My manager asked me to finish the project as early as possible
Here there is no fixed deadline available but the manager wants me to finish the project soon. Consider the case where there is a deadline but I can take as much time as I want before the deadline to finish the project. In this case, is it appropriate for a person to say, "You can finish the project as late as possible (meaning, you have time to do), but do it before the deadline expires"?
I am looking for an exact opposite phrase for as early as possible. If it is not there, is there a phrase which can capture what I have mentioned in the above mentioned paragraph?