What the heck is millennial burnout—and do you have it? 9 Charlotteans weigh in.

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Courtesy of Brit Turner

There are reasons why adulting is so difficult, Buzzfeed reported earlier this month: a phenomenon called millennial burnout. Although successful in other aspects of life, some people are failing in the regular tasks: to-do list items are not getting checked off, the packages don’t get mailed, the errands don’t get run.

“When it came to the mundane, the medium priority, the stuff that wouldn’t make my job easier or my work better, I avoided it,” reporter Anne Helen Petersen wrote. Buzzfeed even created a quiz so you could determine if you have millennial burnout.

[Related: How Charlotteans make their side hustles work for them]

Millennial burnout is a product of the mentality that enough is actually not enough, according to psychotherapist Jessica Busick. “There is always more to be done, and there is always something to be accomplished.”

Tasks that feel purposeless don’t give people a sense of accomplishment when complete, Busick said. “It doesn’t count as something to consider a success — because to them it is small and insignificant, ultimately leading to lack of motivation or desire to follow through.” Busick works at Teen Health Connection, a partner of Levine Children’s Hospital. She has worked with patients of all ages — and she is a millennial herself.

There is a solution — and it doesn’t involve checking off your to-do list faster. “Millennials need to practice forgiving themselves when they feel burned out — recognize it, own it and feel no shame in admitting that burnout is a natural consequence of everyday life and all of the tasks associated,” Busick said.

Since misery loves company, we wanted to know: Which tasks are Charlotte millennials putting off because of burnout? So we asked 9 Charlotteans. Actually, we asked a few more than that, but they didn’t get their answers turned in on time, probably because — well.

(1) Malia Brown, 23

Founder/CEO of UrbanSocial TV

Courtesy of Malia Brown

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?

  • Getting a gym membership and working out.
  • Creating a meal plan so I can stay consistent with my transition into a vegetarian diet.
  • Getting out and networking to meet new people.
What’s stopping you from doing them?

Honestly, I just feel like I have a “go, go, go” mentality where I’m just focused on working and climbing the ladder to success. I have so many goals that I’m working to accomplish that I prioritize those things mentioned above lower than others. It’s taxing to be in that mindset all of the time, but I just feel like in this stage of my life I have to be on my grind, and put all of my energy into the harder tasks.

(2) Adam Cozzolino, 26

Owner of 15th Street Market, Lifted and more

Photo by Alex Cason
Adam Cozzolino

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?

As a 26-year-old business owner of three brick-and-mortar businesses, I may understand “millennial burnout” a little more than most. It quite simply, is the mundane aspect of tasks that just aren’t “top priorities”, that lead to my personal “millennial burnout”.

[Related: 15th Street Market has CBD coffee, snacks, and local beer and kombucha on tap]

What’s stopping you from doing them?

As millennials, we have a deep urge to do a lot at one time, important things to us, so when it comes to do mundane tasks like going to the post office or finding time to do laundry, we don’t even blink an eye at putting it off until the next day, week, and sometimes even months later. (Sorry, Troy, I still haven’t sent your engagement gift from October.) When I do decide to tackle the not so fun tasks, CBD has really been helpful for me in easing stress and anxiety to complete these tasks. I believe it’s a priority thing for most, and after a long day, or week, who wants to do laundry anyway?

(3) Kenna Ehman, 27

owner of Kenna Kunijo 

Courtesy of Kenna Ehman

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?

I’ve always been the one that “has it all together” one the outside but i was straining myself to do small tasks like grocery shopping, dry cleaning, cooking, housecleaning, and other errands. I realized that since the more I work the more I make I just budgeted in the proper amount of extra clients per week to be able to hire someone to do all my errands. For me, I love doing hair and it takes me about 2 hours to do a cut and color. That one client allows me to be able to have 12-15 hours of help per week to help with my tasks. I think millennial needs to learn to hand tasks they don’t enjoy over in order to do more of the things that drives them. Let’s be honest, most millennials are entrepreneurs after all.

What’s stopping you from doing them?

