Virtual internships are great, especially if you’re a student who lives on campus with limited transportation or in a small city. These remote internships provide freedom to work around your busy schedule instead of going into work every day, and give you more opportunities for positions you may not be able to find where you live. But with this type of internship, it can be very hard to stay productive, and easy to become distracted. Here are eight ways to avoid distractions and stay on top of your responsibilities, even from your living room.
1. Create a routine.
If you already have a normal school and life schedule that you stick to, then it shouldn’t be difficult to add time for your internship. But if you don’t have a normal schedule already, no problem. Combine your class schedule and other responsibilities together. Then determine when you want to be working on your internship duties. Choose a time frame where you know you won’t be too tired or have other distractions. Creating a routine helps to keep everything on track and can make your life feel more organized.
2. Get ready for work.
It may seem silly, but getting up and getting dressed can help put you in the mindset needed to perform at your job. Whether you’re sitting on your bed, or lounging on the couch, going through the same routine you would if you’re going to the office can help. It also makes for an easier transition to the library or a coffee shop if you need a change of scenery mid-day.
3. Make a to-do list.
To help you stay on top of your internship, make a to-do list. Come up with things that need to be done now and later. If you’re working on an ongoing project, make sure to work on it a little each day along with the smaller tasks on your list. Balance out your tasks and don’t try to do everything at once. Be patient and thorough, and take advantage of the flexibility of working from home!
4. Be timely.
If you receive an email from your boss, don’t wait until your schedule says it’s time for work. When working virtually, it’s easy to ignore messages, calls, or emails. But it is also important to stay up-to-date and meet your deadlines. Use your calendar to keep track of this. Being responsive demonstrates dedication and will come in handy when looking for letters of recommendation.
5. Turn off your phone.
Your phone is probably the number one distraction that you could have. Let your friends and family know you won’t be answering calls and texts when you’re working. Remember that just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t take the work seriously. Unless you have to use your phone for work, avoid social media and answering texts. Putting your phone on do not disturb or in airplane mode can help reduce distractions.
6. Turn off the television.
While some people prefer to have the television on while they work, it can serve as a big distraction. Say your favorite part in a show comes on and you decide to turn the volume up for a few minutes. Well, that few minutes can easily turn into an hour you just wasted. While you’re working, turn off the television and stay focused on what’s at hand. It’s very easy to get (and stay) distracted, so prevent it before it starts!
7. Play music.
If you want some background noise, try playing music. Sometimes a little background noise can help you stay focused (as long as it’s not distracting!). If you’re one of those people, play some soft music to listen to while you work. Try listening to ambient music to help keep you focused and interested in what you’re doing.
8. Remove yourself from distractions.
If you have a remote internship while you’re living in a dorm, distractions can come from anywhere. Choose a place where you know it won’t be as loud or distracting. Try a lounge or the library where you can keep to yourself and really concentrate. If you must work in your room, politely ask your neighbor or roommates to keep it down.
9. Ask for advice.
Finally, ask for advice from your coworkers. At some companies, everyone works remotely, and chances are if your internship is virtual that at least a few people at the company work from home occasionally. Those with a track record of successfully working from home can offer up some great tips on how to help you succeed.