By Rose Strong
What exactly does “ASAP” mean? Ok yes, it means as soon as possible, but in terms of actual time, it means nothing. There’s no specification to this term. That’s according to the Academy of Medical- Surgical Nurses, which discusses definitions of the terms “ASAP,” “now” and “STAT.”
According to the group’s Connect Hub Network questions page, “STAT” is an abbreviation for “statim” which is Latin for “immediately or without delay.” In hospital terms, that’s relatively important. You don’t want hesitation if you are bleeding from an artery or having a heart attack. You want triage and treatment, “STAT!” Agreed, right?
As for “now” and “ASAP,” there are no standard recognized time requirements other than the assumption that these too mean a request or order is urgent. There’s no way to set an absolute deadline based on “now” or “ASAP.”
Here’s an example of “ASAP” used well. Edvisors.com, an online platform for consumers to search, compare and apply for private student loans, gives a deadline of “ASAP” after October 1st to file for the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s not typical in our marketing and public relations business, and I’m sure it happens in other industries that someone wants a letter, a delivery, a repair, or even a return email “now” or “ASAP.” It can leave one scratching their head trying to figure out what it means exactly.
Using “now or “ASAP” in communication for getting a project completed isn’t being clear to the person you wish to complete the job. Knowing and clearly explaining what you want, when you want it and understanding the full process of what it takes to get the job done is helpful to getting the assignment accomplished.
Before using the terms “ASAP” or “now” consider making a deadline. If it’s wrong, just move it back or ahead if it will coincide with the person doing the job. The idea is to give someone clear expectations for a job done well. It makes a task well-defined with an actual deadline.
Being clear, precise and deadline-driven can help to keep all parties happy.