“Beyoncé got involved in youth voter registration — you could sign up at her concerts — because apparently, without the world’s most famous pop star yelling at us, millennials cannot fill out a life-defining form”
Millennials are awful, obviously: shiftless smartphone addicts and solipsistic self-carers forever blaming baby boomers for ruining their lives. Now there’s a new thing to add to the list of our defects: errand paralysis. The term was coined on millennial website BuzzFeed earlier this year, referring to our inability to perform mundane chores such as returning parcels or answering emails due to the burnout associated with simply being alive.
I read about errand paralysis one afternoon when I was meant to be replacing a defunct light bulb. Later, I had a blazing row with my fiancé which culminated in him flinging across the room the binbag of dresses I meant to donate to Oxfam last autumn. The sack disintegrated with age.
It’s not just minor tasks: millennial proclivity for procrastination means crucial errands are cut and pasted into tomorrow’s to-do list ad infinitum. “Register to vote”, for example. While the 65 per cent of 18-35-year-olds who voted in the Brexit referendum was better than expected, it was nowhere near the 90 per cent turnout of the over-65s. In the US midterms last November, Beyoncé got involved in youth voter registration — you could sign up at her concerts — because apparently, without the world’s most famous pop star yelling at us, millennials cannot fill out a life-defining form.
It’s not our fault we can’t deal with life’s flotsam. Thanks to the appification of life, we don’t need to wash clothes (use Laundrapp) or buy groceries (use Ocado). We’re too technologically advanced for the boring stuff our parents wasted their lives with. So when it comes to tasks that actually need completing manually, we procrastinate.
But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Actually, procrastination is crucial to the creative process, as an American study — Soon by Andrew Santella — suggested last year. Mozart finished writing Don Giovanni only moments before its inaugural performance (the ink was said to be still wet on the music sheets) while I would rather write a 3,000-word feature than fill in my tax return or apply for a new job than visit my GP. True geniuses don’t have time to buy binliners. And when you do finally post that letter, the high of completing a task now mentally inflated to Everest-size is incomparable: a euphoria no diligent errand-completer can know.
Best of all? Put a task off long enough and often it just . . . goes away. A dripping tap disappears when you move house; the cyclical nature of fashion means tat destined for the charity shop becomes chic again. Spouses buy the bloody lightbulb themselves. Procrastination wins.