Men and Women and Multi-tasking. A poll

Sorry, I forgot to add: gender - female.

Male. I multitask all the time at work. It’s a radio station. I am always doing many things at once - it’d be impossible not to. I can have ongoing projects open on up to 8 computers, be recording satellite feeds on multiple recording devices, rewriting the playlist as needed, adding sound files to the automation computers, editing programs, making CDs, watching the clock and operating the mixing board, at once.
Now at home, I’m doing several things on this computer while I read the Dope.

I’m a boy, and I’m forever multitasking, at least when it comes to housework. Put some clothes in the laundry, get dinner started, do dishes, serve dinner, take out the laundry, put it away, clean up my room while I’m putting it away.

To further clarify my previous response, I not only multi-task, but I’m awfully good at multi-crastinating (procrastinating in many different ways at once.)

If I’m not actually multitasking at the moment, I may well be thinking about other things that need to get done and how to get them done. I try not to have too many things going at once, especially if one of the tasks is cooking - inattention to some cooking functions is a bad thing. :eek:

Fortunately, with my daughter off to school in another state and the animals firmly in a routine, my multitasking requirements are reduced considerably. Which is nice.

Female. I think if I didn’t multitask, our house would actually, literally, fall down in a heap of unwashed laundry, dirty dishes, and kids who need a ride somewhere. I tend to watch tv on the fly, while I’m going back and forth doing housework. Probably drives SO crazy because it appears that I’m not watching American Justice, when in fact, I’m listening to it from the laundry room where I’m throwing a load of laundry in and separating things out to go to Goodwill while the potatoes are coming to a boil.
I go like that all day, usually.


At work, I can multi-task like a mother—well, never mind that. :smiley:

I’m like Lobsang. I have several windows of our department software open on my computer, and while I’m waiting for one window to finish thinking, I’m working in another. I can talk on the phone and answer questions while entering info on the computer or replying to e-mails.

It’s a matter of using downtime in one area to start working on another. So, at home, while you’re waiting for the water to boil, you can go start a load of laundry.

Interesting. I have to say that I am very capable of serving a sequenced meal that involves many steps and having it turn out at the right moment, in the right order, so the salad lands crisp and cool, the asparagus are springy but not tough or mooshy and the Beef Wellington is done perfectly, inside and out.

To my brain, that is a series of sequences in one task. I can think ahead, lay it out and not botch a good meal. However, if you asked me to work on the layout for turning the garage into the family room and how many stud lengths I’d need, I can promise you that you’d be eating an immense ball of overcooked dry meat, covered in crispy-burnt filo dough with liquified asparagus.
I myself was impressed with the fact that cher3 can pet a fish while she’s going to the toilet. Gosh, girls are neat. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m good at it. Maybe it comes from having once been a social worker :slight_smile:

Domestic work lends itself to it, if you can remember what comes up next. I remember mopping the floors, doing laundry, and cooking supper simultaneously one evening. Having timers you can set definitely helps.

Some things don’t fit so easily in with other tasks as part of a multitasking day. I get paid to create, modify, and maintain FileMaker databases. If I’m elbow-deep in the process of implementing some new function, I’m already sort of multitasking in a way —while creating a subscript in File B I have to remember the name of the subscript in File C that I have to reference, I will end up temporarily covering up and leaving that ScriptMaker dialog to define a relationship, and while doing so will have to have a clear memory of what fields I need to hook together to do that; and then once I’m done with File B’s subscript I have to remembe to go back to File A and edit the master script to call the new File B subscript, and to navigate to the new layout I created instead of the old one, etc etc … all of which is easy enough if I can stay immersed in FileMaker but it becomes a mess to come back to if I get interrupted in mid-task to go do something totally different for 20 minutes!

I have boyparts and in general I don’t think I’m at a disadvantage, multitaskingwise.

I’m not as extreme about it as my Dad, though —he goes stircrazy if he’s involved in fewer than 4 simultaneous things, and last Christmas I watched him reprogram the TV satellite remote, play cards with us (& keeping score for the table), embroider a dresser scarf, and discuss the harvesting of vegetables with his 90-year-old aunt (no slouch, she was shelling peas and watching the same TV program and playing cards while discussing the vegetable garden with him).

Male, I can multitask. In fact I couldn’t do my jo without being able to multitask. On average at work I am connected to two properties at once (we dial into hotels to fix their software). My record is six at once.

At home I almost never multitask. I try not too.


Female. Can’t multitask to save my life. Well, I can eat and read at the same time, does that count?

Male. Definitely a multitasker. I can multitask with the best of them. :wink:

male, and I can only multi-task if that means leaving a string of half-or-less finished jobs in my wake. “Out of sight out of mind” is my motto.

Female, average multitasker. Talking or reading combines easily with most manual jobs that go on autopilot, like doing dishes or shelling peas.

I get easily distracted while doing something, but I suppose that doesn’t count. :slight_smile:

If I multitask, all jobs are done worse the when I concentrate on one at a time.

I do need a certain speed while working, though. If it goes too slow, I’m prone to (usually fatal) distraction.

I’ve heard that having kids forces people to become better at multitasking.

AHunter, can you give me some more detail on how your dad did these four different things you described? Did he return to the card table every five minutes, and reprogrammed the TV satellite remote in between, absently mindedly talking to your aunt while tinkering with the remote? I can imagine that, with some difficulty, but my mind boggles when I try to fit in the embroidering in there as well. Embroidering and tinkering each occupy both hands; playign cards and conversation both keep up the mind; I can imagine the mind doing one thing and the hands doing something else, but surely he didn’t do all four those things simultaneously?

I think multi-tasking is a myth. You don’t really do more than one thing at the same time, unless you’re that guy who could write sanskrit backwards with one hand and latin upside-down with the other. What you really do is a little bit of one thing one minute, then a little bit of another the next. Doing something while another thing is in a phase where you aren’t actively manipulating it doesn’t count.


Agreed. I suppose my definition is this : Multi-tasking is A + B + C x Same timeframe = A ( completed ) + B ( completed ) + C ( completed ).

I’m a texbook adult A.D.D. person. I tried to learn to be an EMS Dispatcher, and failed wretchedly. It required a single person to handle incoming phone calls and enter data at highspeed with zero errors, WHILE answering other phone calls and triaging phone calls on the fly, WHILE entering a second set of data from overhead speakers broadcasting incoming emergency pages that used radio, not computers to relate info.

Yes, one rarely can do more than one task simultaneously. I was referring to the ability to have X time, take 2 or 3 tasks upon ones self and dedicate .333X time to each one, finishing them all successfully.

I can multi-task, in fact, I get bored if I don’t do more than one thing at a time. If I’m on the computer, I’m usually playing solitaire while surfing the web with more than one page open. If I had to wait for the pages to load without having something to do in the meantime, I’d go nuts (and I’m on a cable modem). It’s even worse in class, where I’m taking notes, playing freecell, talking on IRC and surfing the net and listening to the professor. I think the problem is, if I have to wait on something I must do something else.

So I can have a five course meal on and in the stove and partially on the table while talking to my friends and playing cards. I can clean the house while doing laundry and talking on the phone (no great feat, that).

Mr E, however, can’t even get a three course meal on the table without having something turn into mush or underdone. He can’t talk to me while surfing the internet. He doesn’t read anything when he’s exercising. Crazy!


I can multi-task, but with a twist; I have to be in physical motion. Have never been officially diagnosed, but, in reading, a lot of ADD symptoms ring true. Mostly when doing “word-work”, or having to sit still for too long.

When I’m moving around physically, though, I can do many things at once; ie, be working hard at one task, thinking ahead to the next ten others, and directing my underlings, thinking ahead to their next work, etc. No problem. If I sit down, it’s all over, I have to really consciously focus on what to do next. Fortunately, I’ve worked hard to train myself how to do that, and can survive at work, managing others.

Anyone have any insight on that form of odd mind workings???

Male here. I can multitask - being a professional cook requires it. I’m also quite a bit like Elysian and Tenzin in that I have to be doing something. I can’t even sit and wait for a bus if my destination is within reasonable walking distance (within a half-mile or so). If I have to wait more than a few minutes I’ll just keep walking. I hate sitting and waiting. If the bus I need is the only bus that will get me where I need to be when I need to be there (like going to work) I’ll pull a book out of my backpack. On the bus, I have to be reading. I can’t just sit there looking out the window.

This is also why I listen to sports on the radio rather than watch them on television. Watching a game on TV pretty much requires staring at the picture and doing nothing else. But if I listen to the game on the radio I can read a book or surf the Web or even practice my musical instruments.

Speaking of music, does simultaneously playing a complex bass line and singing lead vocals qualify as multitasking?


Definitely, somethings going on there with the bass/lead vocal thing…you don’t see that many bass player /lead vocalists, or drummer/lead vocalists. Rather difficult to do both.

I’m not a musician, but come from a family of musicians. I’m a visual artist, and can fall into a nice zone, able to produce,better, when listening to music. Not sure on how that has to do with the brain processes of what’s called multi-tasking, but listening to music and focusing is the only point I CAN focus when sitting still.

Other than that, gotta be moving around. An addition, I’ve always tended towards skinny, so have a high metabolism. Think that bears some thought, too.