Balancing work and fun

After the first week of work, I am starting to adjust to the schedule here in Madrid. For any job, the first week can be the hardest and most stressful. In this case, it was no different. As this is my first official internship experience, and it being in a language that I’m still currently learning, it was a little overwhelming at first. I expect, however, that my ability to understand both the language and the job tasks will increase as time goes on. My supervisor is very nice and completely understands my circumstances. She has been extremely comforting and supportive so far. She is bilingual in Spanish and English, which is extremely helpful whenever I need specific clarification on things that I don’t understand in Spanish (which is a lot!!).

So far in my position, I have started out lightly and have not run into many issues with time management. However, I know that as the weeks go on, I will be given more tasks and will need to have good time management skills in order to be successful. I want to be able to work around 30-35 hours a week and focus on fun activities, not work-related ones, outside of those hours. There are several ways I can achieve this: 

The first step to having good time management, and one that I utilize in college with all my classes each semester, is making a schedule for the week. I will write down every single task/event that I know I will have to complete by the end of the week. This is important because as an intern, I know I will probably have some random tasks that come up, and I want to have time for those unexpected occurrences. That’s why it’s important for me to get all my planned-out activities done in a timely manner to have some wiggle room. 

Another way I will manage my time at my internship is by eliminating distractions. At college, I am often bad at this when doing homework or studying, but I know that being in an office environment, constantly surrounded by coworkers, will prevent me from wasting time on my phone or anything else. Another way of doing this is by working alongside people that I know are productive. That will force me to be productive as well, and collaborating with them, which I know I will be doing much of in my position, will also help me eliminate distractions. 

Another important aspect of time management is taking quick breaks throughout the workday. I do this at college while studying a lot of information or completing long and tedious assignments, and I will apply it to my internship as well. I believe this is especially important in the case of the IIP because there is just so much information going on. Between learning new work techniques and interacting with coworkers in Spanish for several hours a day, it is imperative that I take breaks to avoid drainage and exhaustion. I find that taking short breaks is a great way of increasing my energy and keeping me focused.

A final technique I will use for time management is having fun and doing activities that are beneficial to me outside of work. Spending time with my host family and friends is the best way of taking my mind off of work. Other things like eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are crucial for success at my job. All these activities will energize me and motivate me to work harder during the work week. Focusing on outside activities and ignoring work activities outside of the regular weekly schedule is an important way of avoiding exhaustion.  

I am excited to really dive into my internship experience, now that the beginning components are out of the way. I hope that my job is where I will really start to learn the language, and from a different perspective, as it will be more formal and professional than the interactions I have with my host family. I look forward to starting fully in the office soon because remote working, which I am forced to do a little of now, is not nearly as beneficial. I am looking forward to what this next week brings. 

Hasta la próxima!