Growing up immersed in social media, smart devices and apps, Millennials have entered the workforce with a mindset that is vastly different to generations before them. With a hopeless addiction to technology and a reputation for being constantly distracted, how does this so-called “selfie generation” manage their time and manage their career.
In a recent interview on Inside Quest, author and marketing consultant, Simon Sinek gave a frank, yet alarming account of Millennials searching for career satisfaction in today’s society. He says that today’s managers and business owners struggle to understand Millennials and often accuse them of being “entitled, narcissistic, uninterested, unfocused and lazy”. With that kind of reputation, it can be a tough road for Millennials trying to make their mark in the working world. Sinek blames a combination of the “everyone gets a medal” style of parenting they were raised on and an addiction to the temporary fix that social media and smart technology provides over meaningful relationships.
The making of a Millennial
Aged 18 – 33, Millennials are the generation that has been online their whole lives, and because of this, they know there is more than one way to get what they want. They have grown up in a world where new business models and new technologies are constantly emerging, giving them little allegiance to traditional models.
Since Millennials have been in the workforce, we have seen the Google-style workplace with beanbags, chill out rooms and free food become the most sought after places to work. Online shopping allows for anything they want to arrive on a next day delivery. Dating is a simple swipe left or right, and if they want music, movies or books, it’s there for instant download. The Millennials have brought about a fundamental shift in the way we work and play.
Leaders and managers who are hoping this generation will conform to traditional ways “when they grow up” may be sadly mistaken. So it makes sense that for Millennials to find job satisfaction, perform well, and create meaningful working relationships they will use technology to find success.
So how do Millennials stay focused when everything around them is vying to distract them? As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Millennials will embrace technology to manage their time and maximise productivity.
Draw the line between personal and professional
If the temptation to respond immediately to personal emails, texts or social media messages is too much, there’s an app for that. It’s not necessary to respond immediately. And if that seems too difficult. There are plenty of apps or email extensions like Hubspot's Sidekick that will help you schedule email time.
Say no to notifications
Millennials don’t need any more distraction in their lives. Resisting the temptation to check social media is hard enough without notifications constantly popping up throughout the day. Turn off notifications from all platforms to help stop to prevent distraction. Every distraction adds up and will start to impact performance. And if you have something you absolutely have to get off your chest, OneNote by Microsoft allows you to type, write, draw or clip wherever you are.
Manage your weeks by setting monthly goals
For younger Millennials fresh out of school, university, or college, part of the challenge of entering the workforce is managing life without a set schedule. Students know their schedule for the whole term, if not the whole year so it makes sense to use technology to help manage your working life just like when you were studying. Use calendars, planners and list apps to schedule personal time, work time and goals. That includes small goals (daily and weekly) and big goals (like life goals). Technology and apps can provide the infrastructure to help get you there, check out Asana for an easy way to track your work.
Technology for time management
With a natural affinity for technology in every aspect of their lives, there’s no point telling Millennials to turn off technology to get their work done. Time tracking apps and time management software are the ideal solution. MicroManager is automated time tracking software that helps busy professionals keep track of every billable minute. It's easy to minimise the distraction of filling out timesheets or call logs because MicroManager does it all for you. Not only does MicroManager allow you to keep track of time, but it also provides budgets, goals and reporting at the click of a button.
A recent study by Forbes reported that Millennials rank happiness and passion as their most important values. But if they are hoping to find all the answers in technology, they may be mistaken. In one of his most poignant points, Sinek suggests that Millennials’ inability to live without a device blocks innovation.
“Ideas happen when our minds wander. Constant engagement blocks innovation. Where you look around and see something; innovation comes. You take away those moments if you’re on your phone.”