Just How Busy Are Millennial Women?
What’s the first activity to fall off our to-do lists because of our over-packed schedules? Millennial women weigh in.
If you were to take a look at my Google calendar right now you might ask one of two questions: "Um…when do you sleep?" and "When do you find time to work out?" There’s a short answer to both: I don’t. There’s something else especially telling about those two questions; both are directly related to my physical and mental health. So, are millennial women really too busy to prioritize things, like their health, or are we falling victim to the "busy" excuse? I did a little of investigative reporting to uncover just why women think we’re too busy – and what we are busy doing.
1.) "I Am Way Busier than You Are!": Do we actually like being too busy? Do we thrive on our full calendars? According to Meghan Casserly at Forbes, a full Outlook calendar seems to have replaced the sports car as the new status symbol. Technology, she writes, "plays a role in the feeling of being constantly tethered to the office—but it’s also created a level of belonging to the workplace that hasn’t existed before." When I was in my first entry level job (aw, young Megan) I remember the thrill I got when I added my work email to my Blackberry (yup…) and how important and needed I felt. Now, I pride myself on the moments when I truly unplug from my work email and turn my attention to my health or spending time with loved ones.
2.) Good For You, Not For Me: In Amy Poehler’s book "Yes, Please" she describes her life mantra as "Good For You, Not For Me" i.e.: ‘You like to work out with your boyfriend on Monday nights? Good for you, not for me.’ Several women I spoke to had a similar philosophy. For some, a clean house means an organized life and is a sign of success. Not for Allyn Lewis, CEO & Founder at The Gem. "Who cares if I haven’t vacuumed in six weeks as long as my business is growing?" Lewis said. Priorities shift and change as we get older, and what we do with our limited free time determines how we view our individual successes.
3.) "Lean In" Hangover: Sheryl Sandberg told us to lean in, and boy did we ever. Millennial women have put their foot on the gas in their careers and haven’t let up. "I want to get to the point where I can be a director or VP so I can call the shots," said one young woman I spoke with who preferred not to be named. "I want to start a family soon and champion my own hours and encourage the women who work for me to do the same. If I need to work a few weekends until then, I’ll take it." High risk (long hours), high reward!
4.) Distracted and Busy Are NOT the Same Thing: Are we really busy, or is it something else? "I’m not actually that busy, I’m just easily distracted," Janine Stafford, Coordinator at JSGD, told me. Oftentimes we’ll lament how busy we are when what we’ve really done is distracted ourselves from the work and goals that truly matter to us (how much of our days do we spend distracted and trolling Instagram versus being busy and ticking things of our to-do lists?) If we’re being honest, many of us might admit that we’re far more distracted than we are busy – I know I am.
So, are millennial women more busier now than ever before? I suppose the answer is: what does it matter? We’re working on growing our businesses or burning the midnight oil to save for a home or dream vacation all the while marching towards real, tactical goals. One thing I did uncover is that millennial women might be busy, distracted, stressed and sleep-deprived – but at least they’re not bored.
What’s your take on the "busy trap?" Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @YWDBoston!