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Are you Super Busy? Use These 8 Work Idioms! [Podcast]

Are you very busy at the moment? Learn how to express yourself in this situation with our 8 new business idioms. You can read the transcription below and download the PDF with explanations and examples.

Idioms for when you are busy

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Talaera Talks – Transcript Bit 10

Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we’re going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!

Welcome back for another Talaera Bit. This is Simon, and wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well. So let’s get into it. When you are very busy! this is the topic around today’s vocabulary. So specifically with our business idioms and our phrases, what I’m going to do is, like always, put them into a story and see if you can find the meaning before we actually get into the vocabulary and the definitions. So here we go.

I recently started a new job. And you know, at first, I was excited because in the interview, they said, you’re going to get a ton of experience. Right away, we need all hands on deck for this new project that we’re doing. I was really excited and jumped right in. And at the beginning, I realized that maybe I bit off more than I could chew because I was swamped with a ton of work. Eventually, day after day, and being in this rat race and just having so much on my plate every day this started to wear on me. And to be honest with you, I got a bit burnt out. After a while, I got the courage and I told my boss I said, Listen, I need to let my hair down. And I was really happy because she let me go on vacation and I could relax. And so yeah, I went and had a great two weeks in Thailand. And you know, now I have a much better idea on work-life balance. I still have a lot of irons in the fire. But now it’s much more manageable.

Okay, so let’s go through that.

#1 They said they needed all hands on deck for this new project. All hands on deck. Well, of course, you can probably tell that comes from a ship where we need a lot of people. Basically everyone on the ship together to work on some challenge or some project.

#2 At the beginning, I realized I bit off more than I could chew. I’m sure everyone’s had that experience where they’ve been eating some delicious food and they took a really big bite. And then halfway through you thought, Oh yeah, I bit off way more than I could chew. So you really took on too much.

#3 I realized then that I was swamped. I was swamped with work. So when you’re swamped with work, you have work piling up all around you another way of saying that I have just so much work right now I’m swamped.

#4 So I was in the rat race every day when you’re in the rat race. When you’re in the rat race, right? We’re talking about some continuous stressful job in modern society where it’s all about power and money. And it’s just oh, I’m in the rat race. And you don’t really see a lot of meaning to it. Some people do. But some people say hey, listen, I had to get out of the rat race, you know?

#5 Having a lot on your plate. So similar to the bit off more than I could chew, having a lot on your plate… When I have a lot on my plate, it’s I took on so much more food than I can actually eat. It’s like, Oh, I have a lot on my plate. Maybe I can eat through this. Maybe I can’t, but I have a lot of stuff I’m doing.

#6 And if you do that, eventually you might get burnt out. So yeah, by burnout, right? It’s when you’re done, you’re tired. You don’t want to do anymore. You’re just overwhelmed.

#7 I told my boss I needed to let my hair down. Right? So I needed to go and relax. Now me personally, I’m bald. I don’t have any hair. But the idea behind this expression is that you’re letting your hair down. you’re relaxing.

#8 And then I said I still have some irons in the fire. Some irons in the fire… So that means you still have a few different things going on you have some different plans or tasks and one of them or a couple of them may work out.

So again go through this recording a few times and stop and play wherever suits you best try to implement this vocabulary. You’re not going to learn it just by one listen you need to try and implement it again and again. Go through it a couple of times and hopefully you can use it in a different situation now. So, as always, I hope you enjoy and keep learning!

And that’s all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We’ll be back soon with more! And visit our website at for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!

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Idioms for when you are busy

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