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Tell me about a time when you did not have enough time to complete all assigned tasks. How did you prioritize?

Answer examples and advice for how to answer this interview question for a Lowes interview

How to Answer

Start off by telling the interviewer that you are typically an organized person and achieve everything on time. Share how you usually organize your work.

You might share that you keep a to-do list of all the objectives that you must complete, keep your electronic calendar up-to-date and that you spend 5-10 minutes at the beginning of your day reviewing your schedule for the day as well as prioritizing your to-do list for that day.

Next, share a time when you failed to get an assigned task done on time due to something outside of your control. Perhaps you were sick, an emergency arose, or someone else called in sick for the day changing your priorities. Share how you prioritized your time with the goal of achieving the deadline, and share why you were not able to reach it on time.

Finally, be sure to wrap it up by reiterating that you are usually a deadline driven person, and you almost always complete everything on time.

Tell me about a time when you did not have enough time to complete all assigned tasks. How did you prioritize?
Answer example

"Not long ago we received an unexpected shipment from a large supplier, on a Saturday afternoon, which is also our peak customer time. We had to hurry up to receive the stock and ensure the inventory count remained accurate despite shoppers taking the items off the palette. It was a hectic couple of hours, but we prioritized by having four employees count while four received; double the usual workforce that we have on new arrivals."

