One of the things that I am doing that seems to be working very well for me, is constantly posting my current status: to my mentor, in my notes, for my reference, just to clear my thoughts.
I find that posting my status is my way of inviting comment without depending upon it. If my mentor has questions about what I am doing or how I am progressing, hopefully my status updates can help her keep tabs on me. If she has any thing to offer, a new direction, a suggestion, some support, she can post in response to an update. By continually posting my status without being asked, I allow her to check in as she has time, without having to wait for her to ask. It gives me the responsibility of scheduling my time productively and selecting tasks I can do on my own while incorporating feedback as it arrives.
It is serving a good secondary purpose. It is helping me to track when I am stuck and when I am not. If I am able to articulate my status, I probably am making productive use of my time. If I can’t answer the question “What are you doing?” with anything other than the response “foundering” it is probably time to seek some guidance.
The one caveat that I would add is the 3 day rule, in any new undertaking or situation I give myself 3 days to just be in the environment, with permission to not know anything and just listen and read and search and look and get my bearings. After 3 days, something just happens and some things which were completely unstructured just fall into place.
So I find that volunteering and posting my status, continually throughout the day for my mentor, contributes to a good work flow between us.
Thanks for supporting this GNOME OPW intern,