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How to Improve Your Memory: Stop Multitasking

As a poet, therapist, and observer of human behavior, Janis has a keen awareness of what makes people tick and behave the way they do.

Forgetfulness and Memory: I Can't Remember My Thoughts!

Memory problems cause thoughts to float away in puffs of forgetfulness.

Memory problems cause thoughts to float away in puffs of forgetfulness.

Multitasking and Remembering: Why Doesn't it Seem to Work?

I heard somewhere recently that multitasking is not a good thing. Apparently, we try to do too much and cannot retain it all. We end up causing more stress than efficiency, getting less done with even more stress in the end than we had before.

It's amazing that somehow, at the end of the day, we get it all done. Some things do fall by the wayside but it rarely results in an emergency or the end of the world. It seems that we have a way of creating more anxiety for ourselves about getting things done than is necessary.

Maybe if we work on taking one thing at a time and learn to prioritize, we may have less of a need to multitask. But in reality, it's easier said than done.

But first, the following poem illustrates a day in the life of an unsuccessful "multitasker," who could probably use those tips to become more organized and less forgetful.

Too Many Tasks Prevent Retention and Productivity

Multitasking makes a busy person overwhelmed with too many tasks to tackle, much less, complete.

Multitasking makes a busy person overwhelmed with too many tasks to tackle, much less, complete.

"My Out-Tasked Memory"


Did I forget something?

My dry cleaning, still in the trunk

Picked it up two days ago.

What did I come in here for?

Oh yes, My keys. (pause) My keys?

Where are my keys?


Medication. Did I take it today?

No, that was yesterday.

What was I supposed to do yesterday?

Oh well, too late

Time to put the clothes in the dryer.


Late! What time is that meeting?

I forget which one: Women's committee?

No. Block club. Hmm. Time for dinner.

Oh crap! Chicken still frozen, what now?

Don't answer the phone, just a telemarketer.

Need to call and check on Dad.


What time is it?

Oh yeah, time for that conference call.

(Sigh) Whatever, I'm hungry now.

Forget it, no time, gotta go.

What's today?

I'm sleepy, time for bed

Mattress bare, sheets still in dryer.

Overloaded with Things to Remember

Having too much to remember hinders our ability to recall the most important tasks to be done.

Having too much to remember hinders our ability to recall the most important tasks to be done.

Multitaskers: How's Your Memory?

Multitasking Results in Loss of Time and Memory

Carrying out a bunch of tasks simultaneously doesn't increase the time we have to complete the tasks.

Carrying out a bunch of tasks simultaneously doesn't increase the time we have to complete the tasks.

8 Tips for Better Organization and Memory Recall

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Sort out tasks by level of difficulty and how much time each will take.
  3. Start with the easier tasks first to feel a sense of completion and accomplishment.
  4. Build on accomplishments by tackling the next doable task according to difficulty and time.
  5. Break up work time into smaller increments and take breaks.
  6. Reward yourself with a treat when a task is completed.
  7. Take another deep breath.
  8. Stop adding on new tasks. Learn to say no to yourself and others.

To-Do Lists are Helpful if Followed, but . . .

Too many lists to follow can become overwhelming and counterproductive. It can become daunting to keep up with checking off completed tasks.

Too many lists to follow can become overwhelming and counterproductive. It can become daunting to keep up with checking off completed tasks.

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

Comments

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 28, 2014:

I'm so glad you liked this one, colorfulone. I wrote this purely from my own experience. I can see how it woild help you understand your mom better. Thank you for the comments and visit.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 28, 2014:

I related to this so much to assisting my Mom, with Alzheimer's. Having her do tasks for daily living, is so much easier and rewarding when not multitasking. One thing at a times bares more no fail reselts.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 13, 2014:

Glad that it will help, thank you for your visit and for reading it.

thetravelgal on March 13, 2014:

what you say is so true, I tend to over multi-task and end up not getting much done. This should help get me more task oriented.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 22, 2014:

Ha ha ha, lol. You're so funny, Beth. Thanks for stopping by.

