As the school year comes to a close, and we head into the world of summer internships, what we stress about shifts. Can you successfully do your summer internship and still have enough time for fun and sleep? With some planning and effective time management, you can have a productive and stress-free summer internship experience. Here are 10 things you can do to take control of your time—and your life this summer.
1. Make a List
Whether you are working remotely or on site, lists help. Jot down everything you have to do each day and each week. Next, prioritize tasks. What projects or assignments are due this week? Start with the most urgent or time-consuming at the top of your list and get them over with early if possible. That will leave you time to revisit any tasks that need a second look.
2. Pay Attention to Your Energy Levels
Do you work best first thing in the morning or late afternoon? Depending on your employer and type of work, you may have the flexibility to start earlier or later (as long as you still meet deadlines, of course). Once you figure out when your productivity levels are at their highest, use that time to tackle work. Remember to take regular breaks so you don’t burn out.
3. Have a Designated Workspace
Working from home can be tough, especially if you live in a household with other people who are also working. Having your own workspace that is completely yours with no interruptions can be a real game changer in helping you to stay focused on your internship responsibilities.
4. Make (and keep!) a Schedule
Plan out your week ahead of time. Do you have a lot of Zoom meetings? If so, block out those times first and schedule work hours around them. Having a set schedule can create a sense of normalcy in a virtual internship.
5. Stay Focused
Whatever the task, stay in the moment and focus on completing it. If you get distracted or can’t concentrate, find out why. Is the overwhelming amount of technology distracting you? Try placing your phone out of reach and putting locks on your browser to avoid going onto websites that are unrelated to your internship. If you can’t seem to make any progress, move on to the next item on your list. Revisit the problematic task when you have a clear mind-set.
6. Set Boundaries
Working remotely for your summer internship doesn’t mean you can move your schedule around to accommodate your social life. Be honest with yourself and those around you. Do you have enough time to complete your work and socialize with your friends? Let them know you have set work hours and can plan around that. Prioritizing and completing the tasks that absolutely have to get done that day can allow for extra personal time, so make sure you allot for that.
7. Look Ahead
Set aside a few minutes each day, either in the morning or the night before, to review what you have going on the next day. Reschedule activities based on any changes or unexpected work tasks. Take some time on the weekend to plan for the week ahead.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for both your physical and mental health. According to the Sleep Foundation, teens and young adults who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep face the risks of decreased attention, impaired memory, poor-decision making and more. Getting enough sleep, on the other hand, keeps you sharp and focused on the job.
Try to get in some daily physical activity – especially to break up long periods of sitting at a computer. Take a brisk walk to clear your mind.
10. Monitor Yourself
Review your progress each week to see what works and what doesn’t. Remember, what worked for you one week may not work the next. The virtual world we live in has increased and will continue to stay with us in the workforce.
We live in an ever-changing world that has shifted substantially toward remote work. Not every week is going to be the same, and that’s okay. Think about what you can change. Maybe you need to drop some activities or set aside more time for yourself to prevent burnout. Have some leftover time on your hands? That’s for you, so do something you love!