Multitasking: Basics

                            “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  LINK TO PROGRAM

Whatever your age, young and old are multitasking and at times you may find yourself doing something odd. A friend carried a lot of things to her car in a rush one morning and the small trash bag ended up there as well. I was on the couch surrounded by more than a few devices and tried to dial the TV remote to make a call. Yikes! Those were harmless and funny situations, but what about those other situations.

Some things to think about:
1. You think you save time multitasking but you do not. It also takes longer. You are also more likely to make mistakes, and then there is the increased fatigue and and stress.

2. You really task switch. You are doing something, stop and start focusing on something else. You probably multitask on rote activities like washing the car while listening to a baseball game. But if you try and balance your checkbook while giving directions to a restaurant you are task switching and that is not something that can be done effectively.

3. The impact on your safety and quality of life are significant. It happens all the time and realizing the implications may require more of your attention. A person may work on the computer while a preschooler is asking questions or wants you to look at something that matters to them. Or perhaps the child is getting into a situation that might need more supervision.

Tips to consider: 

1. In order to make changes, you need to increase your awareness. So many things you do on automatic pilot and after awhile you tend to normalize the routine without realizing the impact it has on your peace of mind.

2. You will benefit by learning ways to better handle those distractions and interruptions. If you are in the middle of something and are interrupted, it can take you up to 1 ½ times longer to do the task. Assess the situation and perhaps you could ask the person to wait. It may be appropriate to explain you will get back to them. Another one is to take a few seconds to make note of where you left off and what your next planned step was before you task switched. That may save you more time when you get back to what you were doing and help you be more effective.


Be proactive. Observe your patterns when you multitasking, notice what works well and what needs some modification. Perhaps the words of Victoria Moran will help you make some different choices. “Just remember those things that get attention flourish.”

Link to “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  cable television show:  Multitasking Basics Memory Fitness products by Kathryn Kilpatrick

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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