Sneak Peak: Time management is an important part of working with the Digital Media Engagement team. These are my five tips, based on my experience as an intern, for how to get tasks done and still have time for school, a job and other commitments.
When I first started with the Digital Media Engagement’s (DME) Writing department in August 2019, I was committing myself on an already busy schedule. As a graduate student with two part-time jobs, I needed to be strict in how I managed my time with the internship and the amount of work I could get done each day. The idea of 10 hours per week seemed daunting at first. But I was able to successfully set up a workflow and continue to use these tips in my duties as co-Department Head.
Here are the five tips I use to manage my time while getting things done each week!
1.) Be realistic about your commitments
When I began with my department, I decided to dedicate at least two hours in my day to writing. I would work five days out of the week from 10 am to 12pm and try to get as much work done within that period as possible. This allowed me to build up to ten without having to leave it all until right before reports. I would have at least eight hours already by Monday and still have time on Tuesday or Wednesday. But this may not be doable for you, so be realistic about how much time you can allocate for the internship and make sure it fits your other commitments.
2.) Keep reminders close at hand
I use Google Calendar for almost everything, and this internship is no different. I created a specific calendar for VA work, scheduled in time to do writing projects and made sure it appeared every day except for my rest days. So, whenever I check my phone or look at my computer, the reminder to do work is there. You can also set up a reminder on your phone or other calendar platforms if you do not use Google Calendar.
3.) Don’t focus too much on a particular part of your duties
Part of writing Veteran of the Day (VOD) stories is that you must do a lot of research to make sure that you have enough material for a writeup. But that should not take up a lot of your time because then it distracts you from writing! I always tell writing interns to devote no more than two hours towards research each day because they will not be able to get the writing done otherwise. So, make sure your work time is not focused on just one aspect of the workflow
4.) Set yourself up to work ahead
The writing department uses a template to write VODs. To fulfill blog publishing requirements, we need to have certain parts, like tags or a date to publish the card on, filled out. If I had a certain basic idea about the Veteran’s story, I would immediately set up a document for them and fill out as much of the template as I could. That way, I could focus on the writing portion, which requires more thought. If you can set yourself up so that part of the work is already done, that saves you time!
5.) Take time off (but get stuff done too)!
You may be wondering how this counts as time management, but it does! We all need time to relax, and this will help with stress. Even with the internship’s 10-hour requirement, I decided not to do intern work one or two days a week to give myself time to rest and focus on other affairs. This is entirely possible during this internship if you ensure that on those other days, you get enough of your tasks done. I usually took off Thursdays since that was report day and the clock reset for that week.
With this internship being virtual, it can be easy to lose yourself in the work and struggle to get it all done on time. But hopefully, these tips will help ensure future productive and streamlined time management!
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editor: Julia Pack
Secondary Editor: Christine Myers
Graphic Designer: Mohogany Bridges