What ASAP Really Means

When Do You Really Need This Done?
When Do You Really Need This Done?

What does ASAP mean? Most people know that it's an acronym for "As Soon As Possible." But what does it really mean?

Does it mean that you need something done by tomorrow? Or do you need those numbers crunched by lunch time?

When the speaker uses the word "ASAP," they probably mean "I want this done yesterday." Lightning. Urgent. They hope you'll treat this project as if your life depends on it.

But we all know what really happens: The listener interprets ASAP to mean, "Get this done whenever." If he already has projects that need to be done by the end of the day, this "ASAP" project is likely going to be put on the back burner.

Vague and Somewhat Annoying

ASAP is one of those trendy business acronyms that has been thrown around so much that it has lost its impact. It also comes across as patronizing and imperious.

And as I already mentioned, it's subject to multiple interpretations. You might mean tomorrow, but someone else may interpret ASAP as "two weeks from now."

A Better Way to Get Results: Define the Deadline

Instead of saying "I need this done ASAP," be specific.

Tell someone you need the task done by Friday, preferably before 3PM. By being this specific, you allow no room for personal interpretation.

If you aren't specific, don't be surprised if someone doesn't deliver "ASAP." Your project may very well be given less priority than other projects that have the deadlines spelled out.

What do you think? 4 comments

babyboo 7 years ago

it probuly mean {ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER}

Ulan 6 years ago

I found another one while googling "annoying" and "asap": Another Small Annoying Problem. Fits 99% of its uses. I get this acronym on a regular basis from one of my workmates and I tell you it makes my blood pressure go up but then I remind myself of what you wrote above, the meaning is relative and it is no longer so important as it used to be (think RSVP which still has kept its meaning).

iwu godfrey, Nigeria 4 years ago

i luv dis word asap

Rosie 4 years ago

It ussually means "as soon as possible" if u say this u can't expect someone to bring u something when. U waant it cuzz u said as soon as Possible duh

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