Is there a short and casual way (one or two words or the like) to express that whereas something is truly important, the exact timing of when it gets handled or completes does not greatly affect overall plans?

Saying not urgent isn't useful because that implies everything else is urgent which would really be a distortion and lead to a digression into strange discourse. It also implies we only do what's urgent which would be a rather grim way of describing a mode of operation unless you're in emergency mode all of the time.

Maybe something like postponable but I'm not sure this is a very proper or accessible word, it's also tilting towards a negative connotation. In mathematical style the answer may have been something like not time-sensitive or something like that, but that only resonates with about 0.2 percent of literate human beings or less...

The meaning I am after is something positive that also conveys 'this will be great and awaited but time is not a factor relative to other things'. Only much more concisely if possible....


10 Answers 10


Put it in the 'pending' tray Don't file it. Put it where it will be kept under review.

Let's put it on the back burner. In other words let it bubble away and we will see to it shortly.

Kick it into the long grass It will be out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Hopefully everyone will forget all about it.

  • Nice! but very loooong. Also they all (?) imply negligible importance and not only cleanly the timing aspect. – matt Feb 12 '14 at 0:35
  • @matt 'Let's put it on the back burner' may connote (as may all the other suggestions) but does not demand 'negligible importance': you're still keeping it warm. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 4 '15 at 23:25
  • Where does "back burner" originally come from? – matt Feb 5 '15 at 7:49

I think not pressing.

This item is valuable but not pressing.

By using pressing, you make the temporal urgency negative in tone and thus it negation has a positive tone. (Note that the tenses are opposite).

  • Yeah, but it still leaves a taste of negativity even after the negation of the negative. +1 for using the word temporal. – matt Feb 18 '14 at 21:34

In a business context, you frequently hear "let's table that for now."

  • 1
    In American meetings, yes, but pretty much everywhere else 'tabling' stuff means put it up for discussion. – Frank Feb 2 '15 at 16:58

In addition to WS2's idioms, I might recommend add it to the bucket list, or, it's on the bucket list, meaning, I want to do it before I die (kick the bucket).

  • Cute. Not sure this is entirely positive :) – matt Feb 18 '14 at 21:23


on hold for now

on hold for the moment

Both suggest that it needs to be dealt with in the (near) future.


Important, but not urgent, conveys that it is not particularly time-sensitive but is nonetheless not to be forgotten.

  • I think I'll settle for important and less time-sensitive for whenever there's time to explain the meaning to confirm the communication. Everything juxtaposing importance with urgency seems to confuse real-life people more than being efficient communication for them, and also sounds like a polite way of deferring something to eternity. It also feels like telling people they don't prioritize well enough rather than suggesting a refined point of view about timing. Just my thoughts. – matt Feb 18 '14 at 21:31

"This can wait" = "Maybe later?"

In conversation, if you want assert it can wait, this may cause resistance, because it does not take into account the other's preferences or way of doing things. You can also formulate it as a question. "Are you able to wait with this?", "Can you do that later?", "We have five minutes to get to the bus, so maybe later?", "Would you do me a favor and come now?",

Or rather than ask, interject that you appreciate a change of action: "I'd appreciate it if you could do that later", "On our list of priorities, this comes fourth. Let's concentrate on getting the top of the list cleared", "Would you like to help me with this other thing?"

Or indicate what your reasons are for considering it lower in priority. "I'm really tired, can I first take a nap?", "I am so excited from the news, can I get a glass of water first?", "O gosh, I just notice that I've got a flat tire, let's first call road assistance".

Many other things may be possible.


This is important, but it does not take priority (over your other assigned tasks).

I normally say something like "We need to get this done, but it's not top priority".


Let's put a pin in it. We will address it at a later date.


"No worries." You haven't gotten to it yet, but that's perfectly OK.

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