I would rather have a huge pile of laundry than miss out on an opportunity to work, host an event, or show face at some sort of networking thing. I care a lot about being visible, as a business owner, in the community, For me, it’s easier to buy new underwear on some store’s app than take time to simply wash them. It’s messed up, I know.

(4) Davita Galloway, 38

Owner of Dupp+Swatt, founder of Crownkeepers and more

Courtesy of Davita Galloway

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?

  • Grocery shopping.
  • Washing dishes.
  • Washing clothes.
  • Sorting mail.
  • Cleaning out inbox/replying to emails.
  • Replying to text messages — I formulate an entire response in my head.
  • Getting an oil change — I continue to add 2 quarts every now and then.
  • Creating pieces for upcoming art show.
  • Self-care regimens: massage, working out, beauty upkeep.

What’s stopping you from doing them?

  • Life — it comes at you fast. Unpredictable moments are real!
  • Juggling too many responsibilities. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have specific work hours.
  • My professional life is poppin’, my personal life sucks.
  • Sleep. When I do get time to myself, I’d rather chill out and do nothing.

(5) Corey Inscoe, 31

Digital content manager at Compass Group

Courtesy of Corey Inscoe

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?
I’m not sure millennial burnout is the culprit, but there are a few mundane things around the house that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

  • I’ve had a bag of clothes meant for Goodwill sitting in the corner of my bedroom for at least six months, if not longer.
  • There are two burned-out lights in the kitchen that i’ve been meaning to replace for weeks.
  • This I managed to accomplish, but I almost missed my window of opportunity to roll over my 401k after changing jobs because I took forever to actually call the bank and initiate the transfer.
  • And, every year, I’m late getting my car inspected and the registration renewed.

What’s stopping you from doing them?
Nothing, really. But with all of the other things I’m thinking about throughout the week – work, family, friends, making sure my 18-month-old daughter survives another day – tasks like these get pushed down on my list of priorities. They only get done when two things match up perfectly: the perfect window of time and the right motivation. And that’s rare.

(6) Taylor Russell, 21

Barista, bartender, and student

Courtesy of Taylor Russell
Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?
I am putting off any tasks that do not lead to future consequences.
  • I have been loading and unloading a bunch of stuff from my car to donate to Habitat for Humanity and Salvation Army for the last 5 months. Apparently vacuuming my car makes it higher on the to-do list so I spend (probably more time than just dropping it off) taking it out and putting it back in.
  • I have had to change the dates on a few letters I wrote, because they sat by my door waiting for a stamp so they could be mailed. I even opened one to make sure the information was still relevant.
What’s stopping you from doing them?
There are so many ways to compare our work productivity, ability to multi-task and accomplishments to others that we tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and get very easily burned out when we see mundane tasks not getting done. Your entire life cannot be a never-ending list of things to-do — and I am slowly grappling with this.

(7) Nichelle Sublett, 36

Physician Liaison for Atrium Health

Photo by Alex Cason Photography
Nichelle Sublett
Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?
  • I’ve been meaning to return a pair of dance shorts to Amazon for the last 3 weeks.
  • I also need to mail a friend a package that I was supposed to send her back in November.
  • I also need to pick up my dry cleaning from 3 weeks ago.

Those are just the top 3 items I have on my to-do list currently, which has over 10 mundane, boring items on it that I keep putting off week after week. Pretty pathetic, I know.

[Related: Why Mrs. North Carolina 2018 is sharing her deepest secret with the public]

What’s stopping you from doing them?
  • I think what stops me is the pain of having to drive to a local post office, stand in line, wait in a potentially long line, and make sure I’ve picked out the correct size of boxes to complete the tasks.
  • The other thing that’s holding me back is I’m still trying to decide if I should include an additional gift I’m sending to my friend, or just include the one gift I already have picked out. The indecisiveness is driving me nuts, and I’ll probably end up just sending one gift, since I can’t make up my mind about what else to put in her package.
  • Regarding the dry cleaning, I like to pick a time to stop by there when I’m already headed in the general direction. Over the past few weeks, I haven’t had a reason to head that way, so I would rather not go out of my way for routine stops like that. Plus, there’s nothing I dropped off that I urgently need to wear. It’s simply not a priority.

