Do you ever just have a slow day? Maybe you’re tired from staying up too late with your friends. Or maybe you’ve been fighting a bad cold. Whatever the reason, there are some days that we just tend to move more slowly than others.

Of course, many people might feel fine physically, but they might be having a slow day mentally. Have you ever felt like your brain was tired? When we have a lot of things going on in our lives, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of it all. This can make our brains feel tired and a little slow.

When we’re moving a little more slowly than usual — whether we’re physically or mentally tired — we sometimes put off until tomorrow (or the next day…or the day after that) things that we should really be doing today. This is called procrastination.

If you’re moving slowly at home or putting off a project at school, your parents or teachers may tell you to get the lead out. Have you ever heard or used that phrase before? When someone tells you to get the lead out, they’re telling you to hurry up!

You may hear the phrase in different forms. For example, if you’re blocking someone’s way because you’re walking too slowly, you may be told to get the lead out of your pants.

The origin of this phrase is not completely clear, but the meaning is. Some believe it’s based upon simple common sense. Lead is a common metal that is known for being heavy. Someone thinks you’re moving too slowly, as if you were weighted down with lead. They want you to hurry up, get going and move faster.

Others believe the phrase originated from the sport of horse racing. In horse racing, horses are sometimes loaded with lead weights to make sure that each horse carries an equal load. Since not all riders weigh the same amount, horses with lighter riders might have an advantage.

To prevent such an advantage, horses would be weighed with their riders before a race. Some horses would have lead weights added to their load to make up for carrying a lighter rider. Some riders would still attempt to gain an advantage, though.

In the home stretch of the race, some riders were known to dump their lead weights to reduce the load on their horse and hopefully increase its speed at the end of the race. When riders would “get the lead out,” their horses would sometimes speed up in the crucial final seconds of a race. Today, lead weights are still used sometimes, but horses with their riders are weighed at the beginning and the end of the race to make sure no one has cheated.


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1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (18 votes, avg. 4.39 out of 5)
    • Hello, Sydney! We’re sure glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! “Get the lead out” is a cool way to say, “hurry up!” We encourage you to re-explore today’s Wonder to learn more! :-)

    • We think BOTH of those guesses are AWESOME, Stefani and KD! You guys are GREAT for thinking about what tomorrow’s Wonder might be…we can’t wait to see if either of your guesses are correct! :-)

    • We appreciate you sharing what you think about today’s Wonder, TNS! Thanks so much! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • We’re SUPER glad to hear that, Rahul! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

  1. We were wondering how many of “top 10’s” would have a sonic boom? So we went back and check. Only the last would have a sonic boom.

    Thanks for today’s wonder. Even on spring break we can learn something new!

    Have a great day,
    Ryan, Raegan, and mom

    We love your website……..

    • We think you guys ROCK for visiting Wonderopolis on your spring break, Ryan, Raegan and Mom! You are right…learning can happen anywhere, anytime! We appreciate you sharing that you WONDERed even MORE about today’s Wonder and combined that with what you learned from last week’s Wonder #535 about sonic booms! We think that’s AWESOME! :-)

    • We really liked learning all the different speeds of those FAST things in the video, too, Wonder Friend “D!” :-)

    • We thought so, too, firebolt101! It was cool to see how fast all those objects (and people) could go! They really “got the lead out,” didn’t they? :-)

  2. That video was AWESOME!!! We learned that getting the lead out means to move faster or work faster. We are back from our Spring Break and many of us feel like our brains are asleep and mushy. We love that new big word “procrastination”. Thanks!

    • Happy Monday, The Beach- Mrs. Guerin’s 2nd grade class! We’re so glad you guys stopped by Wonderopolis on your very first day back from break! Thank you for sharing your comment with us, and THANK YOU for exploring today’s Wonder of the Day® together! :-)

  3. Hello, Wonderopolis! We LOVE Wonderopolis! It is one of our favorite parts of the day.

    We think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about a “do-it-yourself” birthday party.

