I was intrigued by Laura's post about "millennial burnout" and "errand paralysis", particularly the different viewpoints in the comments. I did roll my eyes a bit reading the actual article, and may have uttered "Oh COME ON!" more than once. But, the fact that I'm still thinking about a week later does argue that the topic is important and almost universally relatable.
Of course doing errands is annoying and easy to put off, sometimes for long enough that you actually have to pay some consequences. But I don't think its related to "burnout" nor is it completely generational. I'm not a millennial, and I've certainly ignored returning something for too long, and I once threw out a pair of shoes because taking them to get the heel fixed was beyond my abilities at the time.
I have definitely dropped the ball on errands when my energy is majorly focused on something else....either external (a work deadline or family health issue), or internal (anxiety/depression). I suspect this is what the original article was referring to---just not having the bandwidth for ONE MORE THING no matter how trivial it seems.
But there may be more to it, in that people sometimes act like they just shouldn't have to do these trivial things. Is it the privilege/entitlement that waiting in the line at the post office is beneath their station and pay grade? Or some societal mindset shift that's come from years of reading advice about how to pick your priorities! own your time! craft your best life! No one would imagine a perfectly crafted life with every chunk of time devoted to your life's priorities would involve returning an ill-fitting shirt to the Gap or going in person to pick up a guest parking tag.
And then there is the fact that when many tasks can be easily checked off by a few clicks on your phone in the comfort of your living room anytime of day or night, having to actually GO SOMEWHERE at a CERTAIN TIME to do things seems antiquated and frustrating. I definitely feel it, and I remember the days of calling the airline to book a plane ticket and then having to bring the actual thing with you to the airport. I imagine younger generations feel it even more acutely---in this day and age, the idea of having to arrange your day around a mindless necessity can make you annoyed enough to completely refuse, if you let it.
Yet, somehow, I have almost always managed to get my sh&t done over these years. I have a few different approaches:
-Outsource. I know you can probably hire a personal assistant (long term or even as a one-off to take care of those nagging tasks), but I haven't needed to this. I choose home delivery when I can (even our pharmacy offers it now, for a small fee!) or swap favors with friends (I'm bringing a bunch of weird recycling stuff to a friend tonight who is going to the one health food store in town that takes them).
-Avoid it. If you really don't want to do it, you could probably avoid it. I HATED taking stuff to dry clean so I rarely buy dry clean only clothing. I also try to buy clothes from stores that have a local brick-and-morter so I don't have to mail the returns back because the post office/UPS/FedEx are all kind of far away. I know people who don't shop online at all because they don't want to deal with the returns.
-Batch it. I tend to online shop at several stores at once, so I can do all needed returns together, for example. Twice a month I take B to social skills therapy right in the middle of the city and I pack up any returns, library books, etc... to deal with while he's in the group and its amazing how much I can cross off the list in 45 minutes when I'm already in the area.
-Spread it out. Or the opposite, I just pick one thing to do every week so I'm not overwhelmed, and put it in my planner on a less-busy day and just...do it.
-Find a friend. Its always more fun and less painful to have a companion during these boring stints. I used to do this in med school, after our block exams were done, 2-3 of us would just go with each other to get our stuff done and have lunch. I remember more recently going to the DMV with a friend, and G and I went together once and got breakfast after. Now that my kids are older, I may even drag one along (with the promise of a treat afterwards) to morph the "boring errand" into "family time" (though often I prefer the "me time"
-Remember its a choice. The errands are usually brought about by something you decided and wanted to do or something you value. If you are going to the post office, you are likely sending something to someone, maybe a nice gift that'll make them happy? I don't want to spend $ and closet space on clothes that don't fit, so I return the rejects. Pant hems dragging on the ground are gross and possibly unsafe. I need a valid license and ID to fly and drive and buy booze...etc...