Learn common idioms about Schedules in English with meaning and examples.
List of common idioms about schedules in English.
You can jump to any section of this lesson:
- 1 (Do Something) By the Book
- 2 (In the) Fullness of Time
- 3 After The Fact
- 4 Against The Clock
- 5 Ahead Of The Game
- 6 Back to the Drawing Board
- 7 Back to the Salt Mines
- 8 Burn the Candle at Both Ends
- 9 Burn the Midnight Oil
- 10 Business as Usual
- 11 Busman’s Holiday
- 12 Call It a Day
- 13 Crunch Time
- 14 Cut It Fine
- 15 Eleventh Hour
- 16 In the Works
- 17 Kick the Can Down the Road
- 18 Pencil Something In
- 19 Sit On (Something)
- 20 Sneak Peek
- 21 Take Five (Ten)
- 22 Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF)
- 23 You Snooze, You Lose
(Do Something) By the Book
- Meaning: According to established procedure
- Example: Why don’t you do the programming job by the book for the first few times? Later you can try out your own ideas.
(In the) Fullness of Time
- Meaning: Eventually, when appropriate; after you wait patiently
- Example: Cynthia seems completely lost in her new position, but in the fullness of time I’m sure she’ll develop into a fine employee.
After The Fact
- Meaning: Too late; after something is completed or finalized.
- Example: Yes, Bob distributed a PowerPoint presentation, but he did it after the fact – we had already heard everything in it during the meeting.
Against The Clock
- Meaning: Forced to hurry to meet a deadline
- Example: We’re racing against the clock to finish the ad campaign. We may have to work all night!
Note: Generally “race against the clock.”
Ahead Of The Game
- Meaning: Making faster progress than anticipated; ahead of schedule
- Example: We’re ahead of the game. We’ve already finished unit 1 in the group project, and everyone else is still working on it.
Back to the Drawing Board
- Meaning: Forced to begin something again
- Example: The currency devaluation has completely changed the situation, and all our work has been wasted. Back to the drawing board!
Note: This is similar to “back to square one,” but is more likely to be used as an exclamation.
Useful Business English Idioms about Schedules
… Useful Business English Idioms about Schedules …
Back to the Salt Mines
- Meaning: It’s time for me (us) to go back to work.
- Example: Well, our lunch break has now lasted more than an hour. Back to the salt mines!
Burn the Candle at Both Ends
- Meaning: To work too hard, with possible bad consequences for one’s health
- Example: I’m worried about Cynthia – she’s been coming in before 6 and not leaving until midnight. She’s burning the candle at both ends.
Burn the Midnight Oil
- Meaning: Working late into the night
- Example: I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight, but I guarantee I’ll finish the paper before class tomorrow at 9.
Business as Usual
- Meaning: A normal situation (whether related to business or not), typically restored after some change .
- Example: I was on a diet at the beginning of the year, but now it’s back to business as usual.
- Meaning: A working vacation
- Example: I’m going to Mallorca next week, but I’m afraid it’ll be something of a busman’s holiday – I’m bringing work.
Call It a Day
- Meaning: Decide that one has worked enough on something for the day
- Example: We finished two-thirds of the presentation, and we’re tired. Let’s call it a day and start again in the morning.
- Meaning: A period of high pressure when one has to work hard to finish something
- Example: It’s crunch time. I have three exams next week, so I can’t go out with you. I have to study.
Cut It Fine
- Meaning: To do something at the last moment
- Example: You’re really cutting it fine, aren’t you? The report is due at noon, and you’re still working on it.
Note: This is occasionally heard in the USA.
- Meaning: The last minute
- Example: Brad will wait until the eleventh hour before starting a project, but he always finishes on time.
In the Works
- Meaning: Under development; coming soon
- Example: If you don’t like the current Honda Accord, be patient: a new version is in the works.
Kick the Can Down the Road
- Meaning: Postpone an important decision
- Example: Sure, we can kick the can down the road by making minimum payments on the debt, but wouldn’t it be better to solve the problem now?
Pencil Something In
- Meaning: Make tentative arrangements
- Example: Why don’t we pencil in the 24th for our meeting? I can probably make it. I’ll let you know for sure tomorrow.
Sit On (Something)
- Meaning: Delay revealing or acting on something
- Example: That’s valuable information you have about the company’s stock price. Could you sit on it until tomorrow so I can get some money together?
- Meaning: A sneak peek is an opportunity to view something in advance of its official opening or debut.
- Example: The new stadium isn’t open yet, but the city is opening it for a sneak peek today – let’s go!
Take Five (Ten)
- Meaning: Take a short break of five (ten) minutes
- Example: OK, we’ve been going at this for two hours. Why don’t you all take five while I call headquarters and update them?
Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF)
- Meaning: Let’s be happy that the workweek is over!
- Example: TGIF! I don’t want to think about work again until Monday morning.
You Snooze, You Lose
- Meaning: If you delay or are not alert, you will miss opportunities.
- Example: Sorry, the stoves that are on sale are already sold out. You snooze, you lose!