What Techniques Do You Use To Keep Yourself Organized?

When an interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to see how your actual work process flows and what you do to make sure it keeps doing so. Sometimes, this can be oriented toward understanding what retraining or other support you might need to transition into their system. At other times, it can be a way of assessing how much time and energy you put into preparation and managing your workflow. The key to any answer is to highlight the benefits of your approach, just like with the other behavioral questions.

Points to Emphasize

Keep these ideas in mind, and touch on the ones that are relevant to your answer.

  • It’s less about the technology and more about what you do with it if you’re using productivity software and other aids.

  • Process is the key, so emphasize how your overall approach keeps you prepared.

  • Include any mental tricks or tips, like mnemonics, that demonstrate the process you have in measurable ways.

  • Make sure that any answer is geared toward demonstrating how your performance increases because of your approach. It’s easy to miss how preferences can actually be strategies, but you want to drive that point home.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

It’s easy to get distracted when you talk about your favorite ideas, so use this checklist to make sure you stay on track.

  • Don’t get lost in your own approach. The goal is to discuss how your strategies keep you on track, so don’t let the details slow you down or derail you.

  • Remember that there are a lot of ways to get things done, so don’t advocate for the individual strategy, advocate for your end result.

  • There are a number of ways to accidentally evaluate someone else’s process. Keep it positive and keep it focused on your own workflow.

  • Don’t forget to define tools or terms if they aren’t widely used, because you might be telling the interviewer something new.

Sample Answer

Here’s a positive way to get into your own process while still keeping things concise.

I rely a lot on my smartphone, which I keep synced to my other devices so that I can always see my calendar. Otherwise, I tend to work best by the seat of my pants, so having my devices with me and minimizing travel between meetings lets me get more done without extending my workday. That way, those extra hours are still there when I need them for crunch time.

Specific tools and techniques are mentioned, but they aren’t oversold. That’s the key.

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