“As soon as possible” can encourage someone to be urgent. It can set a timeframe or deadline that something must be completed by, and we can use it effectively in many cases. However, this article will look at some more suitable polite alternatives to the phrase.
What Can I Say Instead Of “As Soon As Possible”?
There are plenty of replacements for “as soon as possible” that we can use. The best ones we want to cover here are:
- At your earliest convenience
- As soon as you get a chance
- Please make this task your top priority
- I would appreciate your immediate attention
- Please expedite this task
- Time is of the essence
The preferred version is “at your earliest convenience.” We can politely ask somebody to start working on a new task or project. The idea is that they should do so when it is “convenient” to them, but the implication is that we want them to hurry the process along.
At Your Earliest Convenience
“At your earliest convenience” is an idiom we use to show that we have an important task lined up. We can ask somebody to do it “at their earliest convenience,” meaning that when they have a spare minute, we would really appreciate their assistance.
While some people might believe that means that we can work on the task at our own pace, this isn’t common practice.
Instead, if you hear this phrase from your boss, it means you should work on the task as soon as you can. You have a chance to finish your current task, but your boss has likely set you a new task with the aim of you completing it promptly.
It’s just a polite alternative to “as soon as possible,” and you should make sure that the “convenience” suits your boss. They expect the task to be finished within a certain time frame (based on the length of the task).
Here’s how it works:
- I would like to see you working on that document at your earliest convenience.
- I have a new spreadsheet I need you to sort out at your earliest convenience.
- At your earliest convenience, could you please make yourself available in my office?
As Soon As You Get A Chance
“As soon as you get a chance” replaces “possible” with “get a chance.” It’s a slightly more friendly way of saying that something needs to be completed fairly quickly, and we would appreciate someone’s attention on the matter as soon as they can give it.
Again, your boss is not asking you to waste time with other tasks first. Instead, they are simply saying that they have a new task that they’d like for you to work on.
Once you’ve completed your current one, they will ask that you immediately work on the new one. It’s a common tactic for bosses to use phrases like this to encourage their employees to hurry their workload along.
Here are some examples of how it works:
- As soon as you get a chance, I would love to see what you’ve got prepared for the meeting tomorrow.
- I need to see you as soon as you get a chance to discuss the previous email.
- I thought I’d give you this task to work on as soon as you get a chance.
Please Make This Task Your Top Priority
“Please make this task your top priority” is another polite method to encourage urgency. Referring to a new task as a “top priority” sets it above the rest of the tasks given to someone on a working day. That way, we know that it needs to be finished quickly.
Unlike the previous two phrases, there is no confusion with this phrase. When something is given to us with a “top priority” to finish it, it means the boss expects it done.
If you do not stop everything to start working on this task, the boss will likely be annoyed by your performance. It’s good practice to take what they say with “top priority” literally and start working as soon as we get the chance.
These examples will show you how it works:
- Please make this task your top priority, and scratch all other tasks off your list.
- Please make this data-entry task your top priority. I want it on my desk by the end of the day.
- Please make this task your top priority. The next email you send me should be about you completing it.
I Would Appreciate Your Immediate Attention
“I would appreciate your immediate attention” is another way to stop someone from working on their current task. “Immediate attention” shows that something is vitally important, and we want our employees to turn all of their focus onto it.
The idea is that even if they’re already working on something, they should stop immediately. Even if that means they will stop halfway through a completed job, the new job is much more valuable to us.
If they then do not complete the task with “immediate attention,” your boss will know. It’s typical that bosses will set specific timelines or deadlines based on tasks like this, so you should watch out for these and make sure you don’t go over them.
Here is what we mean by that:
- I would appreciate your immediate attention to this document. I need you to fill it all out by the end of lunch.
- I would appreciate your immediate attention to this email. If you do not reply, I will be forced to take action.
- I would appreciate your immediate attention to this spreadsheet. Please complete it and send it back to me by day’s end.
Please Expedite This Task
“Please expedite this task” is another way to show that we want the procedure to be hurried along. “Expedite” means to “hurry” something, which means someone must stop what they’re doing and hurry to start the new task given to them.
Again, it’s just a polite way for a boss to ask an employee to get a new task done.
“Please” is mostly a placeholder here. While it works to show that your boss is trying to be polite, it does not necessarily hold any weight. After all, the statement “expedite this task” already says everything needed about hurrying production along.
These examples will explain all you need to know:
- Please expedite the data-entry sheet so that I can see it on my desk by Friday.
- Please expedite this task. I will permit you to include one other to help you complete it.
- Please expedite this task before I lose my patience with it.
Time Is Of The Essence
“Time is of the essence” is not a particularly common phrase, but it works well when you want to hurry someone’s productivity. You might not hear it much formally anymore, but using this shows that there is an unspecified deadline that must be met.
Typically, “time is of the essence” doesn’t have an exact time limit. Instead, it’s a boss’s way of showing their employees that they want them to hurry up and be as fast as they can.
Sometimes, a deadline will be stated, though this isn’t always common. It’s an old-fashioned phrase, where specific deadlines were never the intention.
You might see it in the following ways:
- I would appreciate speed on this one. Time is of the essence, so please get it done.
- This is a very important document that needs completing by the end of this month. Time is of the essence here.
- Time is of the essence. We must work together to get this finished in time now.
Is It Polite To Say “As Soon As Possible”?
While all of the above alternatives are great, we haven’t touched on the politeness of the original phrase. It might help you to understand whether it’s worth using in any case.
“As soon as possible” is usually polite, but it can be seen as rude or problematic when it’s used to rush somebody. Some people will take offense if there isn’t a current deadline set for something and you suddenly say “as soon as possible” to rush production along.
For the most part, you’ll use the phrase with family, friends, or other informal situations. It’s not typical to come across it formally as there are better formal options.
However, if you have a boss who likes to set deadlines of “as soon as possible,” you might understand why it’s not the most polite phrase.
It usually works when your boss wants to set an unnecessary or impossible target for you or a team to hit. It causes undue stress and usually means the work is rushed to the point of uselessness. That’s why “as soon as possible” isn’t always the most polite.
Is “Soonest Possible” Correct?
“Soonest possible” is not correct. While both “soonest” and “possible” are words, we cannot use them together in this context. It holds no meaning, and it does not allow for somebody to understand that something must be completed “as soon as possible.”
You may also like:
“At Your Earliest Convenience”: Meaning & Alternatives (+8 Examples)
11 Other Ways To Say “Hurry Up”
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.