Info graphic of task completion skill
Executive Functioning

Executive Functioning and Task Completion

“Get Ready, Do, Done”: An EF Task Completion Skill

Task completion is a universal concept that is almost unavoidable, even on our easiest days of the week. Many kids, teens, or adults struggle with task initiation, planning, execution, or other executive functioning skills.  Completing tasks, large or small, can lead to anxiety, frustration, or emotional dysregulation that makes tasks more difficult. 

The skill of task completion is applied in almost all professions, including my former realm, education. We are taught this skill as new teachers when planning for our yearly curriculum, units, and daily lessons. It is known as backward mapping. First, we identify the goal which students need to achieve at the end of the year, unit, or lesson. Then we work backwards from the end of the lesson to choose activities and resources which support our specific students’ needs in achieving the goal. 

The concept is similar for other forms of task completion too! The “Get Ready, Do, Done” skill has proven incredibly effective in many professional disciplines and is easily adaptable to many tasks!

Here is how the “Get Ready, Do, Done” skill works!

Infographic of the "Get Ready, Do, Done" Executive Functioning Skills for task completion

Steps 1-3 Are The Planning Steps

Step One: Start at the end.

The first step of “Get Ready, Do, Done” is to start at the end. Decide what are the criteria of the finished product or completed task. Make either a mental or physical list of the criteria. An explicit, physical list can be incredibly helpful for younger children, or any person who consistently struggles to complete the task in totality. 

Step Two: Formulate your steps.

Step two of the skill is to conceptualize the logical steps of the process of how to complete the task. This could look like a numbered list of steps, or just a conversation, externally or internally, about what will need to be done in order to meet all of the criteria identified in step 1. 

After planning how the task will be completed, the next step is to figure out what supplies or materials are needed to complete the task. In order to maximize the potential for success, create a list of what to gather before performing the task. This way, the task will not need to be paused in the middle to search for an item. 

Step Three: Visualize out how to prepare for the steps.

"supply list" clip art

The previous three steps are part of the planning phase of the task itself. The steps may seem elaborate. But the ease and speed of the process usually correlates to the size of the task and the familiarity with it (ie: has the person has completed this task before). With an easy example, such as washing dishes, the planning process could take less than a minute for an adult who does dishes every day. But this planning could also take longer if this is the first time that a child is going to wash dishes for their family.

Steps 4-6 are the Doing Steps!

The last three steps of the “Get Ready, Do, Done” skill make up the working phase of skill. This is where the task gets completed! Using the information from the planning phase, the task-doer will now work back through each stage in order to follow the plan which they created. 

Step Four: Gather the supplies.

The person will gather the supplies and materials needed to complete the task, based off of the list made in step 3.

Step Five: Follows the instructions.

In step 5, they will follow the step by step instructions they created in step 2. This is where the task gets the task done.

Step Six: Check your work.

It’s not over yet! Finally, in step 6, the person completing the task can check their product against the predetermined criteria they created in step 1. This important step shouldn’t be skipped: task completion is only finished if it meets the criteria created in step 1.

As an executive functioning coach, I can help clients navigate the “Get Ready, Do, Done” skill to alleviate frustration with tasks which are particularly challenging for them. If you are interested in one-on-one coaching, or could see the benefit of your child having EF coaching, getting started is as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Check out our executive functioning offerings. 
  2. Fill out and intake form
  3. Start planning and completing tasks more successfully right away! 

About The Author

Emily Renda, Executive functioning coach.

Emily Renda is an Executive Functioning Coach at Montgomery County Counseling Center. Her passion lies in for helping others grow. She has a background in education where she was able to create positive change for students both educationally and emotionally. She is certified in universal designed learning. This means she is a pro at tailoring a client’s learning style to their needs.

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