The perfect template to the Time Management question "How do you set priorities at work"

Time Management is an essential skill for any professional irrespective of the domain and experience. Everyone gets the same amount of time in a day. The trick is to work smarter along with hard work to achieve more. And that can be done only when we set priorities in the right manner.

When an interviewer asks "How do you set priorities at work?", it is more about what happens when you get ad-hoc priority changes. The same question can be asked in many different ways.

  • How do you manage conflicting priorities?

  • How do you handle multiple deadlines?

  • How do you handle interruptions at work?

  • How do you prioritize your tasks?

  • What do you do when priorities change quickly?

Preparation is the key

As with any interview question, the key is to be prepared. Prepare by going through the elaborate set of questions asked in interviews, attend a mock interview or book a session with Infoshopi interview coach. Providing a generic answer will do more harm than good.

What not to say

1. I am a Multitasker - Though it may appear great on the surface when you say that you can do all tasks together, Multitasking is actually a myth than reality.

2. I will say no to Ad-hoc tasks - This generic statement cannot hold true in all situations. It will show you as a person who is not flexible or agile to switch priorities depending on the situation

Assess priorities

Instead, you should respond mentioning you will typically work based on the plan that you created for the day. If there are ad-hoc tasks coming your way, then you will first assess the tasks and reorganize the tasks depending on criticality. Assessment should include the following:

  1. Deadline for each of the tasks to be executed

  2. Impact of missing the timeline for each task

  3. Stakeholders involved with each task

Setting Expectations

Once you have done the assessment and made a decision, you proceed as per the new task order after getting the buy-in from the stakeholders. This is key to ensure that all involved parties are aligned on the new end date for the tasks you are performing.

STAR Technique examples

Providing a real life example will add more value. Always be ready to provide an example of two using STAR Technique. You can watch the short Infoshopi youtube video on STAR Technique to know about the technique.

Work Life Balance

Also, you should utilize the opportunity to set the expectations on Work-Life balance. It is always better to set the expectations as part of interview than giving a false commitment that you will be performing work for 15 hours a day if there are outstanding tasks. You can also check on how the organization helps employees to maintain the work-life balance.


As mentioned earlier, the key is in the preparation. Time Management questions are certain to appear in any interview and you need to be ready with a response. Focus your thoughts and frame a response covering the highlighted points to nail it in your interview.

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