Our research shows this can often be the case. Some put it down to the wiring of our brains but cultural issues play a huge part, too.
Here we’ll deal with two common issues and discuss why women need to be particularly wary of them and what they can do about them.
Gender Trap #1
First, is that bane of today’s world: multitasking!
We hope we hear you agreeing that multitasking is to be avoided.
Trouble is, evidence shows that too many of us feel we’re not ‘achieving’ if we aren’t doing at least three things at once!
You’ll have seen women supposedly having a coffee break, or lunch while talking on the phone and putting on their make-up or checking email at the same time. And now there is the phenomenon of ‘dual screeners’ particularly amongst teenagers and young adults.
They engage in a TV show at the same time as texting and checking emails on their phone or tablet.
Many studies show that multitasking may feel as if you’re getting things done but it’s inefficient, can actually cost you far more time and is bad for memory retention and for optimum outcomes.
Our more gender-specific problem stems from women being generally better at multitasking than men. Research says it’s because our brains are more symmetrical than males.
Think of the evolution of our species. Our brain wiring grew from the time when men had to focus on hunting—needing concentration on one thing—while women kept an eye on the children, the fire going while chatting and often making something with their hands plus as the gatherers, had to be on the lookout for food.
However, as the world has made multitasking more of a virtue, we’ve tried to use our skills in ways never intended—for tasks that really need our full attention to do them properly. Men tend to be able to focus on one thing far more easily.
Multitasking not only lowers our ability to do the given jobs to their best but can elevate the feeling of being overwhelmed—a great producer of stress.
When you come to terms with the value of ‘being in the moment’—which in this case, means giving any one task its due focus—you do justice to your abilities. You can shine.
It means prioritising your tasks and using your calendar in the smartest way to set specific times for those tasks. Whether you’re a man or a woman!
Gender Trap #2
The second alarm-ringer for us is that women are more likely to be the ‘go-to’ people for others and because of this can struggle with their time management. You know the ones: they’re quick and able, willing helpers but awful at saying no!
To go back a step, we identified these gender traps after developing our breakthrough approach to time management.
Through our research we realised—just like Francis in his work at 2Time Labs–that one-size doesn’t fit all when it comes to time management.
We then developed a system so that people could identify their own time personality—or as we call them—their Time Management Style. We also developed a clever Profiler, backed by an algorithm, to help you identify your Time Style in an objective way.
We identified five main Time Styles (plus many variations) and we give them names for fun and helpful identification.
The first Gender Trap of multitasking particularly affects those we call Juggling Julie or Juggling James. They’re creative and accomplished but let themselves down—or stress themselves out—by letting their ‘juggling’ abilities get out of hand.
This second Gender Trap of struggling to say no particularly hampers Helpful Helen or Helpful Harry.
They’re willing helpers and can be great teachers. But because of their reluctance to say no, they often find themselves getting bitter and put-upon when they help others so much that their own work suffers.
The nurturing roles of most females can emphasise Helpful Helen tendencies so they have to be particularly aware of this to start changing.
If you find yourself taking on too much of other people’s issues and tasks, reconsider your position. Start learning to say no to small things—practice with a script, if you need. Find other ways to help—suggest to them that you guide them while they do it themselves. Often, they can do it anyway, they just know you’re an easy way for them to save their own time!
Both these Time Styles have splendid strengths, too. Knowing your Time Style will give you faster insight into how you can use your strengths, deal with your challenges—including how you sabotage your time—so you can use your time effectively using strategies suited to you.
We’ve helped men and women throughout the world identify their challenges and strategies to improve their strengths. Start with the Profiler—it takes only about 15 minutes—but delivers on-going ‘a-ha’ moments so you can make the most of your time.
Women should go to www.PinkShoePower.com and do the Profiler. Men, please shoot us an email as we have a special link for you!
Valerie McDougall & Jayne Jennings are the authors of Pink Shoe Power: What your Time Management Style means for your success in business and life. They help businesses and individuals make the most of their lives by working with their own ‘time personality’.