Everyone has learned by now that women experts at multitasking. There is a great section of the TED video by Ken Robinson (14 minutes in) about the difference between men and women. He describes a woman in the kitchen preparing dinner, helping kids with their homework, managing a load of laundry and talking on the phone for work all at the same time. He then characterizes the man as saying,
“Everybody out of the kitchen, can’t you see I’m trying to fry and egg in here!”
Enough said. In his book, For Men Only – a straightforward guide to the inner lives of women, co-authored by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn, Jeff shares this insight. When a man works on the computer, more than likely, he has one window open at a time and when he is finished with it, he closes it.
I described what many women had told me: that their thought lives were almost like busy computers with multiple windows open and running all at once, unwanted pop-ups intruding all the time, and little ability to close out or ignore any of that mental or emotional activity until a more convenient time.
He goes on to share this analogy which encourages an empathetic response to our gender differences.
If all men are truly visual and can’t help it, then I think they should please understand that women are truly verbal and can’t help it. For example, the things men say to us are in mental tape archives and are as real today as they were the moment they were spoken.
How can you help her close all of these open windows because she cannot relax and give you her attention until she does? She is a high-level project manager. When she asks you, or anyone in the vicinity to do something, she is waiting for it to get done so she can check it off her list. She can’t rest until the project is complete.
How can you honor the way her mind works?
Ask questions about the open windows.
Do what it takes to close the open windows that require closing.