The Myth of the Multi-Tasking Woman
By: Kalpana Tatavarti
Ask any woman what her key strength is and pat comes the proud reply, Multitasking! Ask any man what a womans key strength is and pat comes the approving reply, Multitasking!
I have seen women swell up with pride at the thought of being excellent multitaskers and shrivel up with stress!
Lets get one thing straight there is no such thing as Multitasking.
Of course, there are many things on my mind right now, Im writing this blog post, mentally planning a lunch date with my sister, wondering what Ill have for breakfast, and gearing up for the workshop later today.
Am I multitasking? Not really.
What Im doing is task-switching. As entrepreneur and author Gary Keller puts it, Juggling is an illusion... in reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession.
While it is true that women can divide their attention significantly better than men can, is it really beneficial like we think it is? Lets look at some reasons why multitasking can be more stressful than beneficial.
A study in 2010 found that our brains can handle two tasks at the same time pretty efficiently, but add any more tasks to that and youll start making mistakes left right and centre, performing about as well as an eight year old. It may feel like were doing a lot of work but task-switching can reduce your productivity by 40%! Thats a big number!
Research has shown that people who regularly multitask have lower short-term memory or working-memory, which has a direct impact on creativity and decision making. Added to that, people who multitask are always on high-alert mode, leading to higher stress-levels.
Multitasking is great in the kitchen when you are trying to time the chicken to be ready at the same time as the potatoes. But do not assume it is a great way to manage a workday, says author and consultant Joanne Tombrakos.
In fact, many researchers believe that the reason women are better than men at multitasking is because theyre socially conditioned to do so.
Take the example of a senior woman leader who I met recently. She told me that she learnt to multitask only after getting married and having children, as she learnt to balance her work and the household. But before she knew it, her career had taken a beating.
From : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/myth-multi-tasking-woman-kalpana-tatavarti
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