What ASAP Really Means
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.