What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is the constant and unnecessary postponing of essential tasks.
It can be a simple chore like cleaning your desk or something more urgent, like sending that vital email to your boss.
Procrastination can prevent you from achieving your goals and increase stress levels due to the piling up of essential tasks until the last minute.
It can be a debilitating condition that hampers your well-being.
Is Procrastination Genetic?
Research on behavioral traits in the last decade confirms that your tendency to procrastinate is partly genetic.
According to a study in Psychological Science, genetics can explain at least 46% of a person’s tendency to procrastinate.
A 2018 study reported compelling evidence connecting procrastination with a gene involved in regulating dopamine, or the happy hormone.
Our brains experience a dopamine rush when we do something we love.
That is how we are motivated to complete a task.
The TH gene produces tyrosine hydroxylase enzyme that helps regulate dopamine production.
But scientists have found that a particular protein interferes with the brain’s reward system and decreases dopamine secretion.
Mutation in this gene reduces dopamine production and hampers the reward system.
Reduced dopamine secretion in the body can make people feel unmotivated and depressed, resulting in serial procrastination.
However, the dopamine-procrastination relationship seems slightly different for women.
Females with the TH mutation were more likely to have higher dopamine levels and be procrastinators.
These researchers hypothesize the role of estrogen in this.
Some studies suggest that having a larger amygdala is related to procrastination.
Amygdala is the part of the brain that helps process emotions.
If you have a low threshold of tolerating negative emotions, then you might be more prone to procrastination.
Other Factors Contributing to Procrastination
Many people are of the opinion that procrastination is just laziness.
But modern research has revealed a lot more about procrastinators and what exactly goes on in their minds.
Procrastination can even be a symptom that points to deeper mental health issues.
Procrastination often stems from clinical depression and acute anxiety. Some people get extremely anxious about even starting a task, so they don’t do it at all.
Others fear failing at the task and then being criticized for it, so they keep avoiding it to delay the heartbreak.
There also appears to be a relationship between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and procrastination.
Attention deficit hyperactive disordered patients also procrastinate because their minds are always racing, and they have difficulty focusing on one task.
Poor physical or mental health might be another major reason for procrastination. Lack of energy or mental exhaustion can also lead to postponing important tasks.
Procrastination can point to a deeper problem, especially if it is a chronic issue that hampers daily life.
How to Overcome Procrastination
Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not the same as laziness.
It can signify an underlying mental health condition like anxiety, depression, or OCD.
Research studies suggest that genes can explain 46% of a person’s tendency to procrastinate.
These genes may play a role in dopamine regulation, which controls the brain reward system.
Due to variations in these genes, some may not feel positive and rewarded when completing and task and, thus, may tend to postpone it.