3 Time Management Tips to Avoid Internship Burnout
When you graduate, you walk down the stage, get your diploma, shake some hands, and then get shipped off to “adulthood.” Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of a diploma, they gave us a 500-page manual on how to be an adult? I say this as a 20-year-old college student who is not only studying 18 credits per semester, but also holding a part-time internship at the same time. And don’t even get me started on taxes! It’s hard out here trying to balance everything.
Throughout this past semester, while interning at TransPerfect, I did learn a lot about the power of time. I discovered that 24 hours are not enough hours in a day, and four cups of coffee will not help me memorize five chapters of financial accounting in one night for my midterm. I also discovered that in order to avoid burning out and stressing out, I needed to have a plan. After watching hours of videos on “How to organize your day” and “How to time manage better,” it became clear that I was going to use those tips and tricks for about a week before becoming overwhelmed and giving up. So, I decided to investigate and see what worked for me in terms of time management. It turns out that you can save so much time by not watching videos about time management.
Find the tool that works for you:
Like everyone else pledging to uphold their New Year’s resolution to “get organized,” I went out and bought one of those fancy planners, but it quickly became an extra item to remember and an extra step in my routine. I realized I needed to keep myself organized with something I already keep with me at all times—my tablet. Switching my paper planner onto my iPad helped a lot. I started getting into the routine of planning out my week every Sunday, adding my classes and what times I would be in class, and doing the same for work. For the hours I would be free, I filled them in with homework time, grocery shopping time, or going out to eat with a friend.
I started to realize I was more organized without having to massively overhaul my daily routine. When a friend asked me out for lunch, I found myself saying to her, “Hold on, let me check my schedule and see if I have time today.” I knew then that I had found the time management strategy that worked for me. My response also boosted my confidence, because it showed how I had my life planned and was not a mess.
Avoid only blocking off time for meetings:
My digital planner would look a lot neater if there were empty spaces, but I quickly realized that any gaps in my schedule gave me the excuse to play on my phone or avoid follow-up work from classes and my internship. I needed to set aside time in my day to get projects and coursework done or I wouldn’t remember to do them. I also needed to plan out important errands, doctor appointments, and time with friends. If I wanted to stay organized, I needed to know when I had time to focus.
Scheduling time for homework actually made it go faster, especially if there was something planned afterward. I found that blocking out time helped me find more hours in the day because writing a short essay only took an hour or two when I didn’t have distractions. I didn’t need to spend an entire evening cramming for a test when regular study blocks were built into my day—and I retained the information better.
Make time for yourself:
Organizing my time quickly became a form of self-care, and it allowed me to tune into what I needed. I was able to eat regularly because I wasn’t constantly running late or stuck in back-to-back meetings without a snack. I was able to plan out time to enjoy my life as a college student and find time to relax, explore New York City, and even sleep. While it is tempting to account for every minute of your day, it is also important to take some time out and be human.
What I’ve learned is that time management is not something that you can learn; you have to adapt your schedule according to what makes you feel most comfortable. Once you find a routine, stick to it, and soon enough it will become muscle memory.
If you are interested in becoming an intern with TransPerfect, please email CareersNotJobs@transperfect.com to learn more about our application process or check out transperfect.com/careers for posted openings.