Using ASAP is a bad way to ask for help

People often use "ASAP" when making a request when they really mean "Now" or "I don’t know when". However, ASAP is an imprecise term, open to differing interpretations by both parties. What one person assesses as possible is always going to be different for the other.

ASAP can be used in 2 ways.

  1. The requestor means "Now" – in this case the requestor is asking for help making an [[Assessment]] that the person they are asking will drop everything to help them. In many cases, they are declaring that will be so. And that gets us into the issue of authority to make declarations.
  2. The requestor doesn’t know when – this is a bad habit to get into when making requests. If you find your requests are not being responded to as you need, it’s almost certainly because you are not providing clear enough timelines. Poorly defined requests lead to Slippery Promises and "ASAP" is up there with the best. I can say, "Sure, I can do that as soon as possible," while at the same time thinking "and that won’t be possible until late next year."