MIS 3581, Summer 2017–Laurel Miller

Discussion Question #4: How do you do it all???

It’s hard to balance your schoolwork and your internship.  Tell us how you are handling it and what tips you have for keeping it all together.

41 Responses to Discussion Question #4: How do you do it all???

  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
    Life can be crazy at times between balancing work, school, extracurricular activities, and social obligations. Taking the time to create schedules and checklists of all the things that you must complete in a day makes the hectic week more bearable. During the school year I work at Fox Advising as a peer advisor and an ombudsmen. In the beginning of every semester I input my schedule into my calendar on my phone. I place alerts for when I am suppose to be in class and when I am suppose to be in work till I get use to my new day-to day schedule. When I know that multiple deadlines are approaching at the same time, I try to complete assignments a couple days before they are due so that I have sufficient time to review my work. Lastly, I try to prioritize my friends and family so that I have a good balance in my life.

    • Hey Claudine,

      I completely agree that things can get really crazy balancing “work, school, and social obligations” unless you stay organized and plan/execute ahead of time like you do. Procrastination is probably the biggest reason why I have had to miss many of the social things I wanted to do with my family and friends. But I think it’s very important like you said to “prioritize your friends and family to have a good balance in life” and plan out your day in order to not miss these things.

      • Thank you Shray. You seem like you are on the right path to success. Good Luck in all your future endeavors.

  • To balance school work and my internship, it’s most important for me to keep a to-do list and to have reminders set on my phone and laptop. I have a to-do list for both this class and for my internship, and they both really help in keeping my mind focused on the tasks that need to be completed. For class, I have a homework app on my cell phone that acts as the to-do list. For my internship, I have Sticky Notes set up on my home screen that act as my to-do list and other helpful notes to remember. Finally, reminders are so important. Again, on my phone, I’ve set up reminders so that I won’t forget to complete assignments. For work, Microsoft Outlook sends reminders about upcoming meetings and more. So, if my mind is ever wandering and I’m veering off course, these reminders will help reel me back in.

    • Hey Kayla,

      I completely agree, to-do lists are the most simple yet most efficient way to stay focused on completing tasks!

    • Hey Kayla, what homework app do you use? I’ve never heard of that and I’m curious how that works. But setting reminders is a great way to stay organized. That is how I remembered to do this assignment, I had a reminder on my phone set for 8 o’clock tonight. That way I would remember to answer this post before going to bed.

      • Hi Adam! The app is simply: “myHomework”. It’s not overly fancy, but it can act as a color coded to-do list for all of my assignments and that’s really all I need. It’s a huge help to me! Sorry for the late reply on this.

  • Balancing school work and an internship can be a challenge. However, being aware of what needs to be done can make it more easier. For example, at work we utilize Microsoft Outlook which organizes any meetings I have. I also have a to-do list at my desk so I always glance over it to make sure what i need to do is being worked on. For schoolwork, I have an application on my cellphone that reminds me when assignments are due. It is also helpful to look ahead in the calendar just to see upcoming meetings or assignments so you get a sense of what is coming in the upcoming days.

    • Hi Tony,

      I agree that being aware of urgent tasks can help in our balance and ease up our life tasks. I usually apply that in my life when I encounter barriers along the path. It keeps me alert and understand that some things can be important and others we can organize them on a better time of the week.

  • Balancing schoolwork and an internship is actually not too difficult as long as you can set reminders, remain organized, and allocate your time wisely. Knowing a new discussion board question will be posted every Monday, I will go on the website (which I have bookmarked) at the beginning of every week as a habit and answer the question as I am doing now. As for the status reports, and final presentation preparations go, I keep a record of daily logs of what I have done or accomplished every day to make it easier on myself to remember and write out a report. What I also find to be incredibly helpful is simply putting a list of reminders on my phone of what is due and when. Therefore I can cross assignments off as I go as well as see when the next assignment is due and plan accordingly. Now some of you may be wondering when I find the time to do this when I have my internship. Well honestly there tends to be a lot of time if you take advantage of the downtime you ever find. For example, if I am working on a project and finish, yet my supervisor is in a meeting, I could sit around and do nothing, or I could work on schoolwork and read news on the finance world/research a little more about the industry I work in.

    • Hi Andrew,
      You seem very organized and have great time management techniques. I will definitely try to keep a daily log of what I complete at my internship so that it becomes easier to complete the reports we must submit. Thank you for the advice, good luck at your internship!

