The Brain: Keeping Track of Plans and Organizing Successfully

We can train our brain to organize, just like it organizes the pathways within itself to function. For teens and young adults especially, their independence grows from their ability to organize and prioritize what’s happening in their lives…

We’ve been around the traps a few times with the familiar and notable adages by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Benjamin Franklin that refer to “effective planning” in life.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Be it in life, at work, or school, planning connects to our entire societal construct so intensely that we spend a scary amount of dollars on things like planners and organizers annually. (We’re talking Hundreds of Millions).

Yes, for children, teens, and adults alike, developing planning skills remains one of the biggest obstacles to success. It’s undoubtedly also one of the most critical “Executive Functioning” skills our brains use to prioritize and keep track of everything we do so that in the end… you guessed it… we avoid failure.

However, for teens and young adults with diverse learning needs, things like organization, planning, and time management are more of a struggle. 

More than not, those challenges quickly accumulate and feel insurmountable for kids. 

Organizational skills are among the most critical tools you can teach your teen or young adult starting today to help wire their brain towards thriving in the future.

How Organization and Executive Functioning Connect

Executive Function and organization are how our brains gather and utilize stimuli within our environment to complete tasks rapidly and more competently. In other words, it’s how we arrange our environment to achieve order and structure of all the items in our daily lives and the activities we are required to complete. 

Remember the words: plan and prioritize — these are the skills, which are the key to it all.

The Significance of Organizational Skills

It’s not new knowledge; humans rely heavily on an organized way of life in pretty much every aspect of our daily lives in schools, our homes, recreational clubs, and workplaces. And it doesn’t take Einstein to recognize, that without a basic level of organization around us the world, as we know it would rapidly decline. When things are disorganized, there tend to be much higher rates of distraction and stress. Transfer this across to the classroom and students who lack organization skills often experience greater academic challenges, lower grades, and also negative interactions with teachers.

At Tutor Partners, we recognize that supporting children, teens and young adults with diverse learning needs requires targeted instruction towards developing organizational skills. Over decades, extensive research has indicated proficient organization abilities result in better outcomes and overall well-being, including social and emotional development. 

It’s also important to note: Even small improvements in organizational skills can decrease distractions and increase academic performance. Learners with “executive functioning” challenges become faster at basic tasks and have fewer errors when using specific systems to stay organized.

The Brain and Behaviors

Hopefully, it’s well clear by now that organizational proficiency holds important implications for successful learning, however, what happens when those skills are underdeveloped or trailing?

Does your child or teens’ emotions sometimes skyrocket to extremes with meltdowns, anger, or frustration because they can’t find something they need?

While organization signifies different things for different individuals, keeping belongings ordered and tasks neat and tidy can ultimately alleviate extreme behaviors. Furthermore, effective organizational skills are likely to have knock-on effects upon those frustration levels and that desire to escape a disordered task. 

Overall, organizational skills create a sense of control and provide a positive reinforcement opportunity for success. Tasks finish more quickly and efficiently, leaving more time to engage in favorite leisure activities.

Finding Motivation

Unlike other executive functioning skills that aren’t necessarily obvious, the indicators of poor organization skills in your child’s life are going to be much more apparent. 

What does the condition of their bedroom, backpack, or their work area look like? Is it cluttered? Are things all over the place? Are things often misplaced or not in the designated location? 

Identifying the biggest areas of concern can help provide a tiny boost or a significant overhaul in organizational skills when needed.

It’s not always easy for kids or teens to understand why organizational skills have value.

At Tutor Partners we strive to help learners develop a strong understanding of ‘why’ these abilities are necessary and develop their motivation to be more organized. Ultimately, our hope is that, with this, there’ll be a greater sense of control and predictability over their environment, with more independence and less supervision.

Together let’s create a “multiplier effect,” in which we reinforce a cycle of positive emotional responses. By helping our kids, teens, and young adults, discover how small actions and successes have a ‘big picture impact in the long run.

And best of all, you’re taking invaluable steps to help your teen or young adult succeed.

Schedule a free assessment call today to learn more about our Executive Functioning Coaching for middle and high schoolers.

Just be, live freely.

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