(Natural News) It’s a common stereotype that women are known for their multitasking abilities. A recent study, however, looks to debunk the stereotype, stating that men are just as capable of multitasking as women.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that whether or not someone is good or bad at handling multiple tasks at once has nothing to do with gender.
The data has spoken: Both genders can multitask
The study, conducted by researchers from RWTH Aachen University (RWTH), sought to examine the long-held belief that women were better at multitasking than men. To this end, a team of scientists led by Patricia Hirsch from RWTH worked with 48 men and 48 women.
The participants, who had an average age of 24, were made to accomplish letter or number identification tasks and they were tested on their ability to do different types of multitasking:
- For concurrent multitasking, volunteers were asked to pay attention to two tasks at once.
- For sequential multitasking, participants were instructed to switch attention between different tasks.
During testing, the scientists measured reaction time and accuracy among the male and female participants. The results revealed that multitasking was difficult for both genders and that there was no significant difference between their multitasking abilities.
Hirsch and her team found that multitasking causes “substantial performance costs across all experimental conditions” regardless of gender. They stated that this was true even when “controlling for gender differences in underlying cognitive abilities.”
The findings contradict the popular belief that women are better at multitasking than men. Hirsch explained that many people think women are better than men at multitasking due to “an evolutionary advantage and extensive multitasking practice resulting from managing children, household and jobs.”
Two previous studies have shown that most people believe that gender differences in multitasking exist. Around 80 percent of the participants from these two studies believed that women had better multitasking abilities than men. (Related: Are men and women that different? Scientists find clues in brain development that say YES.)
The RWTH study, however, seemingly disproves these common stereotypes.
Tips to improve your multitasking skills
Regardless of your gender, multitasking is a crucial one. Follow the tips below to improve your focus at work and deal with different tasks efficiently.
- Have a to-do list – The easiest way to manage a full workload is to start by making a list of the things you have to do. This ensures that you accomplish more important tasks first without being overwhelmed.
- Learn how to prioritize – Once you have your list, identify which tasks are more important so you can focus on them first.
- Finish tasks in blocks – When organizing priority tasks, group similar ones so you can finish them together. Because of the overlap between similar tasks, you can finish all of them faster than if you focus on them one by one.
- Avoid distractions – It’s easy to lose your focus if you keep checking your phone every time you get a notification on your social media accounts. To get things done faster, set your phone aside and focus on your current task. If you work in an office with other people, kindly let them know that you want to be left alone to finish your project.
- Learn how to delegate – Check your to-do list. Once you’ve identified important tasks, figure out which ones can be delegated and let other people help you.
- Practice how to multitask efficiently – Doing these things regularly will help you learn how to juggle many tasks efficiently so you can get more things done faster.
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