At work, I delegate a lot to people I can but generally should not order around. When a so delegated task is not of immediate importance, I want to communicate this laconically, idiomatically, yet explicitly.

In German a corresponding idiom is "bei Gelegenheit":

"Implementieren Sie bei Gelegenheit bitte diese Schnittstelle."
"Please implement this interface <at a time that suits you>."

The idea is that I then shelve my own work on this task, until they report back - even if that ends up being months later.

I have trouble finding a corresponding expression in English. "Bei Gelegenheit" is translated:

  • into "on occassion" - actually corresponds better to "gelegentlich": "every now and then"
  • into "while you are at it" - https://dict.leo.org provides this, but I think it's just wrong. "Bei Gelegenheit" specifically means that the occassion has not yet arrived and will have to be found later. "While you are at it" presumes that an occassion is already found/planned/known.
  • into "at this opportunity" - Wrong context: No opportunity has occured yet, there is no "this".
    Can I just omit "this" to express the correct meaning?
  • more examples - note that
    • this list is tainted by "bei dieser Gelegenheit" which does correspond to "at this opportunity" and thence does not fit in exactly the same way.
    • most translations simply omit the phrase or replace it with a reference to an event. I cannot do that, as without I'd communicate "As soon as possible - someone is blocked and waiting for it!" whereas if I had such a reference, I'd already prefer to use "while you are at it" or "at this opportunity", that being the more efficient plan where it's possible.

Using "opportunity" like it's done with "occassion": "at opportunity" (without definite article) seems straightforward but it does not feel idiomatic to me, aka. I do not recall seeing such usage "in the wild".

"On occassion" would already fit well enough as a literal(-ish) translation, but for idiomatic usage it is unfortunately tainted by the implied repeat:

  • "visit on occation" - every odd weekend,
  • "check on occation" - every few hours,
  • "dress up on occation" - every odd similar event,


Does such an idiomatic expression exist? I think it must, as surely English workplaces are no exception in that human-to-human communication having implicit default cases is prone to cause misunderstandings and should be avoided.

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    You seem to have answered your own question: "Please implement this interface at a time that suits you", or "... when it suits you". Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 10:37
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    @MichaelHarvey : Well, of course I am able to express the idea in general. I had hoped for a more laconic expression, though. Everything with a subordinate clause - no matter how long it actually is - has an ever so slight air of verbosity to it. (But yes, if no better answers had been forthcoming, I'd have written something like that and called it a day - just wanted to do better.)
    – Zsar
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 13:40
  • "When you have time"? Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 15:15
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    A related phrase, "when you get around to it", spawned a whole industry of punny "round tuit" discs: google.com/search?q=round+tuit
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


Some options:

  • At your convenience. Note: In contrast, "at your earliest convenience" means you need it fast
  • When you can
  • No rush. Note: informal


No rush, you can fill out that paperwork at your convenience. — Farlex Dictionary

"When you can, would you tell him you talked with me?" — Coming Home

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    Agreed. I was about to suggest "at your convenience" or "when you find the time" as well. Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 12:21
  • "At your convenience" sounds really nice. I think the form I heard before was "at your leisure", though - are there significantly different tunes between the two? ... In any case, looks like an accept candidate after the usual 24 hours.
    – Zsar
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 13:36
  • Was going to suggest using "when convenient", which is basically the same thing. Note that you can also put on a little bit of priority by using "next", as in "at you next convenience". That would put this on the #1 spot of low-importance items, and would probably result in them asking you to clarify your timeline: do you want this before Friday, or sometime this month, or what.
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 19:14
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    I use "In your copious spare time," usually with an amusing tone, because it is a joke that everyone laughs at before they help me.
    – fectin
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 1:11
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    @fectin : Cannot recommend. Sarcasm is fun for everyone involved until you accidentally hit the truth instead - then it lands you in a disciplinary talk.
    – Zsar
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 13:34

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