Learning Idioms in Context The Productive Life of James

Here is a story about a man who is a good leader with excellent time management. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

When he was in his teenage years, James was a shy boy living in a small apartment. He had many days of loneliness and failure. But after he experienced the beauty of being outspoken, James had changed to a man full of confidence. With this, he became the class president when he went to college and fulfilled the task with a heart. When a class project was too complicated and took a long time to finish, he realized the need to have a break to be more productive. With this, he decided to call it a day to have enough rest.

After his busy day, James used to meditate, which helped him manage the stress a student’s life may bring. Of course, time management is vital as he gave a minute to do the planning for the whole week. As they say, waste not, want not. After years passed, James became a manager of a digital marketing company. He was known to cut some slack to his staff. He gave freedom to his staff and put no pressure on his work environment. Additionally, he used to wrap his head around the issue of team management, but he was able to face it.

James was very popular because of his outstanding work ethics. He was able to see eye to eye with all his staff about the goal of a specific task and finish it on schedule. This made him a good leader. He was able to listen to others to meet a common goal. These qualities made him victorious. While his life gave him some reasons to be sad, James believed that there were a lot more good reasons to be happy. 

Call it a day

  • to stop, finish or give up like a day’s work or any regular activity and go back to home 
Example Sentences

The team realized that they were unable to complete the project, so they decided to call it a day.

Kara and Mia decided to call it a day and visited their friend’s house.

A: May we call it a day

B: I’m getting a little tired now. We still have a week left to do this.  

Cut somebody some slack

  • to give someone more freedom or allow someone to relax and not put any pressure
Example Sentences

The manager cut some slack to the new staff.

Martha was cooking for the first time and told her friends to cut some slack as she was not an expert at all.

Father: I see that your grades don’t improve at all, and you still want to sign up for a swimming class? 

Son: Cut me some slack, Dad! I always obey you. Can you allow me to do something I want to do?

Wrap your head around something

  •  to have a difficulty understanding something that can be very challenging or confusing
Example Sentences

John bought an expensive bracelet, but I could not wrap my head around her reason for getting it.  

I need the assistance of an accountant because I can no longer wrap my head around these tax forms. 

A: Hi, Emma. It’s been a few weeks that you are studying the data on file. What is going on?

B: Yes, this is not an easy job. It will take longer to wrap my head around this new policy.  

We see eye to eye

  • to fully agree with someone or to have a similar view/opinion on something
Example Sentences

My parents and I are at peace now, as we see eye to eye about my decision to study abroad next year.

I’m so happy that we see eye to eye on what to watch on Netflix.

A: I heard you are getting married next year. What made you conclude that you will settle with Sara? 

B: We see eye to eye about almost everything— career, having children, and interest.

Waste not, want not

  • to use something wisely and never waste anything so that you can use something when you are in need
Example Sentences

It is best to plan your weekly meals so that you can buy what you only need to prepare meals. Waste not, want not

You have to share this food with your friends because you cannot consume them before they expire. Next time you have to buy what you need. Waste not, want not.

A: My notebook has no enough pages for me to write my notes during our lecture.

B. That is because you did not write on both sides of your notebook’s pages. Next time, make sure to do that. Waste not, want not.


1. The leader will ________________ too early because she needs to attend a meeting in the next few minutes.

2. Liza _________________ in her daughter’s study time.

3. I called my mom to assist me in cooking spaghetti as I can no longer _________________ these procedures in preparing it.

4. My girlfriend agreed to marry me as __________________ with many things.

5. Adam has the habit of planning his weekly to do’s. “__________________,” he said.

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