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Stay On Top of Things
Stay On Top of Things English, baby! Video Lesson

Learn English: Meaning of idiom 'stay on top of things'

Date: Mar 03 2015

Themes: School, Soap Opera, Time, Work

Grammar: Prepositions


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Have you ever watched someone’s children for them? Kids sometimes run around like crazy, doing things you don’t expect them to do. You have to watch carefully, because children can put strange things in their mouths, jump from high places, or draw on the furniture. You really have to stay close. You need to stay on top of things.

To stay on top of things means to know and control what’s happening in a situation. It’s important to stay on top of things when you’re in school full-time or you could do badly in class. You should stay on top of things if you have an overwhelming job and have to juggle many things at once. Using a planner or an alarm clock can help, but sometimes it’s just about paying attention.

Joun Kim is excellent at time management, and Gary, Brian, and Marni all want to know how she does it. Find out more in today’s English lesson.

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Brian:  So, when did Jessica give you the news?

Joun Kim: She called me yesterday. I’m supposed to meet her at 3pm.

Marni:  That’s in 15 minutes, so we have time to find out all about you.

Gary:  Where are you from?

Joun Kim: I’m from Korea. I’m studying English at the university for a year.

Brian:  Are you a full-time student?

Joun Kim: Yes, I’m taking four classes right now.

Marni:  That sounds overwhelming. How do you stay on top of things?

Joun Kim: I’m really good at time management.

Gary:  Do you use a planner?

Joun Kim: Definitely. All the time. It helps me prioritize what I need to do next.

Brian:  How do you juggle all of those responsibilities?

Marni:  Do you make lists? That helps me a lot.

Joun Kim: I do. I also use my alarm to remind me when I have something to do.

Gary:  Your alarm clock?

Joun Kim: The one on my phone. If I have an important meeting or homework due, the alarm rings.

Brian:  Wow. No wonder you can stay on top of things.

Gary:  You could learn a lot from Joun Kim.

Brian:  What? What are you trying to say?

Marni:  Boys…


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Joun Kim is a very busy person. She’s a full-time student taking four classes, and she’s about to begin working at StarScoop.com. How can she possibly do so many things at once? Marni, Gary, and Brian want to know how Joun Kim does it.

Joun Kim says she’s just very good at using her time well. She writes things down in her planner, and she uses the clock on her phone to tell her when something important is going to happen. It can be difficult, but Joun Kim has her own system, and it seems to be working.

How do you stay on top of things?



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When I worked at the internet store it was important and helpful to manage my time. I used to set the alarm clock and used the planner program on my working PC.

This Korean girl is very smart as for me. Are not she?

01:56 PM May 30 2015 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I was busy man until last year.I worked as mechanical expert in a factory.I was managing director in a company that constructured building for workepeople that worked in above factory.I was working as a building contractor in my company and I was student of master!!!!

One day i thought that i couldn’t spent time for my wife and son so my brain is very tired then decided to decrease my work and responsibility.Now i have good life with my family.

04:08 PM Mar 08 2015 |

2 people like this




Wow i saw the video right now.Does spring is the reason for Brian and Gary change their image?Look Brian had his hair tired and his face seems like put heavy blusher ,gary got beared.It is the time for everyone make a change?

10:27 AM Mar 04 2015 |



Good advices to stay on top of things. i think that a good idea to do mnay things at once is prioritize them and be very tidy. =)

12:13 AM Mar 04 2015 |




I appreciate how Joun Kim doing her works and how she can plan and organize all things what she wants.
Sometimes I can use time management very well but not all time 😊
It must schedule our works to gain best results.
Thank you 😊

06:59 PM Mar 03 2015 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Marni!!! Please let the boys do their conversation.

I am with you boys ;)

06:47 PM Mar 03 2015 |

3 people like this




I have a hard job but I try dont to stay on top of things because I would become crazy xD …but when I’m with my little brother I’m to stay on top of things u.u

05:45 PM Mar 03 2015 |




I respect Joun Kim very much but I could not live my life revolving around the dictatorship of an alarm clock. Well, Kim is Korean, maybe Korean people are very much disciplined and it could be that this discipline is an asset to them. I think that the new employers will greatly benefit if they appointed her as a new member of their staff. 

05:24 PM Mar 03 2015 |




To stay on top of things, you need to make your dayplannner minimum packed. One thing at a time. Lost your time, another planned one is coming – is like a snowball effect, it can be positive and negetive as well. Positive when things are done and you’re stay on top of things and negative and frustrating when the things are not done.

03:15 PM Mar 03 2015 |




I love kids so I’m sensative  about Them 

I hope one day There is no War and . ..

So all people will live in peace , specialy Children ;)

12:18 PM Mar 03 2015 |




I am self-employed , my field of work is plumbing, water leaks, water heaters, new  domestic gas and water  lines , etc.  No matter how much i try i can`t keep up with the load of work, rather to be on  top of things ,things are on top of me . it freaks me out to see  that  i can`t fulfill at the end of the day what i have had written down in my agenda . this is the way it is with my job ,  nothing is going to change , i am a  good planner but there are  unforseen  problems related to my job that  are  beyond my control.

11:42 AM Mar 03 2015 |




I’d like to make a plan to stay on top of things.Finally ,i found there always have two or three things left .


09:54 AM Mar 03 2015 |



Sri Lanka

Staying on top of things is not that easy when I have to juggle with my studies, family and personal interests. 

To ensure that I don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed I also jot down the important events and try to organize my days in an efficient way. 

But still there are times when I feel I’m spreading myself too thin. And I really don’t know how to fix it.

08:14 AM Mar 03 2015 |

andreia silva


I love yo be on the top of things  all the time!

07:30 AM Mar 03 2015 |




I am not really good at time management. 

I have a planner too and I do plan my day like Joun Kim, but something comes up all the time so I can’t fnish every task like I planned. But that’s maybe because I have so many interests and I want to accomplish so much in a limited time.Maybe I should narrow my list down.

05:31 AM Mar 03 2015 |

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