It’s Official – We Can’t Multi-task And That Includes Women
I was interviewed on TodayFM Sunday Business Show on Sunday morning, and it became the second most downloaded business podcast on iTunes, second only to the Harvard Business Review and ahead of the BBC: here is a summary and you can listen to the interview here.
Yes, we can drive a car and have a conversation at the same time, but that’s only because driving is automatic.
When it comes to doing two tasks which demand our conscious attention, however, we have a very limited capacity and can only focus on one at a time. So, forget learning Spanish while you watch the news on television – it doesn’t work.
The best we can do is to switch rapidly between one task and another, but that comes at a mental cost. While women may be more practised at this type of switching, their over all multitasking ability is no better on average than men’s.
So, it is best to close off distractions – particularly pinging email and message notifications – and focus on one thing at a time, getting it done properly and with less of the mental costs of switching.