Yes, it is okay to say “at your earliest convenience.” However, as polite as it sounds, it is overly polite in the sense that it may sound too unofficial, especially in an office setting or in a scenario where you ought to appear official.
For example, while not disputing the fact that saying at your earliest convenience is polite, it may not be used when writing a letter of application or any letter at all because everyone wants a quick answer.
So, Instead of saying an employee should send their task in at their earliest convenience, it is much better to give them a clearly defined time of submission.
This is why you may end a formal letter by saying, “I anticipate your response,” rather than telling the receiver to reach out to you at their earliest convenience, because it may seem too rude to some employers, even though it may not seem so to others.
14 Alternatives to “At Your Earliest Convenience”
Most importantly, instead of saying at your earliest convenience, you can simply go direct and fix a specific time for delivery.
However, there are more phrases to use in place of “at your earliest convenience.”
Due to the fact that they are much more direct, this will cause you to come closer to your set objectives than when you move based on convenience.
On the other hand, you can say any of these instead:
- Right away
- I anticipate your response currently.
- Now Please
- By next week because we need them organized as soon as possible.
- What about now?
- Anytime Today you feel it’s best
- Before 6:00 p.m.
- By the end of the month
- I will appreciate it if it is done at the moment.
- At the end of today
- Within an hour
- It’s an emergency.
- Please respond immediately
Since “at your earliest convenience” shows no specificity, you may not get to meet the objective you set if you are not specific about what you want and the time you want it.
So, giving someone an open book to do what you want them to at their convenience may not end as favorably as you think.
Instead of saying that they can accomplish the task at their earliest convenience, say that they should right away.
Truth be told, if certain people observe and know so well that you practice this kind of behavior, then someone who is procrastinating or lazy to work may find it difficult to work with you sometimes.
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I Need A Response As We Speak
Not everyone can express themselves through words or phone calls; they may express themselves better when they are questioned face-to-face and have physical contact.
In a situation where you need an urgent or crucial answer, you can’t wait forever or take so long to get one. In fact, it will be much better to get it just as you converse face-to-face.
There are times you may need to make decisions, and in order to know how someone feels about that situation, you can simply ask them for a response as you speak with them and not at their earliest convenience, which may cause the situation at hand to escalate.
When you make a request to someone or ask someone for a favor, it is possible that they may ask you for a time frame of delivery.
In that case, you shouldn’t give them a date in mind; simply make your request and include “Please.”
For instance, you can say to someone whose book is in their bag on the shelf, “Can I get your book now, please?” instead of “Can I get your book at your earliest convenience?”
Now, “please” also sounds polite, and aside from being polite, it seems to be more powerful when it comes to getting what you need to be done on time, especially when you delegate something to someone.
So, when you use “now please” in place of “at your earliest convenience,” beyond expressing politeness, you seem to be more organized than simply saying something without a clear picture.
By Next Week Because We Need Them Organised
Why not say, “Get the files ready by next week because we need them organized” rather than “Get the files ready at your earliest convenience”?
It is possible that their convenient time may be next month, while the documents are needed way before that time.
This may cause a clash, resulting in a mix-up, or even depict that the people involved aren’t competent.
So, in order to free yourself from everything that makes you not meet deadlines or make you look incompetent, like not being specific, you ought to avoid them.
When you say this to a worker, they begin to make room to focus on accomplishing the task you gave them since they’ve got a bigger picture in view.
On the other hand, if you tell them to submit a task at their earliest convenience and you have a timeframe in mind that you don’t tell them, they may not meet up to your expectations, and their reasons may be so genuine.
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What About Now?
When you make a request of someone, you must not infringe on their time. Do not make decisions for them also.
Simply state your request and permit them to decide. In a situation where they are lenient enough to permit you to make a choice as regards when you want the work executed or when you want their contribution, you can simply ask them in return, “What about now?”
Who knows if you are graced to meet them at a time when they do not have work at hand; your request may be granted on the spot.
Action takers take this step a lot; they do not wait for convenience but rather look for ways to accomplish what they have set bit by bit.
This is why they can say to someone who they want to do a favor for them, “What about now?” They do not only train themselves to be this disciplined; everyone around them feels the impact as well.
Anytime Today You Feel It’s Best
Instead of giving someone an open check to decide when they should perform a task that you may be paying for, you can tell them to take their time but revert back with your response that same day.
This polite statement is not as imposing as you may think since they have work at hand and may not be able to get back to you at that exact moment, but they can get back to you anytime that day.
This is most suitable and straightforward, as someone’s earliest convenience can be within the next week.
But you can only politely tell someone that they can accomplish their task today at any time that they feel is best.
This can replace “at your earliest convenience,” especially if you are aware that the task you want to work on is not so burdensome and the person who should go to work has some free time that day that may not extend to the next.
