Planning and Organization

Organization and planning skills are often affected by TBI, but these skills should improve over time. The healthcare team may work with the service member or veteran to develop better organization and planning skills.

You may need to repeatedly remind the service member or veteran to use the skills they learn in therapy until a habit is formed.

What might you see?

  • Difficulty organizing time to get things done
  • Difficulty understanding which tools are needed to complete a task and gathering them
  • Difficulty breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps
  • Difficulty getting ready for work, school, and appointments on time
  • Being late for appointments, work, or school
  • Difficulty starting a task
  • Difficulty making plans and completing them
  • Difficulty setting goals related to projects or activities
  • Difficulty prioritizing tasks

How can you help?

  • Begin with small, realistic tasks.
  • Work with the service member or veteran to get organized at home. Keep a family calendar posted on a wall. Use reminder notes and cue cards.
  • Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. In particular, keep the service member or veteran’s belongings (for example, clothing, shoes, books, etc.) in designated places.
  • Turn off the radio, television, or other distractions when tasks need to be completed.
  • Use memory aids, such as calendars and notebooks, to plan, write down, and check off tasks when completed.
  • Use a tote bag or backpack to organize needed items for the day.
  • Work with the service member or veteran to decide which information or activity has the highest priority.