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At your earliest convenience is a common business phrase that means “as soon as you possibly can without imposing on your urgent tasks.”
Please inform me of your decision at your earliest convenience.
Although it is a polite expression, it can be easily misinterpreted. We’ll explain more below.
How to use “at your earliest convenience”
The expression at your earliest convenience is typically found towards the end of business emails or messages when one is requesting something.
The charity drive was a success! Thank you for all your hard work. The next step is to send all the photographs to the attendees. Can you please upload and send me those files at your earliest convenience?
At your earliest convenience is polite and formal and can mean “whenever you can” or “as soon as possible.” And that’s where the problem arises—it can easily lead to miscommunication.
For example, imagine you need your coworker’s help with something. If you end the email with “…at your earliest convenience,” they may not know if your request is urgent or if they can get to it at a later time.
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Ten alternatives for “at your earliest convenience”
Fortunately, there are several synonymous phrases you can use that will help remove ambiguity from your writing.
If you need something done urgently, you can use any of the following options:
1. As soon as possible
Can you please reply to the customer’s email as soon as possible?
2. As promptly as you can
Kindly mail out the package as promptly as you can.
3. With prompt attention
This needs to be resolved with prompt attention.
4. Without undue delay
Please inform me of your decision without undue delay.
5. Specific date/time
Let’s discuss this on Monday, March 18th, at 3:00 PM.
If your request is not time-critical, consider using any of the following alternatives for more straightforward communication:
6. At a time that works for you
Let’s meet and brainstorm at a time that works best for you.
7. When you find a moment
Please return her phone call when you find a moment.
8. When your schedule permits
We should talk about this over lunch when your schedule permits.
9. Whenever you can
Please let me know what your thoughts are on this whenever you can.
10. Whenever you have time
I would love to pick your brain on the merger whenever you have time.
Avoid “At My Earliest Convenience”
Perhaps you’ve come across the expression at my earliest convenience and are curious whether it’s suitable for business communication. We suggest you avoid using this phrase.
Yes, it means “as soon as I can.” However, just like as per my last email, it can come off as rude because it can be misinterpreted as “I’ll get to that whenever I complete my more important tasks.”
We’re sure that’s not what you mean, but to avoid any misunderstandings, you can use any of the following alternatives found below:
1. As soon as I can
I’ll call you back as soon as I can.
2. As soon as possible
I’ll revise the draft and send it back to you as soon as possible.
3. Whenever I get the chance
I’m swamped, but I’ll make sure to complete that whenever I get the chance.
4. As quickly as I can manage
That’ll be completed as quickly as I can manage.
5. Once I am free to do so
I’ll respond with a more detailed answer once I am free to do so.
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