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Something to think about... / blog
Are Men Really 32% More Productive Than Women?

Written by on May 5, 2010

RescueTime, a company the provides time management software, recently did a survey on what men and women spend their time one. Interesting study, but I don’t think they made the right conclusions.

First the stats:

  • Women spend more time on shopping sites, with 1.31% for women vs. 0.86% for men. Nothing really surprising here. That has been the case for as long as humankind have existed.
  • Women also spend more time on social networking sites, with 6.43% for women, and 3.96% for men. Again, nothing new here.

But what is interesting is:

  • While men and women work, a woman switches between sites and apps 45 times per hour, whereas men do so 53 times.
  • Men are productive 50% of their time, whereas women are only productive 43% of their time.
  • And men spend 14% more time in front of a computer than women.

Based on all this, RescueTime concludes that women only work 76% of the time that men do - and thus claims that men are more productive.

I think they miss a very important point.

Productivity is based on the results achieved, and the focus that goes into achieving it. Not the time spent working on something. That is called “activity”.

Measuring how much time you spend is a relic from the days where most people worked in factories. It is mostly irrelevant in today’s world.

I would have made different conclusion to the same study. It clearly shows that men are easily distracted, because they switch between things 53 times per hour. The result isn’t more productivity, instead it is lack of focus (which is bad).

Also, in my experience (by looking at the women I work with), women might spend a ton of time talking gossip, but when they actually work, they do so in a more focused and productive way.

I would not be surprised if women could complete a task in far less than 76% of the time it takes a man to do the same.

Don’t measure time, measure results.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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