(8) Brit Turner, 34

Founder at Fit Atelier

Courtesy of Brit Turner

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?

I had no idea I was suffering from millennial burnout, but now I know why I can’t ever seem to find the time to take my very expensive, “dry clean only” clothes to the dry cleaners.

[Related: 5 local fitness fashion retailers to check out. Because why not look good while you sweat?]

What’s stopping you from doing them?

My knee-jerk explanation is that I don’t have enough time between running a business, building a new location, the constant meetings with trainers and our teams, all while juggling home-life with a hot husband and cute toddler. It’s also probably because I own an activewear store where our comfortable, functional outfits are just as cute (if not cuter) than my favorite designer dresses.

(9) Dammit Wesley, 32

Artist, designer, curator

Courtesy of Dammit Wesley

Which tasks are you putting off because of millennial burnout?
Checking my mailbox. Completing art projects and starting multi-layered tasks.

What’s stopping you from doing them?
The crippling anxiety of knowing that so much weighs on my decisions and at the same time that decision amounts to nothing and will not reflect my worth. Being educated, poor, and aware that you will have to work til the day you die leaves VERY LITTLE room for optimism.

This phenomenon is arguably not limited to millennials, even — in fact, a few we polled toed the line at Gen X or Z. Is this a generational condition or a societal one? Let us know in the comments section what you’ve been putting off in the name of millennial burnout, whether you’re a millennial or not.


 

Responses were lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Cry me a river you fat F&*(#ing baby’s!

    “millennial burnout” its called life, get over yourself quite making excuse and just get it done like the rest of us do. “I cant shop for groceries or get my dry cleaning picked up”. You are so damn pathetic.

    • You sir are the problem. As a black 30 something I have to worry about being murdered at any given moment by a police force that has been infiltrated by Nazis and still smile and tap dance for my landlords at my apartment and business. While designing, consulting, and painting for multiple clients at a time with zero job security or insurance. I’m not lazy, your generation is selfish. You refuse to stop working, you refuse to invest in our future and you refuse to take ownership of destroying the economic infastructure that we are having to redesign on the fly. We have no G.I. bills to give us a leg up. Only a deficit of $20k+ to attend a college that won’t give us access to the careers we want. We can’t wait for your generation to exit the workforce and stop sucking up our good jobs.

      MAYA : MAKE AMERICA YOUNG AGAIN

      -DAMMIT WESLEY

      • Always blaming someone else for your problems, so typical of “this” generation. Also quite playing the race card especially when the chief of police our mayor and county sheriff are black.

  2. I never leave comments but after reading this I had to respond. I hope this is all very tongue and cheek because if it is not, this is a very sad state of affairs for this generation. I’m 55 and definitely not a millennial. This is not a generational issue. Mr. Hoover is correct, this is called life. I’m a single Mom, and work all the time putting two kids through college. I can’t afford to get my clothes dry cleaned and definitely don’t wear “designer” clothes. Bless your busy little hearts.

  3. I don’t understand why this is named “millennial” burnout. It’s life, folks, and we all deal with juggling the mundane tasks among all our other professional and personal activities. Adults figure stuff out and prioritize as life happens and you get older. This isn’t anything new, it’s always existed, and this generation can’t claim it as their own.

  4. Robert Hoover took the words out of my mouth when he said millennial burnout is just another way of saying life in general. Honestly, this kind of s*** has been going on forever. I’m sure some cavewoman 100,000 years ago put off slaughtering beasts because she was so busy making furniture out of rocks. I doubt she called it “burnout,” and I doubt a team of cave psychiatrists etched a bunch of psycho-babble on the cave walls telling everyone how to deal with it.

    I keep telling myself — stay open-minded about the trials and challenges of younger people. I know life can really suck when boomers are draining the Social Security system and littering up the planet. I know it sucks having to pay off a hundred grand in college debt, and competing for low-paying jobs with 10,000 other people.

    But “burnout” because you have more than one thing to do at a time? Nah, I gotta pass on that one.

