Eight Tips to Be the Most Productive Intern

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Don’t worry, you’ve done the hard part already. Gone are the endless days of applications, interviews, and pining after that dream internship. Now you’re an intern at the bottom of the totem pole and hopefully only making minimal coffee runs. Whatever your internship may be, you are in the midst of a great opportunity to learn and advance your career.

In honor of World Productivity Day on June 20, here are eight tips to boost your productivity at work and to make the most out of your time as an intern.

1. Jot EVERYTHING down

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Even if you consider yourself an absorbent sponge of information, it doesn’t hurt to carry a notebook and jot down notes from your supervisor. When you have to remember something important, you won’t need to waste time racking your brain, but can open up your handy notes instead! Invest in a quality notebook or two and always keep them handy throughout the day for easy access.

2. Jump-start your day early

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Set your morning alarm earlier than you usually would and swing by the office for a “power hour” of productivity. Perhaps you’ll avoid the 9:00 AM traffic jams outside or the busy hustle of employees through the office halls. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, this extra time in the morning can be a blessing, a chance to knock out a few tasks, tame your inbox, and feel less rushed throughout the day.

3. Utilize to-do lists

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Maybe you don’t have sports practice, debate team, or SPCA volunteering penciled in to your busy schedule like you did in college, but keeping a planner or to-do list can be helpful to keep track of your daily and weekly assignments as an intern. Jane Wang, FCB Health Media Intern, says that time management is the key to becoming more productive. You will be thankful that you have everything scheduled neatly once your tasks and weekly meetings start to pile up.

4. Take regular breaks

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Here’s something that may sound counterintuitive: Increase your performance at work by taking breaks. Studies have shown that breaks can help increase attention span as well as prevent fatigue and eyestrain from hunching over your computer all day long. Everyone needs some time to relax in the midst of copywriting, creative work, and sending e-mails. Use your lunch breaks to recharge with a yummy meal, chat with your cubicle buddies, and maybe catch a half-hour episode of your favorite show on Hulu.

5. Meet everyone you can 

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You’re an intern in an office filled with industry professionals. What more could you ask for? Start by saying “hello” to people in the hallways, and always make sure to introduce yourself. Afterwards, see if anyone you’ve met wants to grab coffee over the next week. People generally like to talk about themselves, so ask what their experience at the company has been like so far. The connections you make at your internship can not only keep you busy at work today, but also land you your dream job five years down the line. Remember to stay connected with everyone you meet (and add them on LinkedIn)!

6. Eat snacks

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Don’t go hungry during your internship; snack on some healthy treats for extra energy and brain power. Skip the high fat chips or sugary sweets that can make you feel sluggish and grab something quick for the office like almonds (a handful is rich in vitamin E, calcium, and potassium), fresh or dried fruits (naturally sweet and also strengthen your immune system), or carrots with hummus (which has protein, calcium, iron, AND can improve your eyesight).

7. Ask for help

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Try to avoid being the intern who refreshes their Outlook inbox every five seconds waiting for something to do. Ask your supervisor or any other people in your department if there are extra assignments that need to be done, or if you have any questions on tasks that you are unsure of how to accomplish. Additionally, it doesn’t matter what field you are in, travel around the office to see who needs a helping hand or even a fresh pair of eyes. Just remember, you could end up with some great opportunities and the worst thing anyone could ever say is “no.”

8. Keep your eyes and ears open

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Now that you’ve started your internship, be alert for anything you hear around the office for opportunities to shadow other employees, learn more about the industry, and maybe grab some advice from those higher up. “We’re here to learn and it’s good to take your headphones off once in a while to hear the things going on around you in your department and throughout the office,” said Matthew Kipnis, Corporate Communications Intern at FCB.