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you did not have enough time to complete all assigned tasks. How did you prioritize?
I was once given several dozen items to photograph, and only a few hours to do it. I chose to photograph the highest priced, and most in demand items first, while keeping the cheaper, less demanded items for the end in case I did not make it to them.
When zoning, there is not always enough time to pull product from the back of the shelf to the front so I do what I can and create a fully stocked shelf by sometime pulling just one item to front face the shelf.
You prioritize based on customer service, length of tasks and the staffing that is available.
If I did not have enough time to complete a task I would do the most important task first and let my manager know that I will pick up those duties further down the road and complete as much as I could within my time frame.
Being on nights I have to prioritize alot, For example two truck nights I make sure I get the large products off the floor as these are the most difficult to stock during the day, I try to put all the small product into carts to empty pallets and get them off the floor.
Mondays are always my busiest days. I start with Appliances because, the Return Authorization potential has a smaller window of opportunity. After appliances, I make a list of the daily tasks following the same procedure, leaving time for unexpected Vendors.
I would get to the next task and finish that and get back to that task to finish.
I always make a plan out what I will be working on and allow myself a certain amount of time to get it completed from the most important to the not so important tasks.
I would do what I thought was the most important task first and so on, and by the end of the day I would think of other things that I could have done different to get more things completed the next time.
I asked for help from others in my department or asked the ASM on duty to get me a little help in completing my tasks.
Often when we get two trucks a night I have to prioritize, I always put the larger items away since these are the biggest burden to try and stock during the day, I also try to get everything up with power equipment so they do not have to try to use any during day shift, and then I try to get everything small into carts so there are no pallets or few pallets left on the sales floor.
A the end of the day I create an action list of items that must be complet the following day and the order in which they must be completed. I always put customers phone call, emails first and then order, sale or quote processes second. The person to person task is always first.
I made sure the most important items were completed first then moved down the list to complete as many as possible during my shift then I would leave a note of what needed to be done.
I did what the boss told me was the most important first then I decided what I could get the most bang for my buck in the allotted time.
Discovered and attacked the hardest task first and then lesser tasks in some type of order based on difficulty and time restraints.
One night when I was closing my manager gave me a work list before he left for the day. On the list there were tasks that he was giving me plus a couple tasks that his boss needed us to complete. To top it off the store manager had asked me to setup a display for in the morning. I prioritized it by first taking care of the store manager's request, then the ASM's and then after both of those were completed I worked as much of my manager's work list as possible.
One of my manager asked me to complete a assignment for two hours but between lunch and break the manager comes back and say stop doing what doing and come help and the other department and then I get to the other department and worked that department and finish the other leftover for the next day, so by me not finishing my task I completed a task that didnt belong to me but I did it.
I worked on the things that needed to be done and stayed late if needed to complete the task. Example, if I did a price audit I would need to change all the incorrect labels and I would stay until they were all complete.
Evaluate what projects NEED to be done and what can wait without hurting the project or person involved.
I prioritized and ranked them in order of importance, and then proceeded to work on them.
Finished importabt tasks first, stayed later, asked for help Came in early,
I prioritize all tasks as I get them and share that list with my immediate supervisor to ensure his priorities are mine.
Always the highest priority first, or the most complex.
I did what was the most important and work on it till done then moved on to the next if there was something I could not get done before the end of my shift I would assign it to the next person coming on.
I would look at the tasks that are at hand and see what is the most important to complete first and put them in a list according to that, I would then see if there were any tasks I could delegate to my coworkers to help us complete the assigned tasks on time.
I sat down with my supervisor to discuss the tasks and what was my immediate priority. Once the immediate tasks were completed I moved on to the others as time became available. Some times it meant waiting until the next work day to finish some of them. Occasionally I would ask for an extra associate to help with some of the more minor tasks.
I would work on all the most important tasks first and ask for help if I needed to to complete all tasks.
I did what I could and asked for help from my co-workers.
I did the things that could not wait and stayed late to complete things that did.
Determined what the most important tasks were (i. E front facing, downstocking). If something was out on the shelf, but we had it in top stock, I would do that first because we have to have product available to customers. Next, I would ensure that the department looks organized. I would front face as necessary and sweep.
Setback write it down and handle the situation with the understanding you will not get it all but with a little help and it will be a learning issue that next time it arises you can cut it off before the delays start.
I first made sure that all merchandise was stocked and the department was organized well.
Development a game plan to complete all tasks by the deadline.
When I was working a a previous job we had a certain amount of pallets of product that we had to wrap in a certain amount of time. I was a little below average and it really bothered me so I gave myself a time range to have each pallet done and worked at my speed so I could meet the requirements and end up being above average.
I delegated to my aset mangers.
Assess the task, prioritized the duties, to the most important first.
Put tasks in order of priority. Then do the most important first.
I looked to see if there were any that we time sensitive, and focus on the ones that were. An example would be to complete a call to a customer before dusting.
It's really best to write down my tasks and cross them off as I complete them. That way there's no doubt as to what I did not complete so the next shift can complete them.
I needed to complete my OPS report and Cycle count by end of the day and was assigned the task of completing a price audit by end of the next business day. As the Ops report and Cycle count were most important at the time, I completed those tasks and assigned two team members to complete the price audit task.
One day I got 5 new details in that need to be quoted so I went through them and organized the based on when the detail was originally sold and started working from the one the was the oldest and I believe there was one or two that I had to finish the next day when I came but I knew that those details had been with the last few days.
