One of the most difficult aspects of working at an internship, especially if it’s your first, is the fact that you have to filter out a myriad of distractions that incessantly threaten your focus. Luckily for many of us, 80% to 90% of these distractions stem from the mother of all Catch-22s, our computers. Social networking sites, video portals, and bookmarking services are the bane of any curious intern’s concentration. It’s important to come to terms with and get a grip on our weakness and take some preparatory measures.
Keep track of your daily activities– Whenever you hop off the task you’re currently working on to check out a status update, drill down a tweet, or follow a link in an email, take a note of how long you spend doing so. There are time management applications such as RescueTime or TimeSnapper that keep a record of your computer activity and allow you to track just how much time you are wasting.
When knowing isn’t enough- If knowing that you’re wasting 1.5 to 2 hours on Facebook on a daily basis isn’t enough to motivate a change, consider a url blocker that keeps you from visiting those sites during certain hours. CNet offers a wide variety of blockers meant for protecting kids from exposed genitalia which can handily be applied to blocking the sites that suck up most of your productive day.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize- Last but quite the opposite of least, make sure you prioritize any task that is assigned to you and make sure that you move through your prioritized list in an organized, logical way. It can be a real pain for those of us used to doing things on the fly, but will utimately help you avoid embarassing incidents of forgotting an important task or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Getting used to a working routine can take a lot of time, and sometimes takes several internships to fully grasp. Don’t beat yourself and focus on what’s important: you’re there to learn. The rest will come on its own, or I will stumble across the same situation and blog about it. Good day.