one thing at a timeFocus on one thing at a time

I never really understood why people brag about their ability to multi-task.

They really can’t do it. No one can.

Brain science indicates that at best we can do two things – and one half of our brain will keep track of one thing while the other keeps track of the other.

But add in a third thing and all bets are off!

Productivity studies have demonstrated that when you attempt to multi-task everything takes longer.

Yes, every single ting takes longer to do.

So stop it. Do one thing. Finish it. Then do the next thing.


© Terry Monaghan, 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved

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Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at



  1. I couldn’t agree more! Multitasking is definitely overrated!!! I do better when I plan to focus on one one thing at a time without distractions of trying to do other things!

  2. Sue Painter says:

    Focused attention truly can make the difference between miserable failure and great success. Nothing critical should EVER be worked on when we are multi-tasking. I know we all do it – but that lack of attention makes us miss the small, subtle differences that can lead to big success.

    • Terry says:

      Very well put – those small, subtle things we miss are definitely important!

  3. Jessica says:

    Well this is going to turn my world upside down… but you’re right, trying to talk on the phone while wheeling one bag and trying to keep another bag on my shoulder at the airport yesterday did not work out well. One thing at a time.. what a concept 🙂

  4. And yet so many of us continue to do it!! I’ve got to keep some of them – please? like walking and listening to audios?

    • Terry says:

      Trudy – walking and listening to audios is about the ONLY multi tasking I do. Because it doesn’t matter if I lose the thread of the music or conversation – I can always rewind and catch up. That doesn’t work so well in person!

  5. Great points and so true – that’s why we need to turn off email while we work! Do you have a reference for the brain science – I’d love to read more?

  6. Mitch Tublin says:

    “So stop it. Do one thing. Finish it. Then do the next thing.”
    This line had me cracking myself up! Yes, of course I agree!
    Only if, it were so easy to say to someone, “Just Stop it! ”
    And then they actually do that.

    • Terry says:

      Well, it has only actually worked when I am sitting in their office watching them work. The behavior is so automatic they really aren’t aware of it, and me saying STOP IT every time they start is jarring, but fairly effective!

  7. Mira Dessy says:

    Sometimes the temptation to multitask is huge because there’s so much to be done. But remembering that everything take longer when you try to do more than one thing at a time is very powerful. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Terry says:

      Someone told me once that when you die, your to do list will still be long and your inbox will still be full. Puts it in perspective… We can only do what we can do, and if we can do it well it’s great. But we can’t do it well if we aren’t paying attention. And when we are multi-tasking, we aren’t paying attention!

  8. Do you go from one room in your home to the next only to forget what you went there for? Thoughts evaporate in mid-air? Forget words? Names? Chances are it’s NOT dementia – it’s proably from multi-tasking. It’s a habit, not a disease and you can fix it. Kudos to Terry for calling a spade a spade!

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