Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Today's Rant About Priorities

I have this acronym that I really hate. It brings out the absolute worst in me. It is “ASAP”. When people use it, they lose sight of what it means. As Soon As Possible. What it does not mean is “Drop what you’re doing and move *my* little problem to the top of your list, disregarding any other probably more substantial problems that you are already dealing with”.

For example, when someone sends me an email and says “I need this ASAP”, it gets treated with the same level of urgency that it would have had they not uttered the not-so-magic phrase. I deal with the other 43 things that came first, and then I deal with their thing.

The funny part is that the person invariably acts surprised and upset when they did not get within-the-minute response from me, and they say “I needed that ‘As Soon As Possible’, and you took 45 minutes to respond!” What you WANT to say is: “I had 43 other pressing requirements, all of which came to me before yours, and all with equally urgent needs; so the only variable left to sort by is chronological. You got handled after the ones who came before you, first in, first out. That is “As Soon As it was Possible” for me to handle it. If, in the future, you need something done with a higher level of prioritization, please give me some substantive reason to justify bumping the 42 people in front of you who were just as lazy and haphazard in managing their day as you. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I say it like that, only nicer.

Mean spirited? Moi? Surely, you jest. I just know how to manage my time, and I know how to manage access to my personal resources.

Thus endeth the daily rant.

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