Did you read Procrastination Is In Your Genes at CNN Health and everywhere else on the Internet today? Did you even see it? Not to worry. I did.
A recent study (using those favorite study subjects, twins) "concluded that procrastination can indeed be genetic, and that it seems to have some genetic overlap with impulsivity." We've covered here at OC the impact of lack of impulse control on self-discipline. Yeah, it leads us to choose to chase after shiny stories about celebrities who haven't aged well instead of knocking off a thousand words a day. And that sounds a lot like procrastination.
The CNN article makes two interesting points. Impulsiveness gave the people of the past who possessed it an evolutionary advantage, presumably because those who could impulsively take off when they saw a wild animal coming for them had the best chance of getting away. Procrastination, the article says, "may be more of a modern phenomenon,
since we now focus on long-term goals..."
We can focus on long-term goals because basic survival isn't as big an issue as it was centuries ago. Long-term goals are a luxury of a modern day life that doesn't require racing from wild beasts or rushing to get our share of food from a limited pool of the stuff. But most of us are descended from people who were impulsive, which is why they survived to reproduce. We don't need to run from wild beasts on a daily basis, so we use our impulsiveness to grab at Internet stories, home improvement shows, baking projects, shopping, and whatever else our hearts desire.
Writers, by the way, are modern people who particularly need to focus on long-term goals. But we're as likely as anyone else to have inherited impulsiveness from our ancestors. Check out your relatives to see if anyone else in your family has an impulsiveness/procrastination thing going on. If it looks as if it's in your genes, turn to The Procrastinator's Digest for help.