Family Resources on Task Initiation Self-Survey

Project and Purpose

Students analyze and develop a plan to improve their task initiation skills.

Essential Questions

What are some strategies you can use to improve your task initiation skills?

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed their skills at task initiation and how well they avoid procrastination. In class students reviewed skills regarding task initiation skills and compared their skills to an excerpt of the article “4 Strategies to Improve Task Initiation” by Carey Heller, PsyD. Individually or in pairs students discussed strategies to improve their skills at task initiation.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

Many high school students are not prepared for the workload required of them as they become high school students. Because there are many competing priorities for high school students, procrastination is common. Learning to start tasks and follow through in a timely manner is a useful skill for high school students and a skill that students will find useful in career settings as well.

Conversation notes:
Procrastination is often a concern of parents and mentors, but often high school is the first time that adolescents find themselves needing to initiate tasks earlier rather than leave tasks to the last minute.

The full article by Carey Heller used in this lesson is available at the Good Therapy blog:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.

How do you assess your task initiation skills? Why do you think so?

Is procrastination a bad thing? Why or why not?

Do you do a good job of making sure that you give yourself enough time to fulfill all your priorities? Why or why not?

Create a personal scoresheet listing priorities and how well you do in completing the tasks to fulfill those priorities. Review and make adjustments as necessary.

School to Home Resources on Task Initiation Self-Survey



1. Distribute the survey and ask students to read each side by side statement and check the box on the right of the statement that best describes them. Emphasize that this is NOT a quiz, but they will use the survey during today’s session.

2. When they have completed the survey, introduce today’s topic as “Task Initiation” and ask the students what they think this means. Post the definition and statement by Edy McGee:

Task initiation is the skill or ability to start a project, job, assignment, or other task without procrastinating or putting it off.

Everyone at one time or another has experienced problems with task initiation.

3. Ask students their thoughts on the definition and then ask if they agree or disagree with the statement about all people.

4. Post the According to experts in the field… slide. Have students take their survey and match the statement they checked to one of the skills listed on the slide. What does this tell them about their own skills?

5. Discuss importance of task initiation skills in school and in the professional world. Points should include:

  • a. Being able to initiate tasks simplifies life — you can check things off your list and move on to more enjoyable things.
  • b. Tasks are easier to accomplish if you can start them and break them into chunks
  • c. Employers look for people who can use their own initiative to get things done.

6. Distribute the article “4 Strategies to Improve Task Initiation” by Carey Heller, PsyD, and have students analyze the usefulness of the suggestions in the article. Explain that they will use this article as the basis for a design of a 3-step plan for their own task initiation improvement. This will include creating “I will…” statements with checkpoint dates that can be checked with a “yes” or “no.”


Ask students to share their strategies with a trusted partner or with the group. Collect their charts to use as a tracker on the set checkpoint dates.

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