Written by Anne Helen Peterson, an essay titled ‘How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation’ is doing the rounds of the internet and has become quiet viral. Moreover, the American lexicon welcomed a brand new phrase with the essay and that is ‘Errand Paralysis’. Used by Peterson, errand paralysis is the inability of coping up with boring, simple chores-like organizing a messy desk or posting a greeting card. This is because of the ever mounting anxiety. We add something on our to-do list and let it roll over from week to week, months to months and it just goes on haunting us. Peterson attributes the struggle of getting on top of boring but important tasks which would help in improving her life to perpetual exhaustion as well as to the dire need of being perpetually productive. To quote her, she says, “Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it — explicitly and implicitly — since I was young.” You can read the entire essay here.
It is debatable if millennials, those who are born between 1981 to 1996, have a higher risk on burnout as compared to the other generation, but if the confluences of historical and cultural events with which they have grown up are taken into account, it wouldn’t comes as a shock that they are highly unmotivated in tackling their responsibilities. The millennials are glued to the screens all day long, the natural disasters, global warming, corrupt and tenuous governments all these further stimulate their stress levels. If you think you are among those suffering from an errand paralysis, here is how you can combat it:
Importance or Urgency? Know the Difference
We have created a world where the most attention seekers are friend requests, texts, and notifications. Even though we might think that texts and catching up with friends is very important, it is one of the most useless things to do. We must not drain our brain power with faux urgency. You need to prioritize the quiet but more important responsibilities over the meaningless alarms and beeps that your cellphone keeps you occupied with. Schedule your tasks and decide when to do what. Writing them down and creating a check-list/ to-do list always helps.
One way of getting in control your anxiety over unfinished tasks is by stop thinking about them and start doing them. Pull up your socks, even if you feel tired, and just get started. Start with a ten-minute goal and by the time the ten minutes are over, you are already into the task and chances are, you would finish only when it is done. The hardest part is to start but dividing the task into tiny, doable goals help in making the task more achievable and less daunting.
Say Hello to Meditation
Meditation is a great way to refresh your mind and to de-stress. Mindful meditation will not only help in calming down your mind and keeping anxiety at bay but it will also help you to start afresh and get done with the pending to-dos. You can also indulge in meditative activities like qigong and yoga. A calm state of mind always leads to the creation of a productive and healthy day. There are various apps for meditation that you can try out as well. Headspace and Calm are the two most popular ones.
Make Your Kids Do Dull Chores
Parents must definitely assign their kids with housekeeping tasks as these would help them later in life. Let your tiny one learn a lesson on adulating by merging in boring chores in their schedules. This would help in their cognitive achievements as well. Most of the parents are concerned about the intellectual development of their progeny and more often than not, they seem to forget about teaching them basic chores for survival. This includes visiting a dentist regularly, cleaning the house, turning up the car, and so on. Giving your kids exposure to chores helps in warding off future stress associated to such tasks and they wouldn’t get overwhelmed in managing them.
These were few simple tips and tricks on how to keep your calm and go about doing your responsibilities without feeling the urge of postponing them from one week to another. Ready, set, GO! You can do it!