It's pretty well accepted that women are better at multitasking than men. Women are often doing several things at once, while most men seem to perform better when they only focus on a single task at a time.
It turns out, however, that this might not really be the case. Now that technology means everyone is expected to multitask throughout the day, companies are doing more studies to see how people really handle it.
A recent study by Microsoft of 2,000 consumers discovered some interesting things. The first is that the average human attention span has gone down. In 2000 it was 12 seconds, and in 2015 it's now just 8 seconds.
As a comparison, scientists think that a goldfish has a 9-second attention span. (That's not to be confused with a goldfish's memory. There's a myth that a goldfish forgets everything every 3 seconds, but studies show it can remember things for months, just like any other animal.)
The study also showed that our ability to multitask is getting better, although skill level varies with someone's age, job, place and time of day. Interestingly, the best age group for multitasking is 45 to 54 year olds.
The other surprising thing was that women didn't fare as well at multitasking as conventional wisdom might lead you to believe.
In Microsoft's study, only 29% of women were considered good multitaskers vs. 38% of men tested. However, women did have slightly longer attention spans, and were more likely to finish repetitive tasks.
Of course, it's important to remember that no human can truly multitask like a computer can. Instead, you're just shifting your focus between several tasks very quickly. And there are a few ways to do this. Microsoft identified three.
Microsoft's three "natural attention modes" are "Ninja," "Pragmatists" and "Ambidextrous." "Ninjas" keep their tasks separate by doing them on different gadgets. So they'll work on their computer, play on their tablet and watch videos on their TV. And they'll do these at different times.
"Pragmatists" will compartmentalize their tasks, but they'll switch between them throughout the day. "Ambidextrous" people are what you think of as a traditional multitasker where they're doing everything on every gadget at the same time.
Which one are you? Do you really think men are better at multitasking than women? Is your attention span longer than 8 seconds? Let me know what you think in the comments.