, , , , , , , ,

In a recent Lifehacker.com article, Marissa Meyer argues that simply having a to-list and prioritizing it is the important thing — not finishing it.

Worried Man with Debt and Bills

(Photo credit: SalFalko)

This approach may work well for women, but men will find it frustrating and stress inducing.  One of the key differences between men and women is the ability to multitask.  Few doubt that women are ahead of men in this category, and there are studies to back this up (also see “Related Articles” at the end of this post).

However, multitasking isn’t just restricted to actually physically performing multiple tasks at the same time, it also involves the process of mentally engaging with or thinking about multiple tasks.  While women are still better at this than men, one author on Inc.com suggests that this is stressful and reduces productivity for most people.

Married women who doubt this only need to ask their husbands to fix the leaking faucet, and then while he’s working on that ask him if when he’s done he would look at her closet door which doesn’t shut correctly, then a few minutes later as he’s still working on the faucet and hasn’t got to the closet door yet, ask him if he thinks he would be able to clean the gutters out today.

Married women who practice this approach to tasks probably have frequently irritable husbands and frequent tension in the relationship?  Why?  Men prefer to think about and complete one task at a time.  When that is done, that box is closed, then we can mentally move to the next task.  Having multiple problems thrown at us before we can finish one leaves us feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.  Even a single task — if it’s unplanned, unscheduled, and impromptu — is frustrating for men.

My suggestion for the Honey-Do list is for the wife to create her Honey-Do list and prioritize it — most important listed first, to least important last.    The man, however, should use this list to create a schedule.  Men work better with schedules than unstructured lists.  We can say at 8am Saturday I will cut the grass.  I will work in the garden from 9 to 10am.  After showering, we can do grocery shopping from 1030 to Noon.  We’ll have lunch and then at 1pm I’ll tackle the sink.  Men are very comfortable with this approach because their day/week is planned and in full control.  We don’t have things flying at us in a random, unplanned, uncontrolled fashion.

Women, if you don’t like that your husband scheduled one of your tasks for Saturday afternoon, ask if there’s any way he could schedule that one for an earlier date or time, but don’t try to force him to live outside his structured environment or always respond to tasks in an impromptu fashion — unless you just like living with an irritable man.