(Video link here.) Yesterday, we posted a thought-provoking sign we’d seen that we were mulling: “The work you do while procastinating is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life”. Curious that at the same time, Brain Pickings was posting about procastination also, in a completely different way. Their post featured a little video about the “science” of procrastination, and ways to “manage” it, as though procastination were a thorny problem, rather than part of the creative process or perhaps even, activities with a message*.

Right after we watched this very charming, pat video, we received a comment from a long-time reader responding to our procrastination post and a Related Post she’d read called “Leap and the Net Will Appear”. It gives a totally OTHER view of procastination:

dearest improvised life, as i close out this jewish year preparing for yom kippur, your series of messages came through this morning. three months ago i was dx with esophogeal cancer. i have faced many things in life, i am 72, and this one was met with elevated spiritual strength from within and enormous support from dear loved ones. there have been some game changes these last few weeks, but my vote is for both procrastination and spiritual elevation!!!! its all good. thank you so much for this blog…it helps me in many ways. love, suzy

Totally UNpat, UNlinear, to-the-bone words.



*The reason were equivical about the statement “The work you do while procastinating is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life” is because we’ve found it to be true and not true. Is cleaning the house or organizing a closet or reading on the sofa or “cleaning the phone with a Q-tip” (as one reader wrote)  work we should be doing for the rest of our lives? On the other hand, MANY years ago when Sally thought she wanted to be a photographer, she found herself interruptiong long stints in her darkroom to bake things. She eventually discovered, via a dream, that she wanted to COOK!

So we’re going to be sure to track the INSIDE of our procastinations…what are the pleasures, illuminatiuons, satisfactions that might translate to something way beyond cleaning the phone with a Q-tip.


Related posts: ‘the work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life’
mental health break: riding teahupo’o waves in slo-mo
a mantra from bill murray
peep show gif: funny, risqué, slightly x-rated
‘leap and the net will appear’…

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5 replies on “more on that procrastination thing

  1. Hi Improvised Life!

    I have loved you for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve written. About procrastination: When my colleagues and I were working on our master’s theses, our advisor introduced us to the notion of the EPD, the elaborate procrastination device. Unlike ordinary procrastination devices, this one encourages an activity that has some socially redeeming value.

    I suppose cleaning the phone with a Q-tip would count–that phone certainly needed to be cleaned–but generally an EPD has intrinsic value. For example, shopping for office supplies is essential for successful desk work and organizing said supplies, thus sorting and cleaning the supply shelf creates an orderly work space where important cognitive organizing can happen.

    Shoe shopping can also qualify–not my thing–as can cookbook reading (one of my favorites is my autographed copy of A New Way to Cook) to get ideas for a nutritious meal. You get the idea.

    I share this concept with students and colleagues and have been known to chant, fb post, or email interesting links with an EPD, EPD, EPD!

    Yours in procrastination and improvisation,


    Christianna White, PhD
    Editor | Writer | Writing Coach

  2. This kind of creative procrastination is more positively and perhaps accurately described as “incubation”. It’s a really important part of the creativity process, as you’ve been pointing out so beautifully.

    I blogged about it too recently, in relation to applying it to business:


  3. what is ? ( to you )

  4. Comment above was meant to say :

    What is important ?

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