The totally vague ASAP.
As soon as possible. Possible can mean so many different things. If I’m in the middle of a super busy schedule, what’s possible for me might be next week or even next month. The issue comes when a client uses ASAP to mean “I really need this tomorrow.”
Some ASAPs have a more immediate sense of urgency. Some are literally just an abbreviation to say “as soon as you can get to it, but there’s not a specific deadline.”
Whenever I get a request attached to an “ASAP,” I either have to give over to a sense of urgency every time (something not so balanced nor efficient), or I have to engage in back & forth emails to pin down exactly what ASAP means in the given context. By tomorrow? By the end of the week? Etc.
Here’s a way to simplify life for yourself & those with whom you’re working (reduce the number of emails, be on the same page, yadda yadda)… Assign a when. What’s the deadline? If there’s no specific deadline, assign a timeframe (within the next 2 weeks, for example). This allows you to be clear on your expectations and your colleagues to be clear on when deliverables are due. No one is guessing if her interpretation of ASAP matches yours.
And clarity comes in ASAP.