is multi-tasking a woman thing?

Images I was multi-tasking at a very young age. 

When I was in second grade we were living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  My father was a professor at U of M.   The history curriculum that year was centered around the Indians who settled in Michigan.  I remember one day we were sitting on the floor and the teacher was talking to us and I was spending that time whispering with my friend.  The teacher totally called me on it.  She spoke up and said "Joanne, if you can tell me exactly what I said, I will give you all the Girl Scout cookies on my desk."  I repeated exactly what she just said much to her chagrin.  She paused and said, "well then, let's take a break and share in the cookies together as a class."  Of course I thought that was utter bullshit because I had out gamed her and the deal was that I won the cookies.  Alas.  But when I think back on that, I was multi-tasking.  Even then, I knew it was a skill that few had. 

A reader of this blog recently send me an article on Multi-tasking is the Next Front-in Struggle between the Sexes.  Interesting.  Is mult-tasking bad or are just some people born that way?  I know a few men that actually multi-task with no problems.  I know women who can and others that can't.  At the end of the day, I believe that the world that we live in, presents the opportunity to multi-task more than less.

For me, I love that I can do a variety of things at once.  It is like I am getting the most out of each minute yet when I totally chill, I want to focus on nothing or one simple thing.  For women, in particular, who are and will always be the caretakers, multi-tasking is the key to their existence which is why they are actually great people to invest in.  Women want to do the work, expand their minds, be challenged and at the same time be the caretakers.  It is seriously hard to fit that all in a days work so the key to success is figuring out how to multi-task. 

BTW, that is probably the key to any successful entrepreneur too.  I am invested in a brilliant man, like no other I have ever met, and I am not so sure he is multi-tasking but his brain is going so fast at all times that it is impossible not to multi-think, multi-task and multi-solve. ( I have not written about this investment yet).

Certainly as this next generation listens to music, watches TV, does homework, chats on line with their friends and searches Facebook all at the same time, perhaps multi-tasking is actually becoming a learned skill.

For me, I think I just came out that way. 



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Comments (Archived):

  1. bijan

    true story: i was reading this post on my iphone while walking down the street and ended up turning down the wrong street. my multitasking needs a tune up!

    1. Gotham Gal

      That’s a good one. I just got a good chuckle out of that

  2. kenberger

    what’s your secret… oh, never mind.

  3. daryn

    Until I got to the last sentence, I thought the paragraph about the “brilliant man you invested in” was about Fred 🙂

  4. Laura Yecies

    I’ve always been a multi-tasker.  First self-awareness – when I was writing my master’s thesis at Georgetown – typing at the keyboard while using my left leg to ricochet my oldest son for hours in his “johnny jump up” the only thing that would entertain him!   Most of the time I think this is a strength of mine and helps me as an entrepreneur not to mention for my 25 years of being a working mom – the downside is when I can’t “turn off” – I’m trying to learn to meditate for this purpose.

    1. Gotham Gal

      definitely the downside is not being able to turn off. i read and do thecrossword which is definitely a singular task activity.

  5. ShanaC

     I’ve been somewhat a multitasker – however, I a very careful to carve out discreet “focus times” in order to complete certain more creative tasks.That and I find lists help a ton

  6. Jaclyn

    I love this picture! If I didn’t know better I would think it was me. It’s 5am. I’m currently feeding my newborn, catching up on blogs on my iPhone and emailing myself ideas for a big presentation Monday. Effective – yes!!! The men in my life don’t multi-task. In fact, they find it to be inefficient. We have this conversation in my home often. I think you are born with the skill so therefore you do it well. It just so happens everyone I know that does it well is a women: we have to if we want to keep it all running smoothly: career, kids and a hot meal on the table requires it!

    1. Gotham Gal

      absolutely required particularly between the career and hot meals!