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Millennial Minute: Putting the Ladder on the Roomba

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Pictured: an image of me planning my day, probably

Here are some things you need to know about me: 1) I enjoy a mean bow tie, 2) I have a love affair with lists and schedules, and 3) I employ a number of colorful comparisons in my everyday life.

One of my favorite phases is, “He’s trying to change a lightbulb by putting a ladder on a Roomba.” Ridiculous? Yes. Unlikely? Yes. Does it, however, conjure up the perfect image of inefficiency running rampant? Absolutely (or at least, I think so!).

I think we’re all guilty of putting the ladder on the Roomba, whether we’d like to admit it or not. I’ll be the first to own it: Hello, my name is Kato, and I am historically proficient at tripping over my own laces, both figuratively and literally.

In my first entry, I gave you a taste in how Millennials like myself are destroying quite literally everything. This time around, I would like to extoll a virtue that the majority of Millennials possess: we might not know everything, but boy, do we know how to fake it. By “fake it,” I mean, “I know how to employ a number of resources to assist me in succeeding.” I like it when people assume I am a wizard and that things happen because I will them to--but I promise there is a lot more going on behind the curtain in Oz than just flying monkeys.

Here are some ways that I step off the Roomba-bound ladder on a daily basis:

  1. Lists, lists, lists: at the risk of sounding like a character straight out of Memento, I make many lists. In high school and into college I used to write these lists on any available surface, which meant my hands and arms were often covered with school assignments. I would also like to report that the success rate of notes written on your hands and arms is about as high as you would think (so about 20%). Thankfully, I am adult now, so these lists have found more productive places to live, like on lime green sticky notes and pocket sized notebooks, and I update and cross off these lists as my tasks shift. If you find your schedule rotates a little more than mine does, I would encourage you to invest in a whiteboard instead to keep things organized and legible.

  2. Taco Tuesday (also Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday): Sorry everyone, not that kind of taco. Taco is the mascot of Trello, and Trello has been an absolute godsend in my professional life. If you are like me and thrive off list making – this is going to interject some visual organization into your life. Here is a sample board:

Each board is made up of lists, and the lists are made up of cards. For me, each of those customizable cards is a different task that needs to be accomplished. I can set due dates for items that allow me to see when certain tasks need to be completed – these items will change color as the date draws nearer, giving me a visual reminder to kindly get my act together. If a task I have been assigned has multiple layers, I can add a checklist to that specific task and check items off as I progress.

  1. Triage your inbox: Treat your email inbox like a to-do list. I start my week by reviewing the emails in my inbox and building a loose schedule for both my day and week. As I finish the tasks assigned via email, I file them into their appropriate email folders. I wish there were a way to dress it up as more exciting than it is, but even at LMC we experience mundane things.

  2. Fake it ‘til you make it: Or more accurately, fake it until you know it. There is significantly less stigma among millennials to search for the things we do not know how to do. I am not saying to completely fake your skill set by relying on Google, but there is no harm in using Google and YouTube to help you learn. For example, I pride myself on my Excel knowledge, but there are still things I need to learn. While working on a series of reports I complete quarterly, I realized that a PivotTable might be able to assist me, but I had no clue how to use them. Without PivotTables these reports take me several days to complete, but it was going to take me less than an hour to learn PivotTables, so I did just that. The way I had been doing things before was absolutely a ladder on a Roomba at its finest, but it is a reminder that it is always worth seeing if there is a more efficient and accurate way to complete a task – whether you’ve completed that task 5 times or 50 times.

Now for the audience participation part: what are some ways you find yourself putting a ladder on a Roomba, and what are some solutions you have found to increase productivity in the workplace?

Keep an eye out for the next Millennial Minute where we discuss my favorite topic as a 28-year-old male: fidget toys, why I need exactly 427 of them (please and thank you), and the role they’ve played in my office productivity.

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