The best way to manage your time is to write all of your tasks on little sheets of paper and put them into a hat. Then every half hour take out one of the pieces of paper and work on that project for the next half hour. If you don’t finish it within that time, oh well, better luck next time. Once you’re done, move on to the next piece of paper until you run out of papers, then leave for the day.
For whatever reason, employers don’t like to hear this ideal answer at interviews. They want to hear something more “logical” that uses “time management skills” and shows that you actually do “work.” When you are asked how you decide to manage your time, you have to give an answer that shows you put thought into your organizational process.
“I will ask my supervisor what he/she wants me to do, and then I will do it in that order unless I see a reason to do otherwise.”
This isn’t a good answer. Anyone can defer to management. You will probably have to do that anyway. Let the employer know that you’re more than just a slacker.
“First I create a database of all of my current projects in Microsoft Excel that I update as needed. Then I give each project a priority score based on both estimated date of completion and order them by importance. I also use a highlight legend to keep the work organized. Then I try to complete parts of the list in order. The entire spreadsheet will be accessible by my supervisor so that they can check on my process and see if it matches their expectations.”
Your answer doesn’t need to be this specific. Just give the examples of what you do to organize your tasks, and give an answer that is thoughtful and interesting.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Give a real answer that shows both organization and thought.