  • Before taking this internship, I was already working part time in an office. I have been working part time and balancing school work for the past two and a half years. The only difference with this internship is that it is full time and I generally have a longer commute. If I plan on doing school work after getting home from work, I have less time due to having a longer commute. However, I do get most of my class work done towards the end of the week. What helps me stay on top of things is having a to do list with set deadlines. I am not sure how I am going to manage my time with my capsim class starting this week as it is appears to be a demanding course.

    • I agree with you Tony it’s tough to manage everything. Commuting is rough and I’ve been doing it the past few years. I try to recover the lost time by listening to exciting and interesting podcasts such as Joe Rogan podcast and Tim Ferriss podcast. I’m right on board with your to do list with set deadlines. Best of luck to you!

  • Balancing out all the things you have going on in your life can be a difficult task. I think the only way I have been able to get more things done this summer is by proper goal setting, planning, and scheduling. Every morning, as daunting and annoying as it may sound, I try to write down the top goals I have in each of the things going on in my life for the summer. I then break those goals down in actionable, piece-by-piece steps that add up to how I plan to accomplish each of those goals. After I have got several list items of what I have to complete, I then figure out what I have to accomplish first (prioritize) and estimate a time for how long each task will take. So then, each day I write out what my schedule is going to look like leaving in extra buffer times for tasks that may come up unexpectedly or for some free down time. This method may sound very extra and obnoxious but it has really allowed me to be more productive, stress less, and have more free time for myself.

  • I was having trouble with this balance of schoolwork and internship. I realize that time management really comes handy. I created a schedule for my whole week since all day will be the same until the semester is over. In order to help me with this schedule, I keep track of the time I am doing my schoolwork after my internship and the time that I need to study. Also, school work due dates are critical for us students and we do not want to miss any of it. In order to keep up with the due dates, I set alarms a week before the due dates so I can have time to work on it and I order them in level of difficulty. I did not like the time management and follow schedules. However, by doing it everyday I realized that I have more free time at the end of the day.

    • I have always wanted to create a schedule but have never actually done it! This is all my fault but creating a schedule for the week must help so much. Do you stick to strictly one schedule or do you try and create a new one every week?

      • I try my best to keep one. But when there are new tasks, I will create another one with the new tasks on it.

  • J&J’s email system is based in Microsoft Outlook. I have never used this application before, but it has proven to be very helpful in scheduling 1:1’s, blocking out time for lunch/assignment completion, and meetings with my team or supervisor. My Outlook calendar already is pretty full until the end of the internship. Although it may seem overwhelming, I am taking the internship day by day. Having the Outlook calendar already filled out is helpful as it lets me mentally prepare myself for the rest of the day, or even week. Another thing that I found particularly useful is being vocal with my supervisor about my school coursework. He is very open to giving me some time in the day to complete assignments, and at times, even helps me if I have a specific question about a job function or would like him to briefly look over my assignment. Communicating my responsibilities was very helpful because it made my manager be more understanding about my position as both an employee and student.

  • For me, having a space to write my thoughts, ideas, to-do items, appointments, etc. is essential in making sure I stay on top of everything. For school and homework, I use an app called MyStudyLife. I can log in with my Google account, so if I ever switch phones all of my assignments and classes are synced. It tracks tasks and assignments and alerts me a day before they are due. I schedule class times in there so I always have reminders at the start of the semester where I’m supposed to be headed. I highly recommend the app if you are looking for something to help organize your school life. As far as organizing my work and social lives, I keep track of work meetings in my Outlook calendar. I have that calendar synced to my Google account as well. This way I can open up the Google calendar app and have my personal calendar, work calendar, and family calendar all in one space. As an MIS major, I enjoy using technology as a tool to organize my life.

    • I never heard of MyStudyLife before you mentioned it, but after taking a brief look, I am DEFINITELY going to install this. Since I have a Google email for school, work, and personal use, it’s great knowing that I can sync everything to it.

  • It is important to be organized and plan ahead. At work, at then end of the day, I make a To-Do list for the next day. This lets me know what to expect the next day and allows me to get right into my tasks. We also utilize Outlook, so this allows me to visualize what meetings I have, with who, and where. I’m pretty old-fashioned and like to cross of my To-Do list (notepad) as I finish tasks. I post reminders and objectives on the wall of my desk so I don’t forget important deliverables. For my school work, I also keep a To-Do list on my desk at home, utilize a white-board calendar, and set calendar events on my phone to remind me of important deliverables. Being organized allows me to plan ahead, see my schedule, and not get overbooked. A big piece of advice is to make sure to free some time in your day to do what you love. Whether it means going for a run in the city, getting some drinks with some friends, or reading a book, make sure to enjoy your life and keep a healthy work-life balance.

