Is Procrastination Genetic?

Posted by Amy Wallace Amy Wallace on .

Most of us have been there: we have a big project due, or just lots of little bits and pieces to get done, but we can't seem to get ourselves to sit down and focus on anything. That, or we'll find ourselves focusing on anything but the work that we most need to do.

Anything sound familiar? When it comes to procrastination, it can sometimes feel like there are too many things fighting against us, all coming together to prevent us from completing our tasks. Distractions, inability to focus, fear and confusion all play a part in why we procrastinate.

But what if genetics also play a part? As Laura Entis writes on Entrepreneur, a recent study has shown that our susceptibility to procrastination might be coded into our genes, just like our personality.

Like personality traits though, you can work to overcome those natural predispositions. Just like getting into bad habits and trying to change those, procrastination can be worked on slowly by changing the way you view yourself, the work at hand, and the eventual outcome of the task you're avoiding.

One of the tips Laura suggests for fighting procrastination is to really understand what procrastination means:

Understand the true definition of procrastination.
This is super important. There are many forms of delay that are beneficial – life, of course, is a constant succession of tradeoffs. Often, you need to hold off on a project because something more pressing has come up. That's not called procrastination, though. That’s called making an informed decision.
Procrastination on the other hand, says Pychyl, is never positive. "Anyone who thinks it has an upside is messing with the definition."
Some of us may develop a warped, protective relationship with our tendency to procrastinate (see tip No. 2), but while there are many reasons why we do it, "none of them are healthy," Pychyl says. "There's no virtue in it."

Read on to find out more about how procrastination might be linked to your genes and see the two other tips to help you beat your procrastination whether it's genetic or not.

Do you have any special tips that help you get over procrastination? We'd love to hear from you so please say hi in the comments below or get in touch by email.