In 2022, navigating a workplace culture that is heavily remote has become a post-pandemic hurdle many may not have seen coming. While those working from home span multiple generations, millennials have a history that differentiates them from Boomers, Gen X and Gen Z alike. Millennials are the only generation to grow up with personal technology first as a new concept and eventually as a societal norm.
Those in the 26-41 age group (including myself) struggle to find tools that can help us be more productive - without monopolizing our time or sending us into a spiral of distraction. We all are striving for email management tools and productivity tools that don't suck.
Unfortunately, I cannot help my fellow Y2K kids with their parents’ emotional unavailability or help them understand that avocado toast is not the thing limiting our generational wealth. But as a millennial in the remote workforce, I can share what I’ve discovered to be some of the most simple and effective tools to help cut out the noise and enhance productivity from the comfort of your own home office - or the local coffee shop.
Tools that Millenials should be using to increase productivity today:
- Notion: There are tons of tools out there that promise to organize your entire work life - and in my opinion, most of those to do the opposite. Enter Notion, which quite literally feels like your handwritten notes in digital form. Looking for a content calendar? You got it. A collaborative, real time updating task board for you and your team? Got that too. The level of detail that can be achieved through Notion is somewhat overwhelming at first but, after a few days, you’ll find Notion bridges the gap between your handwritten childhood and your all-digital future.
- Gated: Like most of us, I get a crazy number of unsolicited emails on a daily basis. Everyone knows how it goes: you’re heads down focusing on a project and your email notification goes off and pulls you away from your task at hand. While it's easy to laugh off an email encouraging you to hire a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines, what is not so easy is diving back into your project. This is where Gated comes in, by asking senders to donate a few dollars to the nonprofit of your choice to gain access to your inbox. This cuts down the noise in your inbox and allows you to stay focused on your work. Simply put: less email, less distraction and more time to be productive.
- Slack: Admittedly, it isn’t a groundbreaking statement to say that Slack is a must-have in today’s workplace. The way you use Slack; however, may be something that can shift your productivity. This year I joined a team that uses slack with limits - no lengthy ongoing conversations that could be a quick 15 minute Zoom call. Instead, a place for async communication to replace the connection we used to get from sitting near someone in an office. Our millennial generation is overly communicative, sending AIM text messages all day long. Slack is a big step toward taking our ability to communicate and funneling it into an effective productivity tool.
- Calendly: Not to be dramatic, but Calendly is truly the greatest gift to our generation that secretly hates initiating any type of contact with strangers - despite having been MySpace friends with 4,000 random people at the age of 13. Picture this: rather than having to speak to another human, you send a link to your Calendly - where they can choose from time slots to schedule a meeting. A few clicks and, next thing you know, you have a 30-minute meeting with your boss scheduled. That leaves you with the plenty of time before beforehand to wonder if they might be prepping to fire you. All jokes aside, controlling your time is a major key to a successful remote lifestyle as well as an in-person one. When you own your calendar, you own your creativity, productivity, and overall effectiveness.
- Calm App: While the above tools are all amazingly effective in their own right, the Calm App has been one I’ve used for years to foster productivity at the source: my mind. Being in the right headspace is the top factor in how productive I can be in a given day, week, or month. Taking 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day to meditate and ground myself has made deadlines and learning new skills just a bit easier. And I’m sure glad to be part of a generation that has the advantage of a vast array of mental health resources. It’s a game-changer to utilize an app that can ground my thinking in between meetings or after a long day.
While referring to millennials in general has started to feel as cheugy as chevron and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (which I still unapologetically love), I am proud to be a part of this unique generation. We began life without much technology at all (sorry, VCR industry) and quickly adapted to a life where a phone turns on the lights and simultaneously notifies you about the hate comment you got on your TikTok.
In this world, we’re constantly trying to balance embracing technology and resisting it. By being selective about the tools you use from 9-5 each day, you’ll strike that balance and find yourself more productive than ever.