6 Tips to Stay Productive During a Virtual Internship

By Chelsea Jackson on February 17, 2017

Ultimately, remote internships provide students with a great amount of freedom and relaxation. After all, going to work every day can become a draining experience, especially when you are a student who might not have a car on campus (or at all). Throughout the years, remote internships have revolutionized the way students can gain work experience and learn new skills. Although remote internships are mostly beneficial, there are some learning curves associated with virtual internships.

The freedom to work on your own schedule from the convenience of your apartment can provide students with the opportunity to work between courses; however, it can constitute an unhealthy amount of procrastination, notably for students who are inexperienced with virtual work. Fortunately, you can overcome procrastinate by remaining motivated and productive. Beyond organizing your desk and office space, there are a lot of other reasons why you may not be working as efficiently as possible. Thankfully, there are several tips to help you stay productive during your remote internship.

1. Make To-Do Lists And Stick To Them

via giphy.com

Writing daily to-do lists are a great way to organize your tasks. However, it’s important to set reasonable goals for yourself in your to-do lists. For example instead of jotting down, “Write the 32-page annual report,” make a bullet point that says, “write 5 pages of the annual report”.

Obviously, if said annual report is due in two days, you should probably increase the page numbers on that daily goal. With that being said, it is important to create a hierarchy of importance for these tasks, so you can prioritize impending deadlines.

2. Step Away From The Phone

NBC via nbc.com

Placing your phone in another room of your house or apartment, or turning it off entirely will help limit distractions while you’re working. While this technique will deter you from texting during your working hours, it will not entirely protect your from using social media. Social media is a tempting recreation, especially when the majority of remote work requires the use of a computer and internet. Thankfully, there are helpful applications and websites that can temporarily block access to your social media accounts, to avert your prying eyes.

Granted if your remote internship requires you to use social media, by all means use it!

3. Create A Routine

Nickelodeon via tumblr.com

Creating a consistent routine of when you will work is vital to maintaining productivity. It is also important that you don’t follow the routine of other successful people if it does not work for you. Take the time to learn when you are most inspired and productive. I will emphasize that you choose a time of day when you gather the most inspiration, because if you are not inspired then you could compromise the chance to create some of your greatest projects.

Regardless, make sure you listen to your body. If you’re groggy early in the morning, then don’t force yourself to work in the morning. However, if the fruitfulness of your work happens between 11AM and 2PM, wake up a few hours prior to eleven in the morning. After all, preparing for your workday, even when you work from home, is just as important as working itself.

Rising before you “clock in” will give you some time to process your thoughts, eat some breakfast (or second breakfast, or brunch, or whatever meal you see fit), and have some time to relax and run through your to-do list. Curating a proper pre-work routine is essential, because it can make you feel less anxious and rushed when you do sit down to do your work.

While routines could monetize your work life, it helps you create some necessary structure in your virtual internship.

4. Soothing Sounds

Fox via tumblr.com

Adding some background noise to your routine can help you stay interested in your work. While songs with vocals can distract you from your duties, ambient noises can help fill a work space that is just too quiet. If you live in a relatively silent apartment or you need a specific type of atmospheric music, there is a website that can come to your aid.

Because we are all different, you may need some vocals to assist your work. Opening a tab on your computer to play a television series or a movie can help you get into your groove. Videography can be a disturbance, so it is important that you choose either a movie you have no interest in or a television series that you have seen multiple times, to the point that you can reiterate every line. Regardless of your choice in background noise, this technique will aid you to stick to your schedule.

5. Some Fluffy Distractions

via tumblr.com

Whether your canine or feline is a trained emotional support animal or not, there is a strong argument that animals can make you happier and more relaxed, which gives you the perfect opportunity to forget about your remote internship for a bit or digest your daily assignments. Even if you do not have a furry creature of your own, you can easily stop by an animal shelter and play with an adorable puppy for an hour or two…or three.

If furry and feathered friends aren’t what you had in mind for companionship, pet stores welcome customers and volunteers to hold their scaly critters. Snakes and lizards alike need to be held regularly, especially at a young age. Pet stores, shelters, and humane societies often do not have enough staff and volunteers to ensure that their reptiles are handled on a daily basis, so they will gladly allow you to stop by and cozy up to their reptiles.

Being a mother to a beautiful jungle carpet python named Bumblebee, I can attest that snakes can relieve stress. When handled often and correctly, snakes and lizards can sit on your desk, or in the pocket of your hoodie, to give you some silent support. Who knows, maybe your bearded dragon will stare at you grudgingly until you are pressured into working.

6. Talk To Someone Supportive

NBC via wifflegif.com

While most people trust in their friends and families as their support systems, it should be noted that you have another great support network; and it’s your coworkers. Other remote interns know what you’re going through and they can help give you some refreshing ideas on your work-related assignments. Who knows you might have some resolutions to their work woes, too.

Regardless of how you choose to stay productive during a remote internship, it is important that you remember that there are tens of thousands of other interns who are also working virtually. The reminder alone should reassure you that there is a gigantic support system at your disposal, regardless of where in the world you are.

With this in mind, keep interning, stay productive, and be successful.

I live in Iowa now, but I was born and raised in Florida. When I'm not writing, I'm probably drawing or cooking.

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