You Think You Can...But You Really Can’t

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You Think You Can...But You Really Can’t


When I learned that today, February 21 is Single Tasking Day, it reminded me of what many of us think we can do but really can’t...Multitask.


Multitasking Can’t be done.


Studies have shown that while we think we can, for example,  write a post and handle the calls coming in from our seller, and skim our email jugglingand answer texts...we can’t. 


In fact, we’re doing more harm than good. We’re more productive if we focus on one task at a time. 


Here are a few other interesting tidbits for you to tuck away the next time you want to try to do several things at one time…


~Besides not really remembering or missing details of what you just read, you could actually be hurting your short-term memory when you bounce back and forth from one task to another. 


~You’re not saving time. Trying to do more than one task can take more time than if you chose to complete one before going on to the next.


~Multi-tasking while eating could actually cause you to eat more


~You miss out on life! When we’re out on our walks my phone is there to take pictures or if someone needs to reach me. Had I been checking texts or email while out on my walks I would have missed out (and walked on) a coral snake, a young boy fishing with his father, and the buds on the trees signaling that Spring is on the way. 


~Of course, we all know the dangers of texting and driving but doing anything else while driving diverts your attention from focusing on the road. 


The same is true for walking. How many potholes or cars have you almost hit because you were doing the iPhone Prayer.


man distracted


I like to think of tasking-single and multi- like the RAM (Random Access Memory) we have on our computer. RAM is like our short term memory. The more files we have open the less RAM/short term memory we have for the task we’re working on. Single-tasking closes all but the one file, giving us more short term memory to work on whatever it is we’re working on. 


Here’s what I’ve done to help me…


~I’m working on mindfulness (Thank you, Ron and Alexandra Seigel ) 

~When I’m out at a restaurant and my phone will not fit in my purse, I don’t put it on the table. It goes on my chair by my leg (so I won’t leave without it)

~When something comes up that needs immediate attention or focus, I tell myself to Work the problem. 

So many other thoughts will start popping off in my head but what I focus on is what can I do now that will tackle the problem. This removes trying to affix blame or trying to think about how to prevent whatever happened from happening again. 


~For everyday tasks at my computer, I’ve started using something called OneTab. 

This is an extension that’s available on Google Chrome and Firefox. What it does is allows me to save all of the tabs I’m working on under One Tab. This saves on memory on your computer AND allows you to focus on the One Tab while not losing the others. 


~When I have a lot of different tasks that need to get done, I’ll often set a timer. This allows me to focus on the task, knowing that I can move on at the end of the timed period. 


~ Reward myself. This worked for me in grad school when I had to read very dry books. I would reward myself with something that I a bowl of ice cream!!


ice cream

We can all work on this for ourselves as well as with our children. If you or your child has ADHD, this may offer some suggestions. 


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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Hi again Kathy. I agree. I wanted Japan for a long time and hope to get there one day. I have traveled a lot in the US and am going to Alaska in June. There are National Parks I haven't seen but it isn't a solo destination. 

Feb 21, 2020 10:58 AM #49
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kathy Streib - This is a great topic promoting a lot of conversation. Hats off to you!  I think that many of us are under the misconception that we can actually do more than one thing at a time. 

We are using the term in a misunderstood context

A computer can multi-task but a human cannot!  My husband has 3 computer screens - He can only look at one area of the screen at a time and do one task. However, a computer can and does process many (sometimes billions) of tasks at a time.  This is where the term got crisscrossed!  

Definition of "task": a piece of work - our brains can only do one piece of work at a time. 

Feb 21, 2020 12:28 PM #50
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I've always believed I could multi task and handled it pretty well. I'm starting to realize I'm not as good as I once was though. I like your tips here, Kathy, and will have to make an effort to follow them.

Feb 21, 2020 01:51 PM #51
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kathy it would be ideal if we could just concentrate on one thing at a time, but some times life has other plans for us, and does not give us a choice.

Feb 21, 2020 02:00 PM #52
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kathy:

I think most of us talk about multi-tasking, and believe we are (I'm guilty as well) without realizing the truth about it. Those are some good tips to stayed focused on the task at hand instead of being distracted and inefficient.


Feb 21, 2020 02:22 PM #53
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

At some point in my life, I discovered I was a multi-tasker. Prior to knowing and understanding, it did me much harm. When I discovered how to wield this magnificent gift, It paid off in so many ways. So it is with all gifts pursued for mastery. Imitating, substituting or duplicating a gift you do not have or have not developed will fail as described here in your decent posting thank you Kathy

Feb 21, 2020 02:26 PM #54
Anna Banana Kruchten Broker, CRB, CRS
HomeSmart International - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Kathy - I so agree! Being in the moment and being mindfull is so much more calming and way more productive.

Feb 21, 2020 02:55 PM #55
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Kathy, You nailed this.  There are numerous studies on the detrimental affects of multi-tasking constantly esp. with tech.  It reduces ability to focus as shown in a college study of students who believed they were superior multi-taskers until the study proved the opposite.

Feb 21, 2020 03:08 PM #56
Matt Brady
Finance Of America - Del Mar, CA
The Mortgage Answer Man

You need a bigger purse or a smaller phone :) 

Feb 21, 2020 03:12 PM #57
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

While I can walk and chew gum at the same time, I recognize my limitations when it comes to multi-tasking.

Feb 21, 2020 09:49 PM #58
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

CONGRATULATIONS Kathy, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Feb 21, 2020 09:49 PM #59
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Kathy.

So true, when you think about it, no-one can multitask.  

Feb 22, 2020 12:47 AM #60
Sheldon Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Tulsa, OK

Kathy - Thank you for the tips. It is very easy for me to think I'm completeing more when I'm working on mulitple tasks. I love your idea of setting a timer. That is something that will help out. Thank you!

Feb 22, 2020 08:13 AM #61
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Kathy,
As you said, multi-tasking is not possible. We are actually just jumping back and forth from one task to another and not giving our full attention to any of them. 

Feb 22, 2020 06:53 PM #62
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Kathy,  No matter how hard we try, multi-tasking just isn't effective...or even possible.  Priority lists seem to work pretty well though.

Feb 22, 2020 09:21 PM #63
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I've been preaching this for years to the entrepreneurs I train. 

Multitasking is a myth. We physiologically cannot do it. All we do is switch and distract.

Great post, great reminder to FOCUS!

Feb 22, 2020 11:59 PM #64
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

FINALLY: a great post on this very relevant subject!  Congrats, Kathy: you have nailed it.  Loved every word.  Thank you!  You have confirmed everyone's latent supposition...

Feb 23, 2020 12:07 PM #65
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Kathy Streib ,

So glad to see this post featured. I've never understood why some feel multitasking can are too scattered and never finish up one thing. I couldn't agree more focus on things and complete tasks and move on to another task.

Feb 23, 2020 12:27 PM #66
Ranji Singh
Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd. - Newmarket, ON

Hi Kathy,


Your post is on point. Isn't it interesting that so many large corporations mandate multi-tasking on job postings 

Feb 23, 2020 05:36 PM #67
Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

Just today a (mostly) humorous writer locally told how she has begun to reward herself for all kinds of little accomplishments. Dessert works for me!

Feb 23, 2020 08:11 PM #68
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Kathy Streib

Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
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