Scientists have proved women really are better at multi-tasking than men.
The popular theory was tested both in the laboratory and the real world.
When asked to switch between tasks men were 77% slower than when they concentrated on one job.
For women it was 69%.
Women were also better at tasks using planning skills.
Participants were asked to sketch out how they would attempt a search for a set of lost keys in a field, to locate restaurants on a map, and to solve simple maths questions.
Although many people are convinced women are better than men at focusing on different jobs at once, very little research has been conducted to test this hypothesis.
Dr Gijsbert Stoet, from the University of Glasgow, said: “The study is important… it helps to better understand gender differences.”
In the first part of the study, 120 men and 120 women were tested on how well they can switch rapidly between two simple computer tasks
Participants had to respond to geometrical objects shown on a screen by pressing a button on their right or left side. Response times were measured when they did just one task at a time, or quickly switched between two tasks.
Both men and women slowed down when alternating between two tasks, but men became more sluggish.
Their performance speed slowed by 77% compared with 69% for women.
In the “real world” multitasking test, a different group of 47 men and the same number of women faced three everyday challenges.
They were asked to sketch out how they would attempt a search for a set of lost keys in a field, to locate restaurants on a map , and to solve simple maths questions.
Volunteers were also told to expect a phone call during the test. If they chose to answer the phone, they had to answer general knowledge questions such as naming the capital of France. They had eight minutes to complete as much of each task as possible.
Women taking part in the test developed far better strategies for finding the lost keys, said Professor Keith Laws, from the University of Hertfordshire.
“This one significant advantage for women on the key search task suggests that they may be superior at tasks requiring high-level cognitive control, particularly planning, monitoring and inhibition,” he said.
Dr Stoet added: “While our results are interesting, they still represent only a very specific set of multi-tasking tasks which tested a limited area of cognitive ability.
“More research is required before we can draw any definite conclusions and provide explanations as to precisely why women appear from our evidence to be better multi-taskers.”