Clock Is Ticking Meaning

(idiomatic, almost always preceded by the and often followed by for) Time is running out; a deadline is approaching.

Example: 1922, E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Great Prince Shan, ch. 2:
  I have the feeling that even while the clock is ticking we are moving on to terrible things.
1986 April 23, James Reston, "Washington The Ticking Clock," New York Times (retrieved 22 Dec 2015):
  The clock is ticking for Mikhail Gorbachev too. Of all the failures of political and economic theory in this century, the Soviet failure is the most spectacular.
2006 Feb. 19, Alasdair Palmer, "‘We know the clock is ticking. Kidnap is a murder waiting to happen’," Telegraph (UK) (retrieved 22 Dec 2015):
  "We know the clock is ticking, and the longer it takes us to find the person who has been kidnapped, the less likely the case is to have a successful outcome."
2015 Nov. 12, John Ibbitson, "Politics notebook: Clock is ticking for Trudeau to resettle 25,000 refugees," Globe and Mail (Canada) (retrieved 22 Dec 2015):
  The clock is ticking. And with every tick, the Trudeau government’s goal of bringing 25,000 refugees from the Middle East to Canada by the end of the year grows more improbable.