I'm sure we're all guilty of this. I know I am. But "as soon as possible" is not a deadline. You know why? Because I've probably got a deadline this afternoon, that was already established, that is already on the ASAP list (because this afternoon is ASAP) and there is only so much room on that list.
Interaction today, via email:
Supervisor: "New Project, urgent because of reasons!"
Me: "What kind of urgent? What does that mean?"
Supervisor: "ASAP, like yesterday."
Me: "I already have Projects 1, 2, and 3 that need to get done right now.
Supervisor: "Ok after those."
Me: "Would Monday work?"
Supervisor: "How about Friday?"
AND BINGO, WE HAVE A DEADLINE. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
It doesn't really help me to manage my time if everything is urgent. I know it's not her fault when things are urgent - and she's not the only person to do this to me. I just need her to tell me the deadline. Just tell me. If I have to stay up late and bust ass, I'll do my best to meet it, but ASAP just means *now* and there is always already something that is NOW, so if I abandon that *now* thing it's going to miss its actual deadline.