Cut back

When you cut back on something, you reduce the amount of money, time or energy that you spend on it. If you decide to cut back on an activity, it’s likely because it was being done in excess.

We usually use "cut back" with “on” and then a description of the activity. It can also be used without “on,” especially if the expression is placed at the end of a sentence. 

Take it easy

If you relaxed over the weekend, then you took it easy. We use the expression "take it easy" in two ways. First, you can use it to say that you relaxed and did not do any difficult or tiring activities. Second, you can use it to say that you remained calm or avoided situations that could have caused stress or anger. "Take it easy" can be conjugated in the past, present, and future.

Stay on top of something

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:

Above and beyond

If you do more than is expected of you, then you go above and beyond. Companies are fortunate to have employees who go above and beyond because it typically means that they do more than their job description.

This expression is positive and is used to bring attention to someone’s outstanding work. If someone went above and beyond, it means that they completed what was required of them and then chose to do additional work on top of that. Here are a few examples:

The big picture

When we look at the big picture, we view a situation as a whole. We do not focus on the small details of its individual parts.

Have you ever worked on a long-term project that was delayed because too much time was spent on the small details? When we look at the big picture, we focus on the most important facts of a situation. We then evaluate how those facts will affect the overall situation in the future. 

Keep in mind

If you need to remember information that could be important or useful at a later time, you can keep it in mind.

If you keep someone in mind, it means that they remain in your thoughts. This could be for personal or professional reasons. 

You can use this phrase as a reminder, warning, or statement. It can be used in the past, present, and future tenses by conjugating the verb "keep." You can also modify this expression by adding a noun or pronoun in between "keep" and "in mind." Here are a few examples:

Pencil in

If you are putting something or someone on your schedule or to-do list with the knowledge that it may change later, you can say you will pencil it in.

You can use "it" to specify an event and "you" if you are talking to the person you are making the plans with. 

Here are some examples of how to use this phrase:

Circle back

If a conversation is going in a new direction and you want to return to a previous point, you can circle back.

In business, it’s very common for discussions to be directed away from the main point as new ideas, issues, or related topics come up. If you would like to refocus everyone’s attention to the main point of a discussion, you can circle back to it.

You can use this expression as a statement or a question. Here are some examples of how to use this phrase: