Men aren’t as good at multitasking as women – at least that’s what I hear from my wife, as well as my women friends and colleagues.
And I believe them. Trying to do too many things at once stresses me out, generally makes me less productive, and diminishes the product of my efforts.
The flipside of this discussion, naturally, is that women are better able to multitask – do two things simultaneously – effectively. A study published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review compared multitasking between mothers and fathers.
It turns out, working mothers do substantially more multitasking compared with working fathers – “mothers spend 48 hours, and fathers 39 hours, per week on the performance of two concurrent activities,” according to the study.
And these women are more likely to spend their extra multitasking time related to childcare and household work, and their time multitasking tends to be more stressful than their husbands’.
“For mothers, multitasking activities at home, and in public, are associated with an increase in negative emotions, stress, psychological distress, and work-family conflict. By contrast, fathers’ multitasking at home involves less housework and childcare and is not a negative experience.”
Barbara Schneider, a professor of sociology and education at Michigan State University, study co-author, said in a HealthDay article, that working moms are multi-tasking about two-fifths of their waking hours.
One approach to relieve the pressure – and stress – from working mothers is to lend a hand with household chores, Schneider said.
“Doing these things together, whether it’s cleaning up, or wrapping presents, or whatever it is you need to do; when mom isn’t the only one out there till 9 p.m. trying to get it all done; these are the kinds of things that make a family run smoothly as a unit,” Schneider said.
Whether you’re a mom or a dad, or neither, in today’s fast-paced, always connected world, many of us are multitasking more, and often this causes stress. More and more research is showing that stress can negatively impact our physical as well as our mental health.
If you are feeling stressed Jefferson’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program might be for you.
The Mindfulness Institute of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine was formed to address these sorts of stresses. Our Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program can help you better understand and work with all the stress in your life — medical, psychological and social.