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:

Hit the ground running

If you start a new project with the intention to work hard immediately, then you hit the ground running. We use this expression when we are prepared to start a project right from the beginning, with a high level of energy, enthusiasm, and efficiency. 

When we hit the ground running, we do not waste time doing tasks that delay progress. The goal is to achieve success quickly. This usually requires some form of preparation, background knowledge, or related experience. 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:

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:


Have you ever worked on a project that completely changed the way your business operates? If that project was the outstanding achievement that your company needed to grow, it was a game-changer.

We call a person a game-changer if they can drastically affect the outcome of a situation. If you hire a new employee and they introduce visionary ideas and innovative strategies, they could be a game-changer.

Constructive criticism

If you have a well-reasoned recommendation that will help someone improve their performance, you can give them constructive criticism. Constructive criticism usually includes positive and negative feedback and is shared in a friendly, supportive manner.

Constructive criticism is often focused on a particular behavior or quality. The goal is to help the person develop and advance.

Behind the scenes

Set-creation behind the scenes at a theater

When you go to the theater to see a show, you see the actors and the scenery, but you don't see all the people backstage who run the lights and sound, handle the props, or built the set (scenery). All of those people work behind the scenes, behind the scenery you can see on stage.

We use "behind the scenes" in a lot of different contexts, but it always means the same thing—something is done out of public view. Here are just a few examples of how you can use it: