Don't Worry You Can Pass Off Some of the Blame; Procrastination is Hereditary, Says Study


Instead of haranguing children for being lazy and rushing last minute to do tasks, parents should shoulder some of the blame. A latest University of Colorado study has found that procrastination is in the genes.

This study genetically links procrastination and impulsivity. Researchers said our ancestors were highly impulsive, which helped them make snap decisions for everyday survival. However, now that long-term planning has become more important, impulsivity paved way for procrastination. Modern humans still carry the 'impulsivity gene' that distracts them from long-term goals, eventually leading to procrastination.

"Everyone procrastinates at least sometimes, but we wanted to explore why some people procrastinate more than others and why procrastinators seem more likely to make rash actions and act without thinking. Answering why that's the case would give us some interesting insights into what procrastination is, why it occurs, and how to minimize it," psychological scientist and study author Daniel Gustavson said in a press release.

For the study, the researchers surveyed pairs of twins about deferment of tasks.  They were asked about how frequently they delayed their assignments for tomorrow and whether they often started their jobs just a few days before the deadline expired. The researchers then compared the answers of 181 identical twin pairs with 166 fraternal twin pairs.

The researchers found that inclination to put off tasks till later is in fact inherited. People, who are highly impulsive, tend to be frequent procrastinators. The finding indicates procrastination is an evolutionary by-product of impulsivity. There seems to be a complete genetic overlap between procrastination and impulsivity and there are no genetic influences that are unique to either one of the traits.

"Learning more about the underpinnings of procrastination may help us develop interventions to prevent it and help us overcome our ingrained tendencies to get distracted and lose track of work," Gustavson said.

The finding is published in the journal Psychological Science.

University Herald did some digging to help you finish the tasks just in time. We found that Nutrilogix has listed six ways to overcome the bad habit. The authors encourage you to :

"Do it now! " to improve personal efficiency and self-esteem.

1.       If you are not skilled enough to perform a task, recruit people to finish them.

2.       While embarking on a big project, take one step at a time. Break down big projects into sub-projects

3.       Allocate time for every task on a piece of paper or calendar.

4.       Announce projects to friends and families for everyday remembrance of your commitments

5.       Reward self upon successful completion of projects and punish self to avoid repeating mistakes.

6.       Talk to self ("Does this have be done? Yes! ; Is it going to tempt me more to do it later or tomorrow? - No! ")

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