5 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Remote Summer Internship

By Shanice Guthrie, JHU Class of ’21.

Shanice was part of the student cohort for the InBaltimore Internship Program. 

First, take a moment to congratulate yourself on landing this remote internship opportunity! Challenges you may encounter such as a lack of motivation, inexperience working within a remote work environment, or a lack of confidence in repurposing your skillsets for a remote opportunity are only hurdles towards a successful experience. Interning remotely requires adaptability and a willingness to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Therefore, it’s better to view these as challenges that you can overcome than disadvantages to your internship experience.  As a student currently doing a remote internship, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve used to stay motivated and make the most out of this opportunity.

Add Daily Tasks to your Planner or Calendar

I’ve found that with remote internships, it is easy to lose track of time and/or procrastinate. An easy way to counter this is by adding tasks to your planner or calendar to stay on top of projects. While you may already use this method to list big deadlines and meetings, putting smaller tasks on a calendar helps maintain a good work ethic. Some smaller task items I’ve found helpful include “Send follow up emails today to partners”, “Do some research on topic/activity” and “Short Break Time”.

Taking meaningful breaks – breaks that follow after accomplishing a task- is an amazing way to reward yourself daily and provides small motivation boosts throughout the day. Doing this helps to provide structure to my day and is extremely effective at helping me stay on track with work items.

Additional Tip: Attach a specific time in which each task should be completed. An example would be, “12:00 – 12:30 PM, Break Time”. This provides an additional motivation boost to complete daily tasks and not rescheduling them for a later time.

Connect with Co-Workers Virtually

A great way to stay motivated with a remote internship is recreating the social-support aspect of a job virtually. It is easy to feel disconnected from the tasks given if you aren’t aligned with the company’s visions and goals. Reaching out to co-workers or fellow interns and scheduling a short zoom lunch or activity together is a great way to

When the week starts I look forward to sharing updates with my co-workers on Zoom team meetings and sharing my support for the work they have accomplished as well. While it might seem hard at first to make a connection, the result is nothing short of rewarding.

Ask Questions

Asking for help with tasks and activities from your supervisor will never be frowned upon. This is most likely not the first time they are engaging with the task they assign to you so they will have a few tips and tricks to help you complete the tasks more effectively.

Sharing your lack of knowledge on a certain technology or program being used is okay and is a great way to help you develop and broaden your skillset. Lastly, asking questions during meetings is a great way to show your engagement with the company and provide useful input along the way. Don’t be scared to use your voice and remember that this is a great opportunity to learn something new.

Celebrate Accomplishments

Sometimes in a remote environment, you may feel like you haven’t done enough to celebrate, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t true. A great practice I’ve implemented is a weekly reflection session for 20-30 minutes where I remind myself of everything I’ve accomplished for the week.

I find that I’m always surprised at how much I’ve accomplished which motivates me to want to do even better the next week. Another amazing method I’ve found is after a staff meeting, congratulate your co-workers when they’ve completed a big task. This motivates them and creates a virtual work environment where your co-works will want to cheer you on for your future successes as well.

Any victory no matter how small can be celebrated and is an amazing way to spread positivity within yourself and with those you interact with as well.

Periodically Remind Yourself Why You Chose This Internship

Now that you’ve gotten the internship you might begin to forget the many reasons you chose to pursue it in the first place. A great way I’ve found to realign my interests is by reminding myself of what I wanted to accomplish from this experience. This will vary person by person but writing down a list of skills, developments, and abilities you wanted to improve upon, or gain is a good way to refocus yourself.

A good practice is writing a list of things you want to get out of the internship and periodically ticking off the skills you’ve gained or improved upon along the way. You can also add skills you gained that you didn’t originally write down as well. When you feel lost or unmotivated take a look at this list and it will most definitely give you a motivation boost!

While this list isn’t exhaustive by any means, I’ve provided a list of articles that provide different approaches to being more productive and motivated during a remote internship experience.

Further Reading

Elizabeth Trovall ‘8 Ways to Stay Motivated at Your Internship Abroad’

Annie Pei ‘5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Remote Internship’

Olivia Pandora Stokes ‘How to Rock Your Remote Internship’

Make sure you reach out to your Life Design Educator in their summer office hours!

By Maren Gonzales
Maren Gonzales Communications Associate