Before 6:00 p.m
You can include a specific time that you need your job to be executed. So, instead of saying that someone should pay attention to a work that you have placed in their hands at their earliest convenience, give them a specific time and, if possible, a location.
This will cause you to focus and arrange your work in a way that it may not get so difficult to understand.
But while giving someone a specific time to deliver a task, you need to be considerate and know the person’s circumstances and the situations that they are surrounded with so that what you expect will not end up being pointless.
However, you should make it an opinion for them, except if you are in a situation where they ask you for the time of remittance or you are obligated to give them a time.
But if that is not the case, then you should make the suggestion to them so that it doesn’t seem like you are encroaching on their space.
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By The End Of The Month
When you ask someone to submit their proposal at their earliest convenience, they may give you some extra work by submitting it during a period when you are so busy and may not have the time to attend to the situation at hand.
However, you can promote a smooth flow in your relationship by giving them a frame of time to submit their proposal to you.
You can tell them to bring it by the end of the month. This is much better than telling them to submit at their convenience, which may not be convenient for you.
When you are with them, they will allocate certain hours every week to ensure that everything is set before the month comes to an end.
Otherwise, a worker’s earliest convenience may not be so early.
As they finish work and return home, they may have other activities to complete, and to them, that may be the most convenient time for those activities while yours remain pending and the office time may not accommodate all they have to do.
I Will Appreciate It If It Is Done At The Moment
There is no need to postpone a task that can be done at the moment.
But asking someone to reach out to you may mean the opposite; maybe they will be shy to reach out immediately, or something urgent may take their attention away immediately, and they will move away from the point where we were having a conversation.
In this case, you ought to tell them that it is best if you say what you have to say or do what you want to do at the moment and not leave it till later.
Many great objectives have been aborted as a result of this. Once a party or both parties agree that they will continue with their plans at their earliest convenience, they may have less time to execute what they wanted to.
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At The End Of Today
Do not say that someone should respond to you at their earliest convenience when you know in your heart that you need a quick reply to something or someone, you shouldn’t pretend or act like you do not want to put them under pressure; who knows, it is just in your mind and they do not feel that way.
In that situation, you ought to tell them that you need their response or their perspective on a matter at the end of the day rather than at their earliest convenience.
Ensure that they give you a time that they will begin and end work deliberately, not necessarily their “convenient time.”
Why ruminate on a decision when you can get a quick reply? Instead of giving so much time, which may eventually lead to a delay, you can simply slate the meeting for now.
Tell the persons involved that their earliest convenience may be too far because most times that’s the truth.
Lazy people and procrastinators always love to say that they will do this and that, which they ought to do at their earliest convenience.
So, when you tell yourself or someone else that you need to do something now and not at your convenience, you step out of your comfort zone and get your tasks done on time.
Within An Hour
When someone asks you, ‘At what time do you want me to do this or have that?’
Give them a direct response that will ensure that they do what they should right away and, if possible, within an hour because their earliest convenience can be so long that it may discourage you or not produce anything fruitful at all.
So, ‘within an hour’ is a better response than ‘at your earliest convenience.’
For organization’s sake and timely execution’s sake, you can give hourly assignments.
And do not let it seem as though people won’t give you their best at their earliest convenience; it doesn’t always work perfectly, especially in office settings.
After weighing their capacity, you can tell them, “Submit the files in the next hour.”
You can as well do this to make them stretch themselves out of the place they used to be mentally, but in this situation, you can give them briefings about what they should do and what you expect.
Related Reading: Polite Ways to Say “For Your Information”
It’s An Emergency
When you give someone a deadline, it is possible that they will think you simply want them to wrap up a task immediately.
However, you need to show them how much you need what you ask for. Simply say that it is an emergency so that they will find a way to come up with a solution or accomplish the task you gave them in a hurry.
Most times, someone who is told this is out of this rush because they are competent and are trusted that they will deliver the work without having complaints or finding faults in what they do.
After giving someone a clearly defined time for the delivery of a task, it is possible that they may want to push it to their “earliest convenient time.”
However, you may respond in view of the situation that you are faced with at that moment, and if there is no more time to spare, tell them that it is an emergency.
At this point, they may try to do things as they wish, but you can remind them about their commitment to being excellent and, if possible, raise their pay to appreciate them for their time.
Please Respond Immediately
For yes-or-no answers, you can request answers from someone on the spot of your conversation.
However, you should insist on a prompt response if you need one so that people do not take so much time waiting to reply to you at their convenience when what you need to go further could simply be their yes-or-no response.
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It is possible that because you are calm-headed and want everyone and everything around you to be calm, you decide to give a free hand to certain things and people around you.
This could include you permitting them to do a given task at their convenience.
So, after delegating a task to them, when they ask you, ‘When should I come back with a response?’ your response may be, ‘At your earliest convenience.’
As nice as this sounds, it is most important to be specific, as this will grant them more discipline toward their work. I trust you learned something.