    • A “DIY” birthday party sounds like FUN, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! Your comment made us so happy today…we’re glad visiting Wonderopolis together is one of your favorite parts of the day! :-)

  4. Those are some pretty fast objects. I wish school could go that fast, but it takes forever before school’s over. My b-day is on the 29 of March and I wish my b-day could arrive faster.

    • We’re guessing there are LOTS of Wonder Friends out there who also wish the school day would “get the lead out,” Kimberlee! Thank you so much for learning in Wonderopolis today…we appreciate you! :-)

  5. The only thing that is faster than all those things is light. Lead means it’s fast and it’s first.

    Isha & Mushkale

    • Thanks so much for sharing this SUPER comment with us today, Isha & Mushkale! We hope you had a WONDERful time visiting Wonderopolis and that you learned LOTS of fun, new facts! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, Kabir! The video for today’s Wonder shows that a plane (jet) is super fast at almost 2,200 miles per hour, but a rocket is MUCH faster at almost 25,000 miles per hour…NOW, THAT’S FAST! :-)

    • It’s AWESOME that you can now tell your sister you learned what “get the lead out” means, Kevin! Thanks so much for being a GREAT Wonder Friend. We’re glad you visited today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We really like to learn new things, too, Sam! That’s why we LOVE visiting Wonderopolis every day! Thank YOU for checking out today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We’re sure glad to hear that, T! Thanks for stopping by today’s Wonder and also for leaving us a comment…we enjoy hearing what our Wonder Friends (like you!) think about the Wonders of the Day here in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Things are MUCH more regulated than they were back in the early days of racing, Jacob! We doubt anyone would get away with changing the weight the horses carry now, because everything, including the horse, jockey and all the equipment, is weighed before and right after each race! :-)

  6. Wow, that was cool. We now want to go see a show where people do that! You people are awesomely funny. I’ll have to watch that on my phone.

    Thanks, the awesome’s

    • Hi there, Caroline and Hampton! We’re so glad “The Awesomes” stopped by Wonderopolis today and left us this super cool comment…THANKS! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you guys enjoyed this Wonder, Miss Newsom’s 3rd grade class! We’re glad you guys stopped by Wonderopolis to learn something new together today! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you get the lead out?
  • What is procrastination?
  • What are some ways you can stop procrastinating?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to get the lead out? That may mean different things to different people, of course. Some of you may want to get the lead out and finally get something done. In this sense, what you really want to do is stop procrastinating.

If you’ve been putting something off for too long, here are a few tips for how to stop procrastinating and check that “to do” off your list:

  • Don’t overthink it! A little planning is always a good idea, but too much planning can lead to nothing getting done. Whatever task you face, spend just a few minutes planning and then start DOING! You can always make adjustments as you go along.
  • Take the first step! Sometimes the hardest step of any journey is the first one. Once you get moving, though, things usually get easier. With every step you take, you’ll be closer to your goal!
  • Do the hard part first! Sometimes tasks have hard parts and easy parts. The difficulty of the hard parts sometimes prevents us from getting started. If you get the hard part out of the way first, everything else will be downhill from there!

Some of you may want to get the lead out and get faster physically. If you play sports, speed often plays a critical role. If you want to be a faster runner, here are some tips you can use to improve your speed:

  • Practice sprinting! Want to run faster? Practice by running as fast as you can. This doesn’t mean that you have to do boring sprint drills, though. You can practice by playing some of your favorite games, such as red light/green light, capture the flag or tag.
  • Use plyometric exercises! Plyometric exercises like skipping and hopping help you isolate muscles that will help you run faster. As these muscles get bigger, you will get faster.
  • Move in all directions! Don’t run the same way all the time. Practice running backwards and moving sideways. Changing direction will help you exercise other muscles that will make you a well-rounded athlete.


Still Wondering

Visit Smithsonian’s History Explorer to learn more about Richard Petty’s 200th Victory Car, a NASCAR race car that could really get the lead out!


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