Striking the balance between working hard at your internship abroad and living up the international experience can be tricky. The key is knowing how to appropriately manage your time and energy as a business intern so that you can make the most of both work and life abroad. These 10 tips for interns are a great guide for managing your work-life balance, as you try to see all the sights and impress your international coworkers at the same time.
1. Get in early to avoid staying late
If you really want to be on top of your work and show how dedicated you are to your position as a business intern, try getting to work a little bit early rather than working through lunch or staying late. That way you can enjoy lunch with coworkers and focus on something fun and cultural in the city immediately after your work day is done.
2. Get your rest
If you’re not getting the rest you need, you won’t be mentally able to use your time effectively in an office setting, or do a good job for that matter. Recognize that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and take that into consideration next time you’re trying to decide whether to watch another episode of Netflix.
3. Don’t waste time on the internet or social media
Buzzfeed, Facebook, Instagram and all the other fun websites and apps that you love are actually really bad for you if you want to make the most of your day. They’re stealing precious time you could be using either working or embarking on explorations abroad. When you’re home, you can sit on Facebook for a week. Until then, shut it down.
4. Prioritize the places you want to see while you’re abroad
After doing a little research on the places you know you can’t leave without seeing, make a list. Then hang the list somewhere you can always see it and take it into consideration before every weekend. Which places will you tick off the list this week? Which places are more important to see than others? Even if you have to go alone to see them, make what you want to do and see a priority.
5. Wake up and take advantage of weekend mornings
Sleeping in feels so good! But it’s such a waste of time. Think about the places on your list (see above) that you could be seeing if you weren’t in bed pressing the snooze button! If you must sleep in once a week, pick either Sunday or Saturday. There’s too much abroad to explore to waste your time sleeping.
6. Realize that it’s normal to underestimate how long something will take and plan accordingly
In general we tend to think tasks will take us less time than they actually will take. Of course, in a new office, in a foreign country, getting things done will likely take even longer. Just have patience and try to give yourself plenty of time to finish something – if your boss asks you how long you need, say more more than you anticipate.
7. Avoid multitasking, it’s a waste of time
Sending an email, reading an article and talking to your coworker all at the same time is not a good use of your time, even though it feels like you’re doing three things at once. What happens is that multitasking actually wastes more time than it saves and all the tasks done while multitasking are done at a lower quality. Not cool.
8. Prioritize your work
Much like you need to prioritize how to spend your free time, work time also needs to be prioritized. Learn what tasks are the most important to get done for the day and which ones can be left for tomorrow. That way you can really focus on what’s most important and get it done as quickly and as skilfully as possible.
9. Make goals for the end of your day
Knowing what you want to get done for the day is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on task. Try to include the things that are really necessary. Then if you get anything extra finished, it’s a bonus.
10. Avoid distractions
Shut off music, avoid working in spaces where there is lots of conversation and put your phone away and on silent in order to stay “in the zone” at work and use your time wisely.