Lessons from an Intern

We were very pleased to host our first New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) student this summer. Here are Cristina Bregel’s thoughts on productivity…

Oh, hello Catherine’s readers. It is nice to finally write to you. I’m sure you don’t know who I am, but let me tell you my story.  First and foremost, I am a soon-to-be graduate from NBCC in Saint John, specializing in Marketing. I am a marketer by day and a waitress by night at Taco Pica Restaurant. Interesting enough, neither of these careers introduced me to Catherine, but rather through something I have been doing for the last 14 years of my life.


Catherine Doucette with intern Cristina Bregel (photo credit Mark Pridham)

I had the pleasure of meeting Catherine through our Karate classes at Kio Karate. Catherine was always that funny friend and great person to talk to after our gruesome workouts. After two years of training with her, little did I know that she would become my mentor and boss.

In these five weeks of my practicum, I learned five strategies that helped me to become more productive in the workplace.

  1. Dress for Success. Even Your Eyes.

Growing up, I never liked to use my glasses. But during my five-week practicum, I found that by not wearing my glasses during the day, my eyes would be strained, and I had difficulty seeing for hours on end. Now, I wear my glasses everyday, and I can SEE the screen. Go figure.

  1. Time Your Tasks.

A strategy that works, and I hope for you too, is timing your tasks. Each day, when I am in a time crunch or can’t seem to get my head wrapped around the task at hand, I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes and focus on that one thing to do. Timing yourself helps your brain to stop thinking so hard about the task and allows for the ideas to flow.

  1. Take a Walk. Maybe a Walking Meeting.

Along with timing your tasks to avoid overthinking, a walk can help too. I found splitting my lunch hour into two 30-minute breaks gave me time to stretch my legs and relax my mind. When I come back from my walks, I always feel refreshed and ready to tackle the remainder of day’s tasks. I find creative ideas flow better too.

According to Business Innovator Nilofer Merchant who presented a TED Talk discussing the importance of making a walking meeting apart of your daily routine, “…getting out of the box leads to out-of-the- box thinking.” Don’t believe me; watch her video.

  1. Productivity

    NBCC intern Cristina Bregel sporting her new company sweatshirt on her last day of her practicum

    Rotate Your Tasks.

Instead of focusing on one big project, choose to rotate each task you are working on. Task rotation can lead to increased productivity. It is better to refresh your brain with new tasks to avoid frying your brain for the rest of the day.

Business advice community and online publication  suggests “Break the monotony and rotate…even the tasks employees do best at, can make an employee bored.”

  1. Be Open to Feedback

Now that I am out of school, there is no A or B to life and learning. Instead staying open to constructive criticism is by far the most important strategy to increasing productivity. Write down what needs to be improved, and make a list of how you will change it.

I hope these strategies will help in the future. I know I’ll be using them.

What are your 5 strategies to better your productivity in the workplace?

Thanks, Cristina. It was a pleasure to have you in the office. (and thanks to Mark Pridham for the first two photos)
~ Catherine

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