Procrastination Is a Great Tool

Procrastination is a great tool for getting things done.

I know that goes against conventional wisdom. But I’m finding that many many things that I had been ignoring are suddenly getting done now that I have this BIG THING looming over me. The Big Thing is a fun thing. It’s a happy thing. But it’s BIG. Lots of little things are getting done while thinking about the Big Thing.

So, the solution? Gotta break down the BIG THING into lots of small, attainable things.

I’ve participated in two NaNo competitions. Both times, I finished my book. The reason I was able to do it – I wasn’t looking at the big picture. I was looking at right now, today. Get 2000 wods written today. That’s all I want to do. Once that’s done, I can putz around the house.

Perhaps that’s what keeps anyone from being truly successful is the big ideas that make it seem impossible to move from where we are to the next moment. It’s so far from here to “the end” where everything comes together. But without those millions of very small gestures, that move us quietly from this moment to the next, we can never make it to the Big Thing that we’re working for.

Another interesting thing about the Big Thing, is the more concrete it is, the scarier it is. What if we don’t make it? What if we fail? But if the Big Thing is variable, and we are open to the possibilities of what the Big Thing might end up being, it seems less daunting. Just keep plugging along, until it happens.

That’s what I feel like I’ve been doing up to this point. Moving bit by bit without a specific plan for the Big Thing I’m headed for. But now I have one. And it’s tripping me up. I gotta get rid of this concrete idea of what is supposed to happen, and just move forward, somewhere, a little everyday. And if I keep doing the little bit that I can right now, and do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day – I’ll get somewhere. Where, I don’t know for sure. But somewhere good.

Getting freaked out about the future can be easy to do when it seems like we have only one possible end goal. That’s all in our head though. The one goal we think we have, is actually just one of many possible goals. We can head that way, but there might be something better along the way – perhaps even disguised as a distraction.

That said, back to work for me! Must keep moving. And where that takes me – who knows! But one thing I know for sure – I’m going to damn well enjoy the journey. Throw my arms in the air and say, “Whee!”


5 Responses to “Procrastination Is a Great Tool”

  1. Rolfe Schmidt Says:

    The BIG THING link is broken — it goes to ‘’. But I found it and that is a BIG THING. One of my favorite parts about parenting and unschooling is that I spend much more time exploring the side paths than I used too. After a while, I look back and see that I’ve come a long way anyway. But I guess there is a time where you need to get organized too!

  2. Henry Says:

    Paul Graham wrote a wonderful essay on procrastination:

    He makes the observation that there is a near infinite number of things we can do, so there is always something we are putting off. The real trick is intelligent procrastination.

  3. Tammy Says:


    Intelligent procrastination! I love it!

    Homeschoolers should read the whole thing too. The last few paragraphs are the perfect explanation of why we don’t benefit from beating ourselves up about not getting housework or “school work” done.

  4. The 8th Country Fair is open!! | The Country Fair Says:

    […] Tammy comes to us from Just Enough, and Nothing More talking about her “Big Thing” that loams ahead and how she is taking little steps to get there in Procrastination Is a Great Tool. […]

  5. JoVE Says:

    Great thoughts. I’ve often found that focusing on a goal can be counter productive. Great for getting started down a road, but then you just need to go down the road. I was reading something about writing recently (was it Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird?) and she talks about driving in the dark. You can only see the bit of the road in front of you that is lit by the headlights, but you can get where you are going that way.

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