Customers are always my first focus. I would begin tasks by level or importance. If I felt like I needed guidance, I would seek help from a supervisor.
I had some days at work when we had multiple a/c issues at different schools and I had to prioritize each issue by its severity and work my way down to resolving each issue one by one.
Looked at which task was more urgent and due first and evaluate the others likewise.
Well basically what had to be completed when? I always make sure that the customers are taken care of before the department tasks are complete.
I prioritized by which will help the store out more. I had to get my inservice done for the month, clean around the register, front face product, and make sure it was all dusted. I know appearance counts for a lot to the customer so I made sure products were filled and clean. The next day I did my inservice before I went on the floor and it only took me 15min.
I put them in completion order. Which were approaching final bank inspection and already had a move in date, they came first. The designs in last stages were placed first, and the earlier stages were last.
I looked at the assignment and decided the most important things to do. I prioritize and then complete the task in a timely manner.
Safety first, customers second, then daily tasks third. Cleanliness and down stocking need to be done daily but are not the most important factors in selling.
Ran out of time to do my produce order when I was cooking and asked for assistance from management to help out.
I prioritze by time sensitivity, and by level of need and by level of urgency.
I made sure that I finished everything that was more important first and made a note for the other head cashier asking to help.
There have been times that the project has been delayed due to slow deliveries from vendors try to give the clients another solution.
I would perform the tasks from most urgent to least urgent.
Last Month we completed inventory. Following that we received a large amount of freight. To avoid any customer safety issues I concentrated on getting freight off the sales floor and multi task my other resposibilities.
I look over my list of things to do and I choose things that are very important to customer service, because customers come first. I take care of "customer related" things to do and then move to making sure my department is as presentable as it can be.
Working in the airline business there were many times when things did not work right and we had to go above and beyond for the customer.
Which task will directly affect a customers shopping experience first.
I made sure that the biggest of the task was completed and done the best that I could at that and then when the next associate came in I let them know what else needed to be done.
I have not come across a project that I could not complete. If I do I would prioritize by doing the most importent task first and work from thier . I would also notifie my superviser to inform them that iI was not able to finish and would see if the next shift could finish or I would get it finishe first thing next shift.
I do the most important task first, then I tell the next Head cashier that I did not get to finish the task and ask if he or she can finish the task.
I was requested to clean an empty apartment as an extra task one night and because It was not one of the normally assigned task and because I knew It did not required to be finished that night I prioitied it last or any spare time I had threw out the night.
I had this issue arise once on a route with a truck breakdown. I had to prioritize my customer base as far as sales and location to get what product I could to larger chain stores to merchandise.
I start with the task that pertain to safety first and work my way focusing on deadline.
I was scheduled to clock out at 6pm and had to make sure that my side work was complete and how I prioritized is I filled all of the sauces up for my table which desperately needed them, bused my table, filled the salt and pepper and swept crumbs before the next servers shift, so that it could be set up for the next guests and lastly I rolled silverware and clocked out.
I try to discern the most important things that could impact customer service, sales, safety, and not be a burden to the next associate for whats left unfinished.
I first asked my manager what their priorities were, then moved through tasks with best logic.
At the beginning of each day I try to plan what has to be accomplished, after which I set levels of importance. I try to complete the most important tasks first and blend in the other as the day progresses. If I had a question about level of importance I would seek out my manager or supervisor to see if they had any input on which was the highest priority. Anything small left at the end of the day could be completed by the next shift or first thing in the morning as we planned the next day.
Set goals, time frames, detailed notes and steps, a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when. This will allow anyone to step in and finish the job successfully. Assign the duties, and follow up.
Allot I have used varies tools in my past experience both personal and professionally.
The things that had the earliest deadline were the things that were completed first.
Sales, follow up with customers purchases (order management) are at the top of the list.
Made sure the easier and the most important of the tasks were done first.
Safety first, customers second, then stocking and cleanliness.
It all begins with chain of command. There are things my boss needs to be executed first. Of course in between making sales and helping customers I have used my managing skills to my advantage. If theres something my team can do while I work on my bosses task then that makes it easier.
I have been school recently and it can be difficult to prioritize studying while also completing other school work. I would complete all school work that was due for the upcoming days and then put some study time after that.
When My Department Manager was out from surgery I had to do his reports. During the second week I printed his report on the day it was due and turned out it was 3 reports for one report and still had 3 more reports that were due by end of the day and I had 3 details for flooring to be worked up. As a sales specialist I worked up my details and called my customers because the customer came first and then I finished the assignment. I went over on my time but I ended up adjusting it another day.
Do the ones I new how to do and work on the other with help from our team.
I'd have to say, when my entire closing crew had called out on me. Trying to make sure the line at the register was going smoothly all while cleaning, restocking and all the night duties were done. I did the most Importnat things first and the little things I could do to pass time when I could.
I made an assessment of what task held higher priority for completion and made sure those were done first. If I was still unable to complete everything then I would communicate with whom it concerned and left it in the hands of someone I trusted to take over and complete.
Most important first, customers, staff, stock, etc.
I did what I thought to be most important first and if I was not able to finish I left a note explaining what had happened and why I got behind and said I would continue when I came in the next day.
The things that are most vital to what the task at hand is.
I took care of the task that were most essential first and worked on it all day untill the task was complete and made sure next time I used better time management.

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