Ask The Intern: How to be better at time management at work

Dear Danielle, I’m about a month into my international internship with The Intern Group and I’m loving it so far. I truly feel part of the team, and am working on various important tasks that challenge and excite me at the same time. The issue is that I feel a bit overwhelmed, and am struggling to find time to complete everything on my to-do list. Do you have any tips to help with time management at work?– Emma from The Intern Group Dublin

Hi Emma, I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving your internship experience so far! As a fellow international intern myself, I totally understand where you’re coming from. You are not alone in your struggle to grab a handle of your time management at work. In fact, this is an issue that even the most experienced employee will come across. Here are a few tips that help me when I’m struggling with time management at my internship:

 

1. Remember to take a deep breath

It’s easy to get stressed out by looking at the big list of things you need to do, and the little amount of time you have to do them. While a little bit of stress might be good to help you stay focused with an approaching deadline, too much stress will overall impact your productivity in a negative way. Remember to breathe, stretch, or take a little walk if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You’ll come back to your desk in a new, refreshed state of mind.

 

2. Write everything down

The easiest way to get overwhelmed with lack of time management at work is completely forgetting about a task you need to do in the first place. Sometimes we have too much faith in our own memory, convinced that we’ll remember things that we in reality will easily forget. Writing things down will help you to stay on top of it, and will become your number one tool for time management at your internship.

 

time management at work

 

3. Try to break down your big to-do list into smaller ones

Looking at a giant to-do list is anxiety inducing, for sure. It’s hard to wrap your head around where to start, if you don’t have a clear understanding of what needs to be done first. In order to prioritize what you’ve written down, read through your list, then read through it again. Give self-prioritization a shot, and see if you can manage the deadline dates for things you weren’t otherwise given a deadline for. I organize my tasks by day, week, and month.

 

4. Talk to your boss about how to prioritize your tasks

If you aren’t already doing so, I recommend creating a time to regularly check in with your boss. Maybe it’s once a day, or even once a week. If your boss hasn’t already set aside time, take initiative by setting up a meeting with them. Remember that it is okay to ask for help. It’s even better to ask for help once you’ve created the rough draft version of your to-do list with deadlines, because your boss also has their own time management at work to tackle as well. As a result, they might have insight as to which deadlines could be adjusted.

 

time management at work

 

5. Take advantage of time management tools

Creating a place to store your to-do lists and deadlines is crucial for time management success at your internship. Some people prefer the old-school organizational methods of pen and paper. Others would rather store information digitally on an app or website such as Momentum or Timeful. Play around with a couple, figure out which method works best for you, and stick to it.

 

Now you know how to improve your time management at work or at an internship, learn more about how to land an internship abroad.

 

Photos

  1. based on clocks, by Dineshraj GoomanyCC-by-SA 2.0
  2. based on to do, by Nikki BuitendijkCC-by-SA 2.0
  3. based on work, by Hamza ButtCC-by-SA 2.0

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Danielle Ortiz-Geis

Danielle's love for travel and intercultural exchange stemmed from her study abroad experiences in Prague, where she studied in 2012. After graduating from American University in Washington, D.C. she began her career in marketing and international education and has held previous roles at CET Academic Programs as their Marketing Coordinator, AFS Intercultural Programs as a High School Study Abroad Advisor, and Go Overseas as a Content Writer. After receiving her American-Chilean dual citizenship, she moved to Santiago, Chile and is very excited to join The Intern Group's Marketing team. On the weekends you can catch her in the mountains, at a coffeeshop, or exploring a new city by foot with her camera in hand.

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