  • This is actually one of the most laid-back summers I’ve had in recent memory Don’t get me wrong, between my 40-hour/week internship, my part-time side job, school work, and trying to expand my freelance portfolio, I am quite busy. However, during past summers and semesters, I have been enrolled in 3-5 classes on top of all of those other things, making literally every minute valuable. For work-related tasks, my company uses a PM software called TeamWork, which helps me stay on-target. For schoolwork and other tasks, I use Trello religiously, and good old fashioned post-it notes on my bedroom door. And like most other people in the thread have said, finding a good balance is absolutely important! Thursday nights are my one-night per week where I totally and completely unplug from work and school for a few hours and practice with my band. It’s been a hobby of mine since elementary school and it is usually the highlight of my week!

    • Hey Edward, you have a really busy schedule! Would you agree that the best part of doing an internship instead of being at school, is that fact that we do not have the stress of tests?

      • Absolutely! Tests, as well as general assignments and readings, are always a cause of stress. I have been involved in digital marketing for a few years now, so having the ability to work full-time throughout the summer doing what I love makes every day enjoyable!

  • I never found the perfect balance between work and my internship because it all depended on my work load for the specific week and if tests or exams were present. When I thought I mastered time management I always found myself making some sort of adjustments to either how I handle school or the internship. My best advice is to plan ahead and keep a schedule. By doing this I was able to allot my time to different activities and know best when to have them achieved. Looking at the class syllabus for school was convienent as well as knowing future projects at my internship.

  • Being able to find a balance in it all has usually been my strong suit, fortunately, maybe because I am a Libra (lol!). Seriously though, I think the key to maintaining a balanced life as far as school/work/friends/etc. is simply having the ability to organize your time while also making use of the time currently being used in an efficient manner. 24 Hours in a day is actually a lot of time when you think about it, so allocating specific hours for specific tasks shouldn’t be too difficult, especially with the onset of organizational applications being used currently. At work, we use a lot of Google Calendar while also having writeable glass around our desks as well as a board we can pin things in. As far as school goes, I usually keep a To-do list in my drafts of my email. I am always logged into TUMail when I am in session, and therefore a Live, editable To Do list will always be available in my TUMail account. Just like everyone else said also though, I think any given person needs at least one time a week to completely disconnect from his or her school and work responsibilities. If you can afford to have more leisure/hobby time, I recommend taking it. Enjoying life is the most important thing, as that is the entire reason we are here. Nobody ever looked back and said “Wow, I wish I worked more in life and spent less time doing the things I enjoy”.

  • I find time to do everything I’d like to do in a day by adapting to a very regulated daily routine. One of the hardest things I’ve found to get used to is going to sleep 2-3 hours earlier than I do during the school year so I have time to do a morning workout into an hour from 6 to 7 AM every day. I’ve found that working out before work helps to kickstart my energy in the morning and make me more efficient at work in the morning when I would normally be half asleep. This also gives me the rest of the night when I come home to have time to myself to unwind from the workday.
    A huge change I made in being able to wake up so early (I’ve only had one class before 10 am between 3 years of college so I’m definitely not an early riser) was forcing myself to stop checking social media in the mornings and save it for later in the day. I didn’t realize how much time was wasted by scrolling through Instagram and Facebook feeds for as long as 45 minutes in the morning, and it definitely made a noticeable difference in my daily routine when I stopped.
    As someone who never used to start their day until close to noon, I’ve realized that when you’re dealing with a packed summer schedule it’s essential to utilize that morning time to get things done rather than give into an extra hour or two of sleep.

  • I have been volunteering with this organization since 9th grade. Initially, it was very difficult for me to manage my school assignments, extracurricular activities in High School, as well as projects and events for work. Especially during peak event times, I would be spending every day in the evening creating videos, organizing project files, etc. But over the years, I have developed good time management and task management skills. Before, I used to use a large whiteboard in my room to help me organize and stay on top of deadlines. Ever since the start of college, I switched over to an app called Wunderlist which lets you organize assignments and sends automatic reminders.
    One thing that I quickly realized, especially in College, was that we have lots of time on our hands. The only thing that deters us from being efficient and effective is our inability to manage that time. And that’s exactly what I worked to improve well before I thought about graduating college and moving on to the real world.

