Soila Kenya: My experience surviving as a Millennial in the workplace

Millennial. Ugh, I hate that word.

But you know what? It’s what I am. I am a person coming to young adulthood in the early 21st century. However, the reason I feel ashamed to be related to this group is all the media-bashing toward us.

In fact, in 2013, Time Magazine ran a cover story entitled ‘Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation’, and if you Google “millennials”, you will come across several negative articles citing our failings.

Well, in the last quarter of 2017, I got a job at Code for Africa, a non-profit organization.

Admittedly, I work with a young group of people, but nevertheless, work is work and at the end of the day I had to deliver results.

Here are a few things I learned about meeting work expectations, even while being the part of the ‘lazy’ ‘self-centered’ generation.

It’s time to drop the negative connotations associated with the millennial generation Click To Tweet

Get rid of distractions

The world is going paperless. And so it is at work, you will be on your laptop throughout. But not only will you have access to your email accounts and work-related Google docs, but also Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the bottomless pit called Google search engine.

It is difficult to get anything done within the work day if you cannot regulate your usage of these time-consuming apps. From my experience, it is best to close all tabs except those ones you are using to get your work done and refrain from opening any leisure related apps with your laptop.

Instead, set a goal to only use your phone for social media, as it is way more obvious for everyone to tell you are not concentrating on your work if you are tapping away on your phone.

 

Work in small bursts of focused concentration

This goes hand in hand with distractions. To ease you into the idea of concentrating solely on work, work in small bursts of 20 – 30 minutes.

Pick a small task and aim to finish it within that time. Then reward yourself with a check-up on your WhatsApp or use the time to go grab a cup of coffee. Then pick another task and repeat.

At midday, take an hour off your desk and go grab lunch preferably outside your work building. I found that you get a rejuvenating boost once you are away from your work for a while and will get more done when you come back as your mind is refreshed.

 

Respect co-workers

We all have different personalities and as millennials, you are already walking in with several perceptions hanging over your head like Damocles’ sword.

Try and keep an open mind and ignore all past stereotypes that may or may not exist.

Remember, you’re all there to get the job done. Focus on that. Give proper respect to all your colleagues and you will slowly earn it back too. People respect other people who are cordial and are focused on their common goals.

Always think of ways you can be helpful and do all your assignments with as much detail as possible. The trick is to be consistently reliable.

 

Set a daily routine

A routine will help your body adjust to your schedule and therefore, you’ll be able to get more done. Have a standard wake-up time, which should be early enough to give you enough free time to do some light exercise.

Working out in the morning is the best option as it clears your mind and instills the discipline that will seep into all sectors of your life. Whether it’s a busy week at work or not, stick to this schedule. This will lend to your overall amount of energy throughout the day.

 

Ask when not sure about something

There’s a time to pretend you know how to get the job done then go figure it out later. This is not it.

Under tight deadlines and situations where you are working with others, let go of your pride/ego/millennial ‘wokeness’ and simply ask for help on how to carry out certain tasks.

You’ll get it done quickly without wasting time asking Uncle Google.

Whether you’re an intern, a fellow, a full-time working employee and you happen to fall into the millennial bracket, it’s time to drop the negative connotations associated with the generation and prove that we can work just as good as anyone else.


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Effective Goal-Setting: Keeping Your new year Resolutions All Year Round

Each year in January, entrepreneurs, and moguls around the world make new year resolutions to help them reach their business goals.

Common resolutions include personal and professional goals like starting a business, building financial capacity, and even improving health and wellness.

As an entrepreneur, your first responsibility is to plan ahead. Not just for your personal agenda, but for the growth of your company.

Your second responsibility is to avoid being a part of the status quo.  A recent study by the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals.

To avoid being part of the 92%, here are four tips to help you achieve your goals in 2018.

Create an accountability system

Research shows that when it comes to health and wellness goals, having a partner could mean the difference between success and failure.

The primary reason for this is that having a partner creates a built-in accountability and motivational system. The same is true for your business goals.

Practical accountability systems may include creating visual reminders of your goals, scheduling check-ups on your progress throughout the year, and designating key team members that are responsible for monitoring your goals.

Being intentional about holding yourself and your team members accountable using these tools will ensure that your resolutions will not be an afterthought by the middle of the year.

Be S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Click To Tweet

Be S.M.A.R.T

I often encourage entrepreneurs to use the S.M.A.R.T. method when setting professional goals.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific goals break down your general goals into manageable bite-size pieces. A great example of this might be to increase your annual revenue.

“Increase revenue in 2018” is a decent general goal. An even better goal is to “increase revenue in 2018 by identifying profit leaks, and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.”

Even that specific goal can be further developed as you think about other factors that will affect the outcome. By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., you set yourself up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become motivation for future success.

Be Flexible

Life happens, which means that despite your best efforts, some things will still go awry. Part of good goal planning is recognizing that and planning accordingly.

Having flexibility in your approach and expectations relieves everyone involved of the pressure that comes with perfectionism. By recognizing that things may not always go as planned, you open the door for creativity to flow, and for discussion about alternative approaches to the goal.

Achieving your goals is as much a matter of timing, as it is a matter of consistency.- @Andrena_Sawyer Click To Tweet

Create Rewards

Rewards are good for morale, which is good for productivity. As you set your business goals, a rewards system is as important as any other piece of the process.

Whether big or small, rewards that highlight performance, collaboration and other values that are important to you and any team members could be the extra motivation for your overall success.

If you find that, in years past, you have been among the 92% of people that don’t achieve their goals, there’s no better time to change that pattern than now.

Achieving your goals is as much a matter of timing, as it is a matter of consistency. No matter where you are in the process, continue to forge ahead using these tips for success in 2018, and in the years to come.