“ASAP” does not mean “Right Now!”

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

How do you react when people ask for something “as soon as possible”?

Do you immediately de-prioritize all your other work? Do you work late that day to complete it right now? Do you sacrifice your sleep and your health to move heaven and earth for every new request?

Remember, oftentimes when people ask for things “as soon as possible”, they aren’t trying to be tyrants, trying to squeeze more out of you in a short amount of time.

They may actually be trying to be helpful — “As soon as possible” to them could mean “As soon as possible, relative to your other commitments” and they are asking you to tell them when they can expect it to be completed.

In short — ASAP, means they expect you to set the timeline.

ASAP means you need to have a conversation.

So maybe you say “end of week”, or “next month”. You may even say “next quarter”, or “next fiscal year”.

Then wait for their response.

And if they do end up needing it sooner — then the conversation moves to how you can de-prioritize your current commitments. The conversation shifts to how they can help you get it done sooner.

No one is asking you to kill yourself on the job, here.