20+ Business English Idioms about Schedules and Planning

Learn common idioms about Schedules in English with meaning and examples.

List of common idioms about schedules in English.

Idioms about Schedules

(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

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.

Busman’s Holiday

  • 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.

Crunch Time

  • 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.

Eleventh Hour

  • 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?

Sneak Peek

  • 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!

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