Recent have said multitasking is bad, and I rejoiced. Researchers said that multi-taskers were less successful. This was shocking. I was raised to be a multi-tasker. Wasn’t multi-tasking was a virtue? Everyone valued someone who could get a lot done. Right? I was a lifelong multi-tasker and saw this as my chance to stop working so hard. After years of working fast, completing multiple projects at one time, this was my way of saying that I needed to make things simpler. I could relax. What I found was quite the opposite. I was not relaxed. I was not as productive nor did I feel as accomplished so I decided to learn more about this phenomenon called multi-tasking.
To begin, I observed myself multi-tasking and not multi-tasking and the results, accomplishments and how much I enjoyed what I was doing. I observed others in the same way. As a coach and consultant I had lots of opportunities to observe others. As a result I was to ask the researchers two questions. Did you measure the difference between men and women? Did you assess the value to the tasks they were doing?
In my observation and my experience, women are natural multi-taskers and men are not. Women have by our nature and physiology a higher energy level. Women have a higher energy level in our bodies to create life. We are wired at a high energy level, so multi-tasking is natural, can creative and rewarding when done correctly. Men, on the other hand, do better when singularly focused. This is not less of an ability just different, and the world is better for these two different ways of being. Multi-taskers and persons who are singularly focused are both needed for success.
Multi-tasking of itself does not create success, so I agree with the studies in this regard. Focused multi-tasking does work. Whether you are a multitasker or a single focus person, your success depends on what you spend your time doing. Just being busy doing whatever presents itself is of no value and has no long-term result. On the other hand, when multi-taskers or single focused persons chose high value tasks they create success. High value tasks are those that will make a difference in your efforts to achieve success versus other tasks that are just busy work or someone else’s need.
So men feel free to be singularly focused on high value tasks if that feels right to you. Women, I say go ahead and multi-task focused on high value tasks if that feels right for you as well.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. For me, I have returned to multi-tasking, and I am much happier, getting more done and finding greater success.
Best wishes, Kay