At Levo, a millennial-focused career platform, we’ve just released the results of our joint survey with Microsoft Office, titled Mastering Your Productivity in 2017. We surveyed 1,500 members of our Levo community to learn how millennials view productivity and what motivates them. I’m a millennial myself, but it’s not idle curiosity driving this survey: Millennials age 20‒35 are the largest generation ever to enter the workforce, numbering more than 80 million in the U.S. alone, and are the largest generation in the US workforce.
Millennials are also the first digital native generation. We grew up with technology in our hands and are comfortable building virtual relationships. We, and Generation Z to follow, represent a new challenge and an opportunity for companies looking to attract, retain and empower employees to achieve more.
The survey reveals that being productive matters to us. While 93 percent of respondents said productivity is very important or moderately important to happiness, only 62 percent feel moderately or very productive overall — a notable gap. Also, those younger than 30 reported feeling less productive than those over 30. These numbers and generational differences highlight the importance of giving young professionals the right tools and resources to reach their goals.
What holds us back? The №1 productivity challenge for those surveyed is distractions (33 percent), with social media a leading culprit, followed by time management (25 percent). Meanwhile, 82 percent of respondents acknowledged that building better habits and routines would help them be more productive.
One practice that still rules this year, with 92 percent of respondents reporting that making to-do lists helps them get things done. Most millennials are taking care of business before noon, as 69 percent of respondents say mornings are their most productive time, versus 22 percent who are most productive in the afternoon or evening. We’re early birds, not night owls.
As a tech optimist I believe productivity woes can be solved through cleverly imagined and implemented technology. Good tech plus good habits can help get you there.
From one millennial to another, here are my top tips for how to narrow that productivity gap:
· Keep your inbox clutter-free and move internal conversation onto chat platforms. I use Office 365 and find that Focused Inbox in Outlook is a great tool for keeping my inbox in order. By flagging the most important emails, it lets me tackle the big projects first and catch up with other updates later.
· Rethink your to-do list. Go beyond the short burst of satisfaction of crossing off an item by identifying something about each task you feel passionate about. Then, tally up those reasons to extend that satisfaction over time and help you focus on things that energize and inspire you most.
· Earmark specific time for certain tasks. Outlook Calendar is a lifesaver here for blocking off an hour to write an important memo. And Outlook reminders easily integrate into your smartphone calendar so you never miss a beat.
· Hold a morning “stand-up” meeting to discuss the day’s priorities, connect with team members or simply say your goals out loud.
· Give yourself time to digitally detox from your constantly connected life, and keep your phone away from your bed.
· Finally, don’t check your phone first thing in the morning! Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself.
Productivity doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be easily boosted through a manageable combination of the right tools, resources and habits to make the most of your time. As the future of work evolves, Levo and Microsoft will continue to deliver what the millennial workforce needs to accomplish more and cement our status as the Most Productive Generation.