Have you done an online search to find productivity tips? If you have, you may have discovered that the authors often use idioms and specific expressions whose meaning may not be immediately obvious. Here are four idioms which I come across a lot but please feel free to send me some more in the comments below so I can include them in the next article and help learners of English better understand these business expressions. 

One important thing about productivity is the ability to prioritise and decide which tasks are more urgent and more important. Sometimes things change so a project which was very important at one time now becomes less important or not possible to do maybe because there is not enough money in the budget or a key person is on holiday or on sick leave…

So then, it’s time to put this project on ice, meaning to not work on it for a while until it becomes important or possible to continue working on this project.

if you don’t prioritize well and don’t deal with your tasks in a timely manner or if you haven’t learned how to say no, you will find yourself in a situation where you have way too much work to do. You can feel like you are under a mountain of snow and you cannot manage the massive workload. Then you can say that you are snowed under with work. This is a god time to see if you can deelegate some tasks to other people or put some things on ice until you deal with the more important issues.

One of the meanings of PULL is to carry out, do, to succeed in doing something that is difficult. And an all-nighter is a clever way to make a noun from the adverbial phrase all night long. So the meaning here is  to stay awake all night long, especially to study or to complete something.  Do you sometimes have to pull an all-nighter? 

What does it mean to nip something in the bud? 
Well, let’s start with NIP. One of its meanings is to pinch something sharply so that you cut it off: “she nipped the dead flowers from the plant”. Now let’s look at BUD. BUD here means “a small part that grows on a plant and later develops into a flower”. You can see two buds in this picture. So, if you cut off the bud, the flower will have no chance to grow. Although this would be bad, the meaning of the phrase “to nip something in the bud” is usually positive. We use it to talk about problems which we want to stop before they become bigger and more serious. Here is one sentence from Forbes magazine: “Stress can eventually hinder your productivity, so you want to nip it in the bud whenever possible.” Or consider this one: “Many serious illnesses can be nipped in the bud if they are detected early enough”.

Now, the best way to remember idioms & expressions like this one is to use them yourself when you write or speak. You can start right here: Can you give an example in the comments of something you would like to Nip in the bud before it becomes an even bigger? Or can you talk about why you are snowed in? When is the last time you had to pull an all-nighter? I will be happy to give you some feedback or correct your sentences if you would like that.

PS. If you want to learn new expressions every day, follow me on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM where I post one picture with an idiom, a grammar dilemma, a proverb, a quote or something else every day.

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