All in a Day’s Work – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did your boss thank you for putting in the extra effort today? You could say, "it's all in a day's work," to show them they can expect more from you. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression "all in a day's work" refers to work regularly done by someone being part of their normal workday routine. It's a way of being humble about the activity and productivity you produce with your daily grind when other people comment on your success.

Example Usage

"No problem, boss, it's all in a day's work. You can expect me to get better at my job. I'm grateful for the chance you gave me when you hired me to work here."

"It's all in a day's work, honey. Tomorrow I'll put up the shelves in the living room so you can take your books off the coffee table."

"It's nothing. It's all in a day's work. I don't particularly appreciate suiting around doing nothing with my time. I need to keep myself busy and make things happen."

"My boss told me he was impressed with the effort I've been putting into my work lately. It told him it was all in a day's work, and he said he'd give me a promotion if I keep it up."

"I watched an episode of Spiderman on TV yesterday. When the lady he saved thanked him for his help, he said it was all in a day's work. What a hero."

"Time to get up, have a shower and get dressed. I have three appointments today, and I'm going to close all three deals. It's all in a day's work."

"I love my job. I get to help people all day and make a difference in people's lives. People ask me how I do it, and I tell them it's all in a day's work."


The expression "all in a day's work" originates from the 1800s. Language experts believe it comes from the maritime term "a day's work," referring to the reckoning of a vessel's course on the open ocean. The phrase first appeared in writing in 1789.

Sailors would use the term to define the 24 hours between noon to noon the following day. At the time, there was no GPS equipment to help them direct the ship and stay on course. Instead, they would rely on the stars to navigate their course.

The first use of the saying in its modern context arrived in 1926. It appeared in the publication "Printed Ink," where it reads as follows.

"For them, it was all in a day's work to run a regular passenger train from Chicago to Denver."

Phrases Similar to All in a Day’s Work

  • Another day another dollar.

Phrases Opposite to All in a Day’s Work

  • I did nothing today.
  • Why work?

What is the Correct Saying?

  • All in a day’s work.

Ways People May Say All in a Day’s Work Incorrectly

The phrase "all in a day's work" is usually a response to someone thanking you for your hard work and effort. Using it to describe a bad day at the office or doing nothing with your time is the incorrect use f the term.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase All in a Day's Work

You can use the expression "all in a day's work" to describe the feeling of giving your best effort for the day. It means you're productive and accomplished something with your time that day. The phrase suits professional and social situations.

For instance, your boss could thank you for putting in overtime for the day or closing a big deal, and you would reply with "all in a day's work" to let them know they can expect this performance from you on a regular basis. You could use it at home after your partner thanks you for building a kitchen cabinet. The phrase suits verbal exchanges and text-based communications.

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