This post is from Clay Collins, author of the blog The Growing Life.
Generation Y is known for rolling into work late while wearing headphones, and dressing as if every day were casual Friday. We’re often seen TXTing in our cubicles, taking breaks, and instant messaging. While these images don’t exactly encourage others to view us as bastions of uber-productivity, we’re often a hell of a lot more productive than previous generations.
Here are seven reasons why my generation (Generation Y) is often more productive than yours:
Reason 1: We use the best tools
Generation Y is more than comfortable doing the experimentation necessary to find the right tools and technologies for most effectively completing a task. We understand the company’s project management software better than you do because we are comfortable playing with it. And we can probably recommend 2-3 other tools that would work better in the situation because we’re not afraid to rely on nearly-free, online productivity tools from unknown companies. Our to-do lists are carefully maintained, prioritized daily and synced with our PDAs and iPODs.
Reason 2. We’re good at automating
Generation Y has grown up with technology and we believe that computers can do just about anything (or that they will someday). So when we’re receive a task, the first question we ask ourselves is: “how can technology make this task go faster?” Sometimes our efforts to employ technology make things more complicated, but quite often we end up successfully automating a repetitive task, saving ourselves and our companies thousands of dollars.
Reason 3. We get better sleep
Previous generations have lived by Ben Franklin’s aphorism: “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Generational Y intuitively knows what psychologists have confirmed: that a significant percentage of the population is much more productive when they go to bed late and get up late. Simply put, you’re more productive when you follow your biologically determined circadian rhythms and get up when your body tells you to.
Reason 4: We’re much more likely to love our jobs
Since Generation Y switches jobs much more frequently than previous generations, we’re much more likely to be doing things that (1) we’re good at, and (2) we actually like. All the job switching and repositioning we do means we’re much more likely to end up with professions that are actually suited to our passions and talents. And every productivity guru knows you’re most productive when you’re doing things you actually care about.
Reason 5: We stay up to date in our fields
Another upshot of changing jobs so frequently is the need to stay on top of the latest developments in our fields. Because job searching is a somewhat continual process for Generation Y, we’re likely to teach ourselves new skills, or pay for training, even if our employers don’t because we want to stay competitive. We see training and skill-building as our own responsibility — not something that our employer will necessarily do for us. And our lifestyle choices reflect a passion for constant learning and development .
Reason 6: We’re experimental
Generation Y is continually doing research and development at the individual level. And because Generation Y cares more about getting new experiences and learning new skills than about not making mistakes , we’re willing to try new things, be creative, and take new angles. While this experimental approach might not result in quantifiable productivity, it leads to the kind of shifts in thinking that save time and money over the long haul.
Reason 7: We don’t “go through the motions”
We’ve seen our washed up parents work shit jobs they hate, and we won’t go through the motions for the sake of job security. If you’re an old-school boss, then this won’t be comfortable. However, not going through the motions for the sake of going through the motions actually makes us more productive in the long run.
Clay Collins is author of The Alternative Productivity Manifesto, and Quitting Things and Flakiness: The #1 Productivity Anti-Hack. Clay also writes about lifestyle design at Project Liberation.