Stay on top of something

A businessman on top of his work.

If you want to be organized, you have to stay on top of your work. When you stay on top of something, you follow it closely to make sure that you're up to date. This means that you are fully in control of the situation and can react quickly if something changes.  

This expression can be used in both personal and professional contexts. The expression is formed using "stay on top of" and then the subject. For example:

  • This is an important issue. Please stay on top of it and send me an update if anything changes.
  • Dana's an excellent student. She always stays on top of her homework.

A. Have you been following the results of the presidential election?
B. Yes, I've been staying on top of the news all day.

Did you know? We also use the expression on top of with that to mean "in addition to" or "furthermore." When used in this way, on top of that tends to have a negative connotation. For example, "I lost my keys this morning, which made me late for work. On top of that, I also spilled coffee on my shirt. It hasn't been a great day so far."