Ready, Set, Done!
The last area of executive function according to Dr. Brown is Motivating and Self Regulating Actions. This refers to getting yourself to get started on something and self-regulating that momentum to complete the task.
Everyone has jobs that they like and are eager to accomplish and jobs that they don’t like to do. Our challenge is to figure out what works best to get going.
Many times, identifying the goal is a motivator. Deciding what you need to accomplish is the first step in any task. Take a few seconds and think of a goal that to have and what you will need to accomplish to achieve that goal.
For many people, clarifying the goal is enough to get them started. Others need a little more support.
Planning breaks can help. Set a timer for ten minutes. When the timer goes off, you have earned a five minute break. Many times, once you are on a roll, you will not need or want the break, but knowing you can take it can make the task less daunting.
Another strategy is to break the task down into mini tasks or chunks and only plan on doing one chunk at a time. Once you get started, you may find that you want to keep going, but the knowledge that you don’t have to can help with the overwhelm.
The last strategy that I want to share is to reward yourself. Plan a treat for when you are done. Will it be food, a trip, a financial reward that you use toward a larger goal? Identify something that excites you!
Billy has to clean his room. Billy can be five, ninety five, or anywhere in between. Most people need motivation to get going and need to self regulate to keep going when it comes to cleaning their room. Billy is no exception. He starts by taking a few minutes to look around his room and define his goal. He wants a clean room, that means that his bed will be made, the floor clear, laundry in the hamper, clean clothes hung in the closet or in a drawer, and surfaces clear. Now that the steps are defined, Billy is ready to begin. He sets himself up for success by saying he will make his bed and gives himself five minutes for the task. He also tells himself that he can put a quarter in his vacation fund when he is done with his bed. He is off to a great start. As soon as he is done, he tells himself, I want to see how much of the floor I can clear before the timer rings. By employing the motivation strategies and continuing to self regulate as he completes his task, Billy can successfully clean his room.
What task will you accomplish today?