Life on a homestead can be so hectic. If you're doing it with a spouse, communication is vital. Did he say, "do let the chickens out...or don't?" Did she say, "thaw out a rabbit...or a turkey?" Where did he say he put the extra fence posts? What day did she say the shipment of bees would be here?
Having a traveling spouse really makes this tip hit home. We might not be in the same room (or state) for weeks at a time but we do talk on the phone every day. And I learned a long time ago that if those conversations were being held while I was washing dishes or grading papers or chasing a loose chicken, then we might as well not be talking at all. There was a really good chance I wouldn't remember all that was said. And DH could tell that I wasn't fully engaged in what he was trying to tell me. Even if he was just recounting a boring thing that happened at his job site, he needed me to HEAR him.
And it's just as important to be present when we ARE in the same room. Nobody likes to feel ignored or forced to repeat something they've already said. A screen (t.v., phone, computer, etc...) is just as distracting as anything we could be doing that would draw our attention away. My goodness! At our age now, I have a hard enough time remembering what was said when I give my full attention. Imagine how much I mess up when I'm not REALLY listening.