The IRTS Foundation spares no resource when it comes to the success of its fellows. From informational interviews to panel discussions, there is an abundance of knowledge about the industry at our fingertips -- yet there are only five days in the work week. Once you find your groove in your internship the next step is balancing it with the fellowship and your social life. At first, it may feel overwhelming -- but trust me, your entire cohort feels the same way.
A stable work/life balance is what everyone is after. It’s the oldest concept in the work world. While some believe it is a myth. Others say it is a matter of wills and wonts. For example, at this time I will be available and at this time I won’t. Consistency is the key with this method because pushing back time can lead to a slippery slope. The integration of a hybrid and online model in the workplace has helped in some aspect. It is easier to leave the mindset of work when all you have to do is close the computer. On the other hand, working from home already blurs the line between comfort and corporate. One minute you're sending emails, and the next you're watching TV.
In your case, there may be instances when you have an informational interview at 2:15, a company meeting at 3:00, then turn around and have a fellowship presentation at 5:30 (yes, I am speaking from experience). When they start to blend, your calendar will be your lifeline. Having a digital and even a physical copy of your obligations ensures that you are reminded of what the day holds and can prepare for it. If there is a day where you are overrun with meetings, try to get your work done beforehand or tackle it on the day when you barely have meetings.
Sometimes there will be time in between the meetings to crank things out, but those times should really be used to give yourself a breather. To avoid being bombarded try to select a time each day or every other day to dedicate to informational interviews. Of course, it will depend on the availability of the interviewee, but around lunchtime is when many people are available and willing to talk.
The life balance we seek involves the ratio between productivity and relaxation. Essentially, how much relaxing time you have where you can completely detach from work is based on how much work you completed. This is measured by setting goals. At the beginning of the week write out what assignments you want to do each day. The assignments can range from setting up informational interviews to typing up written notes that were taken in a meeting.
By taking each assignment one at a time your time becomes easier to manage. Throughout the week as assignments arrive, sort them in terms of urgency. This allows you to maintain the one-at-a-time approach. By the end of the day, what you set out to complete should be completed. This gives you an opportunity to completely clock out. This is where work ends, and life begins.
At the end of your workday, when the fellowship panels are over, and the internship has signed off, you now have time to cater to your social life. When the time hits for you to clock out, do it. You may feel like all you want to do is sleep and that's fine. Take a nap (30 minutes is the right amount for a power nap) and then make plans with your friends or do some self-care. Get into a routine of having something to look forward to at the end of your workday because it will motivate you to get through the day.
The key is knowing when to walk away.
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