    • I agree! Managing your time is probably the most difficult thing, it is so easy to get distracted. Using your time wisely and staying organized was something that I had to work on. It’s amazing how much easier it is to balance school and a job when you are organized.

  • Balancing schoolwork and an internship can be difficult, that’s why you must be able to manage your time wisely. Although working a full time job can be exhausting, it forces me to get organized. I am not nor have I ever been a morning person. I’ve noticed something that may take me a few minutes to do at night (such as picking out my work clothes) will take me two to three times longer in the morning. I started to get myself organized the night before work. So, the night before I will pack my lunch and iron any clothes I plan on wearing to work the next day. Doing these few simple tasks makes getting out the door in the morning that much easier. As for schoolwork, I try to come home after work and dedicate anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get any work done. Lastly, I try to go to bed at a reasonable time. Going to work on 3-4 hours of sleep just isn’t enough. Giving your body the appropriate amount of rest is important. Balancing school and an internship is as difficult as you want it to be and the more organized you are, the easier it will be!

  • I actually was surprised to find that my schedule this summer is far less hectic (and much simpler) than it is during the school year. During the regular school year, it can be a challenge to keep track of different clubs, jobs, and classes and balancing my different commitments. But this summer, most of the work happens during the day, and the nights I mostly have to myself. One thing I’m hoping to improve on is making sure I strike a balance between doing different activities at night and having what I call “introvert time”. I’ve really enjoyed seeing new parts of Philly during my free time and trying out new hobbies like biking, but sometimes it can be draining if I don’t take time to relax.

    And, to echo what most people have said, my to do list is my life, and my Outlook calendar is a close second favorite. I do my to do list in excel and try to break down pieces of tasks as much as I can.

  • I’ve enjoyed following into a daily routine that allows me to make the best use of my time. Each week day I am consistent in the time that I wake up, work out, catch the bus, get to work, and clock out at work. Beyond that, I have leisure time, which is really enjoyable and healthy. I have to admit that the first few weeks of trying to develop this routine was really tough. Transitioning to the appropriate sleep and wake up times was the most difficult part, and lead to a lot of negative domino effects throughout the day, such as having arriving late to work and feeling tired. But, since I’ve been able to settle on a consistent sleep schedule, I’ve felt energized and have been able to do all the things that I enjoy doing outside of work.

    Fortunately I don’t have a heavy course load at the moment, so when the work day ends I have a lot of free time. I like to balance that free time between relaxing by myself and doing fun and interesting things with my friends around the city. The Temple area feels slightly deserted since most of my friends are home for the summer, but I spend a lot of quality time with those people who are around. Overall I’m feeling really happy with the balance between working 8 a day hours M-F and then having the rest of my time free.

  • My most helpful tip for “keeping it all together” is to have an agenda book, and keep daily notes on what your goals are. At the start of the day, open your agenda book, and list out all of the things you need to accomplish. I generally list them by order of importance, or by how quickly a deadline for that goal is approaching. If a less important goal has not been accomplished, I move it to the next day. This has not only been helpful thus far during my internship with NBC, but was crucial to my success during my internship as a Diamond Peer Teacher’s assistant at Temple. Another helpful tip for keeping it all together while working is to take advantage of either Google Calendar or a company scheduling software. NBCU uses outlook for emails and meetings. When I accept a meeting request in my inbox, a note is automatically transferred to my calendar and I get a reminder approximately 15 minutes before the meeting is about to start. This goes for in person meetings, Web Ex meetings, phone meetings, and the like. I tend to be a little bit scatter brained at times, and online schedulers like Google Calendar or Outlook are crucial to remembering all of my appointments and arriving in a timely fashion.

  • Balancing schoolwork and my internship can be difficult especially when I have finals or midterms and things that need to be done immediately for work. Last year while enrolled full time at temple I started an e-commerce business that bought and sold products that were imported from overseas. This business really took off with one main customer and allowed me to pay my tuition at temple in cash each semester. The way I managed this was to use a system called “Dash Plus” http://patrickrhone.com/dashplus/. Each Month I would plan out my weekly daily and monthly goals and then break them down into individual tasks. I separated my life into three different lists: Work, School, Personal. Each day I had 5-6 items per category that I would list and keep in my notebook and once I completed each task I would mark it as complete which really motivated me to stay productive. This summer my internship is more flexible and allows me to basically set my own schedule and work flow. I work directly under the CEO of the company and he gives me a large goal, “xx,xxx” in weekly revenue and then I list out the individual steps that I need to perform to get there. This is the best way for me because it incentivises me to maintain a certain level of productivity. When I see tasks on the to-do list that are undone i am extra motivated to complete them. Managing a very stressful and hectic workflow has allowed me to grow as an individual and raise my level of achievement both personally and professionally.

