Is there such a thing as being able to multi task or is it just the brain being able to switch really rapidly from one task to another? Are women better at “multi tasking” than men?
I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the subject as I can only go from my own experiences. I do though have a strong belief that men and women fit into certain roles better, and I won’t harp on about women in technology (or the lack of them) but the way we are made up makes us work better in different situations. One thing that I consistently see women doing better at than men is multi tasking, the art of being able to do more than one thing at once.
As I said earlier there is some confusion as to whether we are actually doing two things at once or whether the brain is just switching tasks quickly, but however it happens you will know what I mean. Its the ability to talk and type at the same time on different topics, or to listen to 2 conversations at once, or make a cup of tea while stirring a pan, down to the simplest of tasks of patting your head while rubbing your belly!
I find at work throughout the day I have to be thinking about or doing a couple of things at once. The typical example would be when I am on the phone to a potential customer who has called up to enquire about our services, they ask me something that I may be not 100% sure of, so while I carry on the conversation and listen to the customer, I am typing in an IM window to a programmer, designer, PPC guy or to Dave so that I can get the answer I may need. Then obviously while I am still holding a conversation I am reading and interpreting the reply in my IM window.
I would certainly say that I am better at multi tasking than the guys, and certainly better than Dave at this. People that I have spoken to about this like friends and family all say the same, which is why I think women are better than men at it. I do think though that it may be a skill that I have developed over time, and since I have had kids I think I have had to get even better at it.
There are probably lots of guys out there who are good at multitasking too, and lots of women who are useless at it. One key thing that I have learnt from needing to multi task is that there is no point being a “busy fool”, and its important to actually complete tasks and sometimes you need to focus singularly on things that need your soul attention without distraction from other tasks needing doing.