  5. I am not a millennial so I cant relate to this new disorder diagnosis, but l thoroughly enjoyed a small portion of my 1-hr lunch break being entertained by the various comments and responses to this article. Oh crap, did i forget to feed the cat and dog this morning? The curve balls that life throws at us, oy vey.

  6. Guys – Just want to point out one thing … the Charlotteans featured in this article didn’t define themselves as “Burnout Victims.” They responded to the questions they were given in service of exploring the “Millennial Burnout” idea from Buzzfeed. I don’t know everyone on this list, but I can tell you that Davita Galloway, Dammit Wesley, Corey Inscoe and, I suspect, all the others are far from crybabies and slackers. Watching them work first-hand, the reason they can’t get to mundane tasks in the course of a day is they’re busy starting/running businesses, helping others do likewise and changing the face of the city. They each have side-hustles to their side-hustles and while many of Charlotteans are watching Netflix after work and kicking back, they’re busy kicking ass.

    Their crime here is responding honestly to the questions they were given, which were about the few things they don’t get to in a day while they’re doing 100 other things. If they did stop to do their laundry or picked up their dry cleaning, Charlotte would be a poorer place indeed.

    And, for the record, I’m not a Millennial … and I had to rush to get my car inspected since I’m late on registration. Mostly because I’m busy doing whatever awesome thing Davita, Corey and 50 other hard-charging Millennials have given me a chance to do work on with them today.

    • I’m sure you’re right. Kudos to them for working hard, and a pox on C5 for publishing this in the first place. Personally I don’t care what the respondents said. It’s the very idea of this article that’s so GD annoying. I know it’s all click bait, and it probably worked, but to say that putting off tasks is the result of “millennial burnout” is just absolute bull****. It has no basis in reality.

  7. You had to know the main theme here would be about the grown up “child” when the subtitle is “Adulting is hard”. What a joke!

  8. If CLT5 has to copy and get an idea for a post from Buzztroll — a site whose posts are written lazily and thus attacks one’s collective intellect, whose readers are to only consume information in bite-sized trinkets of inanity, making them ever more susceptible to gimcrack niche marketing and goldfish attention-span gadgetry, thus denuding them of the ability to maintain sustained thought or stay engaged long enough to spot the deception (wait, sounds like the folks being featured in here) and collects a handsome reward for doing it from ads and venture capitalists, then it demonstrates CLT5’s woeful and ineffectual nature.

    Let these self-entitled kidults drink craft beers!

  9. I’m exceedingly proud that Charlotte is home to the kind of people that think, work, and create for the collective good. To make and create and find work external in opposition of of mainstream and oppressive systems: this serves everyone in our community!

    Sometimes our work in the world is more important than perceived notions of what “real” adulthood looks like. These folks are living their lives the way they choose to live them, and no requests for sympathy have been made.

    For Hoover accusing Wesley of “playing the race card” : how dare you? What’s wrong with you? The amount of emotional work and psychosomatic symptoms black people experience every day…the necessity of moving through and living in spaces created for white comfort and safety, not theirs… it’s not a joke, and it’s not a “card” and I’m sure if black folks could trade that “card” in for more ease in life that would have already happened. As a white woman I can’t speak to knowing what this is like, all I can say is How dare you? Your insensitivity is astounding. But actually, maybe it’s not and I’m not surprised at all.

    I think that’s about all I came here to say. I won’t be checking back on this comment, and I won’t be engaging in any debates.

  10. there is no such thing as millennial burnout it is just another word to describe behavior of this generation which seemingly is ‘lazier’ and ‘less motivated’ than its elders due to every aspect of our lives projected onto social media for the public to judge. when one does not keep up with the trend of posting the details of our successes and failures on social media it appears we are not making moves in our lives and sticking to goals. this is only another false, biased point of view from the jaded reporters trying to gain readership using the trend ‘blame on the millennials’. when its expected to live an actual life like the facades we see online, no shit we seem to not be able to keep up. physically nobody can be making 6 figures, have a startup, perfect physic, plant based diet, flourishing social life, and minimal stress/anxiety. its 2019. question everything you read.

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