  • I think it is all about time management and trying to be as productive as possible during the day. I am a morning person; I try to wake up early and get as much as I can get done before lunch. One tip I have is that if you struggle getting schoolwork done after work in the evening (I know I do), maybe try doing some of it in the morning. When I am done work at the end of the day in the summer I just want to relax and hang out with my friends, so it is super hard for me to concentrate on schoolwork. It is also very hard for me to do school work when I am in my apartment with my roommates. Since I know this about myself, when I have a school assignment due I will try to get into work a half hour early and start the assignment before I start my work day. It is easier for me to be productive at my work desk. That way even if I do not finish the assignment at least I started it, so it will be easier for me to pick it back up later. I also always keep a calendar or notebook with me to write to dos. I try to make a to do list every day, so I can keep track of what assignments I have due and what work I need to complete by the end of the day. The last tip I have is to always make a friend to have a buddy in the class. That way you can remind each when you have assignments coming up.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more about using the correct time for whatever it is in need of something. Supposedly, mornings are best for cognitive work and when most humans are mentally most sharp. I’m not sure about that one as I’m definitely not a morning person and my own bias about mornings may cloud my judgment. Regardless, each of us has a specific way of living and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Knowing oneself can be just as important as studying ability when you are juggling multiple family and professional roles and schedules. Great post.

  • For me the secret is to schedule general periods of task dedicated activity and to insure that the time scheduled is utilized to the maximum extent possible on the proper task. So, while I remain dependent on scheduling, I add an intense focus on the quality of mental attention to a particular activity. For example, if I have to run errands, meet family for dinner, and read a chapter and write some observations down, I will plan a flexible schedule which, when possible, is contingent on my ability to totally concentrate on whatever the task at hand is or to move on to another listed task and then return to the skipped task later in the day. When I’m reading, I’m reading, and nothing else. I’ve found that the amount of time I spend on something is not related to the quality of that experience or activity or the reward one receives in the end. Also, quality mental time is immensely more valuable than the quantity of mental time. And what is most important to achieving and maintaining quality mental time is treating my brain to sufficient rest and relaxation and maintaining a reasonably healthy lifestyle.

  • One tip for me to balance school work and my internship is to keep a “to do list” and put everything in my calendar. I look at the syllabus to put all the due dates in my calendar and set reminders accordingly. For my internship, when I get a clear idea about my project, I will create a schedule for the task. And another thing that keep my internship together is my team has a Stand Up meeting every morning. Everyone on the team talks about “What they did yesterday,” “What they are going to do today,” and “Do they need any help from anyone.” It is basically a daily reflection of what we did and what we are going to do. It keeps us on track and on time. Another tip for is I will think about my school work, due days and projects all the time. I think about those while I am walking on the street and while I am on the subway, etc. This helps me think through many problems before I start doing it. It also helps me to refine my plan, etc.

  • To be honest, I have been struggling balancing school work and working. I’ll be sure to peruse this thread and see what tricks I can find.

    I need to start making a chronological to do list to be able to track my work better. I also plan to set aside a certain amount of time in the evening to focus on schoolwork completely. I also am thinking of setting a certain schedule during the day to settle into.

  • I have been mainly focusing on work thus far this Summer. I need to increase my output for school in the coming weeks, as the courses I am taking are critical to an on-time graduation.I have added alarms for my online class sessions to avoid forgetting to attend. I would hate to stop pursuing my passions outside of school and work, but it may be necessary for my continued success on both fronts. On the other hand, in order to be happy, you must not give up on your dreams, whatever they may be. I am at a cross roads in many aspects.

  • I only have one course over the summer and my internships started relatively late compared with my classmates. It is a little hard and intensive try to make things on track and finish my coursework at the same time. My instructor and my supervisor really helped me with the timeline arrangement. I do appreciate their help. I made my own class schedule according to the original due dates and assignments. Even though it put much work together into a shorter period, I try to make thing on track. I have clear to-do list on my planner and keep in touch with my instructor and supervisors. I feel bad with messed up schedule and work, I really try to make things right. Hope I can finish my missed tasks.

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