Beth37 on January 22, 2014:

Good advise Jan... I had seen this one before. I need to go read that one... what was it? Something about curry? Was it chicken? I think it was a skewer or was it kabobs? Is that the same thing? I can't remember now. lol

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 25, 2013:

I think you're right, sallybea, but we pay for it. I still always multitask, get things done, but at what cost? I'm tired, some things do get lost in the mix or forgotten. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on October 25, 2013:

janshares - I always think that women are particularly good at multi-tasking - I have a feeling that we learn it early, right from when we have to learn how to juggle so many things at once which demand our attention whilst they are growing up. Somehow I think we manage it easier than men but perhaps I am biased.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 22, 2013:

BlossomSB, thank you so much for those comments. It means a lot to receive validation from your mother's teachings. I'm glad you liked my hub and the poem. Your visit is very special.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on October 22, 2013:

When we were quite young our mother taught us to make a list of the things we needed to do, do the quick and easy ones and tick them off first and then concentrate on the longer, more difficult. It was good advice and I love your hub on the topic, especially the poem!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 22, 2013:

Thank you, Writer Fox, for those keen comments. So glad you liked the poem. I appreciate your visit and vote.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on October 22, 2013:

I think we are all plagued by the fast-paced society in which we live. There are so many distractions for our attention spans and our brains cannot focus on everything at once. I think part of the answer is to deliberately block out the noise and make conscious choices about our use of time. I enjoyed your poem, voted up!

Samita Sharma from Chandigarh on October 22, 2013:

First-rate poems---

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

Thank you very much for your comments. So glad you enjoyed it.

georgescifo from India on October 21, 2013:

Superb post and poem..Really enjoyed :)

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

Hey CrisSp, thanks for stoppig by, glad you liked it. I'm so grateful for your comments, vote up and sharing!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on October 21, 2013:

I have to "post-it" your tips in here. Great, useful hub plus a bonus poem. I enjoyed it.

Voting up and sharing!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

I don't know what day it is without a calendar. Glad you can relate, thanks for coming by.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

I relate to what you're saying Jean. I leave grocery lists at home all the time. Thanks so much for your visit and comments.

Beth37 on October 21, 2013:

Wow, Jan... I just shared how memory is a real problem for me on the forum. I have been able to keep up with quite a bit at work, though there it is mostly codes and policy. At home it is ever changing schedules etc. For me it has to do with some health conditions I have though. There's just no way to remember every conversation, but as far as schedules, I'd never make it without the trusty calendar posted on the fridge.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on October 21, 2013:

Hi Janshares,

I'm a big list maker. The problem is that I have lists all over the place, and often leave the house to run my errands, but forget the list! Luckily, I can normally recall the list once I've made it. But I understand that stressed out feeling. Some of the stuff is less important. I forget to take my BP medicine sometimes, and am constantly thinking of new ways to be sure I take it. It's under control though!

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

Hi tillsontitan. Yes, it resonates with many. It seems to be getting worse with me as well. Thanks for reading and voting, appreciate your support.

Mary Craig from New York on October 21, 2013:

Unfortunately I can relate as well. I think as I get older I can relate more ;) I know it is a natural process but boy is it annoying! Good job Jan.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

LOL, thanks for the chuckle, tobusiness. I appreciate your visit.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

Glad you liked it, Mhatter, good to see you! Thanks for that comment.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 21, 2013:

Thanks, DDE, so true.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 21, 2013:

This is right on the money! The absolute worst, is when you've wasted thirty minutes or so searching for that key, only to find it in your hand. :) Duh!!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on October 21, 2013:

Great advice! thank you... and well administered.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 21, 2013:

Multitasking and Memory Loss Poem, even with proper organization one can still forget sound advice

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 20, 2013:

Ha ha, yes, Jackie, many of mine, too. Thanks for your visit

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 20, 2013:

You're welcome, Kathryn. Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 20, 2013:

You're welcome,.Kim. I bet it resonates with a lot of us. Thank so much for your visit and comments.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 20, 2013:

That poem was right on! Sounds like many of my days.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on October 20, 2013:

This is great! I can completely relate to the poem, and those are very helpful tips.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a wonderful night!

~ Kathryn

ocfireflies from North Carolina on October 20, 2013:

Can so relate and excellent advice!

Thank You,

ocfireflies aka Kim