I know, I know. I sensed the proverbial eye roll as soon as the word “millennial” was mentioned. Entitled, inexperienced, obsessed with selfies − millennials seem to be branded with this negative stigma. But, there are many young adults in the professional world working hard to advance their careers and make better lives for themselves. This post is for them.
I understand how overwhelming it can be to balance a full-time job (and maybe even a second job) while trying to “find your way” in the real world – buying/renting a house, considering marriage and kids, paying off student loan debt, etc. Sometimes, it can feel impossible. But, it’s not. As this Fast Company article describes, busy people often get more things accomplished.
Last week, BPR agency President Anne Buchanan – inspired by Arianna Huffington – explained the importance of countering a stress-filled life with taking care of our minds, bodies and souls. So, how do you take care of yourself in the midst of wanting/needing to accomplish everything else? Here are a few ways busy millennials can make it all happen:
- Plan Ahead This is something I still struggle with. But when I do plan ahead, I find that my day runs much more smoothly. Packing a lunch the night before, pulling out your outfit, making a life to-do list (e.g. call the doctor, pick up groceries, pay bills) and anticipating a block of “me time” can make a huge difference in how your day feels. When I don’t plan ahead, I find myself feeling panicked, more stressed and often less productive. Getting as many things in place ahead of time and having an understanding of what needs to be done can lighten a mood and make for a more productive day. That said…
- Remain Flexible Especially in PR, it can be tough to plan a firm work-life schedule when you don’t work a typical 9-5 job. So although you may know WHAT you have to accomplish, it helps to remain flexible about WHEN it will get done. For instance, you may plan to go for a run outside in the beautiful weather at 5:30 right after work. But then, you get pulled into a last minute event or meeting and that plan is shot. So what do you do? You can let a foul mood take over, or you can see that there are positive options. You may decide that you’ll run on the treadmill later, or even give yourself a pass and unwind with a glass of wine when you get home. Look forward to something different instead of harping on what can’t be changed.
- Celebrate the wins Signed a new client? Have a glass of bubbly. Placed your client in the New York Times? Take two minutes to do a happy dance. Cleared out your overflowing inbox? Pat yourself on the back. Every win – big or small – deserves to be celebrated. After all, these are the reasons we love our jobs, right? Sparking or maintaining a positive mood can make a huge difference in how effectively and efficiently other tasks get accomplished.
- Keep looking ahead This one is a biggie. Young adults often find themselves overworked and still unable to pay rent and bills. It can be a draining feeling to find you’re working as hard as you can, but still struggling to “make it.” Karma has a funny way of working out. If you keep being the best you can be, it will pay off. How many 20-somethings make six figures, live debt-free and only work 40 hours? It will get easier.
- Remain humble Especially as we advance in our careers, it can begin to feel like we know more than we really do. Remember that there is always something to learn and somebody to thank. You’ll be surprised and impressed with yourself when you see how much you can learn. And when you start feeling stuck, remember there is always someone who cares, is proud of you and more than happy to help. So even if it’s six weeks away and just for an hour, take time to see the family and friends who helped you become who you are today.
Any other tips for helping young adults navigate the ever-challenging work-life balance?