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3 Ways to Balance an Internship with Schoolwork like a Boss Aka Badass

July 11, 2023


Schoolwork can be hard. You’re a student. We know you’re busy with attending four advanced classes. You’re a member of sports and extracurricular clubs. You have homework to finish and friends to meet too. On top of all of this, you have made the wise decision of interning and gaining some great experience. 

You want to strengthen your chances in the labor market for the future by understanding your field better, and that’s fantastic! But, you still want to, and need to, ace your classes and hang out with your friends. Most importantly, you need your sleep! You can’t be caught snoring away at school or your internship, right? 

But how are you going to manage getting all these things done, especially with a new internship demanding your time? 

We’ve got you covered! Read on to see 3 different kinds of routines you can follow daily to help you better manage your time. 

Let’s follow the life of a hypothetical intern, John Doe. John Doe is a freshman at Goliath College. He has classes from 9 am to 3 pm five days a week.

Additionally, he has all sorts of other activities, like gym and bible study. John Doe wants to build muscle, so he hits the gym four times a week.

He also has to finish his homework, study for tests, meet his friends at parties, and rest. Now, he also has to intern at “Got Time?” a company that provides travelers with trip routes across the world.

Your, and John Doe’s, first step in trying to build a sustainable routine must involve taking a good look at everything you already do in a week. Let’s look at John Doe’s current schedule:

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It’s also key to remember that each class has different workloads and deadlines. See John Doe’s tasks for this week, for example:

  •  Mathematics test on Friday – Study sections 10.1 – 10.3
  •  Read and take notes of 40 pages of the History textbook by Friday
  •  Chemistry worksheet due Wednesday
  •  Finish the novel, “Don Quixote” by next Monday
  •  Write two blog posts for the internship at “Got Time?”
  • Potential Chemistry and History assignments being assigned next Monday, due later in the week

How can John Doe most effectively schedule his time? There are three ways we suggest. 

The first method boils down to taking on each fight separately. Dedicate a given day primarily towards one subject and enter deep focus mode, like Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda when he tries to master inner peace. 

The second method involves dedicating each day to two subjects, and the third method dedicates each day to at least three subjects. 

Confused? Don’t you worry, we’re going to take you through exactly what each method means. Then, you can choose which you think works best for you and win each week one day at a time!

Method #1: One day, one subject

For his first attempt at managing his work this week, John Doe shall make one subject the sole focus for each day. 

Though this approach ignores other subjects for the day, it still recommends that John Doe read a little of  Don Quixote every day to complete his reading in time. 

See, this is what we meant by keeping an eye out for potential assignments as well as all future deadlines! 

You can click on the image to make it bigger.

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Method 1

From our experience, this way of organizing your activities works for some and doesn’t work for others at all. It is considered inefficient according to the 80/20 principle. Heflo presents several examples of this: 

  • 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes
  • 20% of drivers cause 80% of all traffic accidents
  • 80% of pollution originates from 20% of all factories
  • 20% of a companies products represent 80% of sales
  • 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results
  • 20% of students have grades 80% or higher

Though it is not always precisely 20% obtaining 80%, it is highly relevant that the minority takes the majority. This makes sense for our routines too. During our study sessions, we get most of the work done during a minor portion of our time, specially when we truly harness our own inner Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid.

John Doe spent three hours on Monday studying Chemistry. He may have taken breaks, but Chemistry was his sole focus for that day. In focusing on Chemistry for those three hours, he came under the reins of the 80/20 principle. 

How? Let’s see. He may have struggled to understand the material at first. After a while of reading, he may have reached the peak of his struggle.

This struggle can look different for each student, depending on your interests. Once John Doe got through the struggle, he was able to rush through and strengthen his concepts. 

Maybe this worked for him and gave him a sense of control over his learning. But, forcing yourself to study so much Chemistry in one day can actually be counterproductive.

The human brain has natural learning processes that cannot be shoved into one day.

It is for you to decide and know yourself enough to know which method would work best for you. Let us show you another. 

Method #2: One day, two subjects

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Method 2

For this next method of making a timetable, John Doe can diversify the subjects for each day. This can help him, and you, align with the 80/20 principle and ensure that neither of you tire your minds to exhaustion and boredom. 

The change in subjects provides anticipation of lesser time studying a potentially boring subject while also pressuring you to know that you only have a little time to actually study. You’re forced to make the most of it. 

Now that could be a disadvantage for a few of you. Earlier, John Doe had more time to study the same amount of material as now. Our third and final method suggestion can help solve this issue by allowing you time to study each subject every day or many times a week.

Method #3: One day, three or more subjects

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Method 3

This third method of ours sure looks the most extreme, but it actually balances out the first and second ones really well. If you get bored or stuck easily or are able to study quickly, this method could be the best for you. 

With enough sessions included for each subject through the week, you and John Doe can see through your homework and deadlines well in time while also living your life! 

It is very difficult to measure which three of these methods is most efficient, but we believe that making small advances on many fronts every day is the most efficient way. This also aligns with the 80/20 strategy.  

We hope our three methods help you figure out which is best for you! 

Do you have another method that works for you or your friends?

Ariel Shalev Student - Former VisitMind Intern


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