into smaller steps.

How to Teach Planning

Planning is an executive functioning skill that refers to the ability to create a plan or a roadmap to reach a goal. Completing tasks requires the ability to have a mental plan in place so that things get done.

Planning and prioritization are EF skills that are closely related. Additionally, skills like foresight, working memory, and organization enable successful planning.

Planning can be a stumbling block for many with executive functioning challenges. Try the activities below to support the ability to plan out tasks:

Draw out plans. The drawing prompts in the Impulse Control Journal can be a great exercise in using drawing to work on real skills and goals with kids.

Teach kids to create a mind map to plan out a multiple step project.

Teach kids to create lists. Using sticky notes can make planning easier and allow kids to physically move tasks to a “done” pile as they are completed.

Plan a simple task like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ask kids to write out the steps then check them off as they are completed.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *