Procrastination Gene – If Its Negligence Is On The Coin Of Haste, How Should It Be Dealt With?

From the beginning, history has reported all kinds of negligence, and various prescriptions have been offered for its treatment. 

In recent years, however, new perspectives have emerged on the origin and proper approach to this dilemma. 

Various behavioral and genetic experiments have provided us with new findings that may help guide us in choosing the right approach to procrastination.
Estimated study time: 15 minutes

Maria Konikova, The New Yorker – Would you like to hear my favorite joke about procrastination?

I will define it later. During his research on the nature of procrastination, Pierce Steele, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, found countless one-line jokes like this to use when necessary.

He, who used to be a complete procrastinator, knows that using a few jokes in this direction is not without merit. At the very least, it is better to be constantly anxious and anxious as things get backward, less likely to be done, and the consequences of not doing things more specific.

The roots of the tendency to procrastination can be traced back to the very beginning of civilization. As Steele told me, the ancient Egyptians were involved in time management around 1400 BC. 

“Dear friend, do not procrastinate and let us go home on time,” says one of the cryptocurrencies, translated by Ronald Luperhoon, an Egyptologist at the University of Toronto.

 Six hundred years later, in 800 BC, the Greek poet Hesiod reflects a similar view, warning us that “do not postpone your work to tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, for a lazy worker and one who “He can never fill his warehouse.” 

According to Cicero, in 44 BC, “sedentary and procrastination” is always “disgusting.” (James Soroviaki wrote a 2010 article on philosophers’ interest in procrastination in The New Yorker ).

This attitude has remained the same until more recent times. Samuel Johnson stated in 1751: “This foolishness of allowing ourselves to procrastinate on what we know we will eventually have to do is one of the weaknesses which, in spite of the teachings of moral teachers and the opposition to common sense, is still more or less in everyone’s mind. There is. 

“Even those who stand firm in the face of this nonsense, if they do not consider it the most heinous of their desires, will consider it the most stubborn of their desires, a desire which constantly resumes its attacks and never disappears, even if it is often knocked out.” 

He concludes that “special attention to the present,” though “desirable and commendable,” is “natural.”

The twenty-first century does not seem to be much different. Students are reluctant to do their homework. In one study, 35% of the students surveyed were extreme procrastinators, meaning that procrastination has become a major nuisance in their lives. 

However, only one percent of those surveyed claimed that they had never been negligent. Employees are procrastinating instead of doing their office duties. 

According to a survey conducted in this field, a worker spends an average of one hour and twenty minutes of each day procrastinating; This time means the loss of nine thousand dollars per worker per year. 

In another 2007 study, approximately a quarter of adults surveyed identified procrastination as a defining characteristic of their personality.

“This is the common pulse of humanity,” Steele believes. We have probably all experienced this feeling. The project we have to finish, the email we have to send, the phone call we have to make. 

But for some reason, we never get close to doing it, despite our intentions. “What defines procrastination is not the lack of intention to do something, but the difficulty of pursuing that intention,” says Steele. Procrastination is not a pleasant experience for most of us. 

It can never be compared to the heartwarming experience of feeling free or rebellious from the twisting of a class or an appointment.

 In fact, procrastination is an experience of increasing pressure, a feeling that reminds us that in the end we have to deal with what we are postponing. About ninety-five percent of people with a tendency to procrastinate wished they could reduce that tendency.

 And, as Steele puts it in his book, the equivalent of procrastination1 , writes, procrastination ultimately less prosperity, less healthy and fewer ends. So why is procrastination so common? If we are not inclined to procrastinate, and this actually causes us torment, why do we still insist on doing it?

This was the question that occupied Steele in the 1990s and prompted him to begin research on procrastination. One of his first studies, when he was a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota under Thomas Brother, was to monitor students doing assignments related to an online course.

 “It was a mass online course, a computer class where everyone could move at their own pace,” he says.

 “In this way we were able to access valuable time-speed data: how much work they do and how fast.”

 In other words, researchers could consider an observable behavior (for example, how long it takes students to complete a given task or how well they were able to do it) and measure it by a predetermined criterion or a criterion previously expressed by the individuals themselves. Was to adapt; The tendency to procrastinate was one of those criteria.

As Steele completed his analysis, one finding stood out: Extreme procrastinators performed worse in self-regulation. In fact, self-regulation (the ability to exercise self-control and overcome immediate rewards for future benefits) accounted for seventy percent of the observed procrastination behaviors.

 It was this relationship that gave rise to the basic attitude put forward by Steele: What if procrastination is only on the coin of haste? Just as haste is the inability of our self-controlling mechanisms (we must now wait, but we act), so is procrastination: we must act now, but we wait.

Steele finally published his dissertation in 2007 (“I jokingly say it took me ten years to write a three-year project,” he says). 

Throughout those years, he continued to seek to show the connection between procrastination and haste.

 Steele observed the same correlation in all studies: those who were more prone to haste were more likely to engage in extreme procrastination.

 Steele presented his conclusions in a meta-analysis of related works from more than 200 studies. When he tested the data, it was found that the two traits may have a common genetic basis.

 “All these basic constructs, namely self-control, self-control and, on the other hand, procrastination, can be considered the same phenomenon,” he told me.

In April of this year, behavioral geneticist Naomi Friedman and her graduate student Daniel Gustavson and two colleagues at the University of Colorado at Boulder decided to test the concept directly. 

To do so, they are examining 330 identical (monozygotic) and dissimilar (twin) identical twins from the Colorado Twin Study Project. 

This study has been going on since the birth of the twins in the 1980s and has provided a great deal of data on haste, such as whether or not individuals are having difficulty starting difficult tasks.

 According to Friedman, “This is, in fact, a decisive criterion in procrastination.” He and his colleagues, encouraged by Gustavson,

One useful trick can be to break broad and ambitious goals into more tangible, manageable, and urgent parts.

They decided to take a closer look at the relationship between procrastination and haste. 

They asked each of the twins to complete a questionnaire that assessed procrastination, haste, and goal management, and thus allowed them to determine how much these traits and behaviors were influenced by genetics or environment.

The logic of this analysis is relatively simple: the home environment of twins is the same, but identical twins have similar genes, while only half of identical twin genes are similar.

 By observing the differences in behavior between the two types of twins, researchers can estimate how inherited a particular trait is. 
(Of course, this method is not 100% accurate: even twins who have the same environment may be affected by different environmental influences).
 Friedman’s group, like Steele, concluded that procrastination and haste were two sides of the same coin. They went further and examined whether the two tendencies had a common genetic basis.

As it turned out, there is this common ground. The researchers found that each of these traits is inherently partially inherited: about forty-six percent of the tendency to procrastinate, and forty percent of the tendency to rush can be attributed to the gene. 

But the estimated genetic correlation between the two traits was either one (that is, they were perfectly correlated), or at least the closest conceivable closeness to full correlation. 
In addition, Friedman’s team found that both of these traits could be related to the ability to manage the target in the same way: the same common genetic form is very prominent here (sixty-eight percent) and is also involved in the tendency to fail. 
According to Friedman, “Perhaps what really connects these traits is that people can not pursue their long-term goals.”

If we consider procrastination on another coin of haste (ie, failure in self-control, not failure in longevity), the way we deal with it will change. 

According to Steele, the approaches that need to change are the same as the aforementioned approaches, which are based on the premise that all that is needed is to ask the individual not to be negligent.
 “In practice, he still seems to be involved in the Smart 2 goals approach,” he saysIntroduced in 1982.
 “We know how to deal with procrastination problems much more effectively.” When self-control is in the middle, one useful trick can be to break down broad and ambitious goals into more tangible, manageable, and urgent parts. The same is true of procrastination.
 “We know that natural motivations come when we approach the deadline,” Steele notes. “Can artificial strikes be made to restore the same conditions?”

Steele’s advice owes much to the approach of Gabriel Oettingen and Peter Gallowitzer, who have worked on self-control and goal setting: Keep your goals as small, urgent and specific as possible. Steel, for example, uses ten-minute sections to get things done that it is reluctant to do. 

“The problem with the goals we avoid is that we have already instilled in our minds that achieving them will be very tedious,” he says. 
In fact, doing things that we put off is like jumping into an icy pool of water: the first few seconds will be hard, but after that it will give you a wonderful feeling.” 
So, make short-term plans for the task at hand, and then re-evaluate the situation. Usually when you can overcome that initial obstacle, you will be able to continue the work you have undertaken. 
According to Steele, “Don’t say I want to write, say I want to write until two or four hundred o’clock. The more characteristic the more powerful. “It makes it easier for you to move forward.”

Another part of Ettingen and Gallowitz’s approach is to remove obstacles that may lead to the achievement of our goal. Recognize the “decisive” moments of curbing sudden urges, the moments when you are more likely than ever to give in to busyness. Once you’ve identified these moments, find ways to deal with them directly.

 According to Steele, “One of the easiest things to do is to understand that it may be your interests, not your goals, that are causing the problem.
 This way you can keep the activities out of reach.
 “Make sure these occupations are not clear and concise.” He mentions an Android application that makes it more difficult for people to access their phone games. The Steel Group itself has designed applications for phones as well as computers that add a simple delay mechanism to high-tech applications.
 For example, when you open the “Slow Crash” app, instead of opening the app directly, your phone displays a countdown screen asking you if you really want to open the game. Steel’s findings show that this short delay is usually enough to make us look back on procrastination.

Of course, it is unlikely that a person who is extremely careless will install such a program. “The irony is that the procrastinators are procrastinating in dealing with procrastination just like any other business,” says Steele. With these interpretations, I have a suggestion: Instead of doing whatever you have to do now, take a look at the online steel procrastination test.

 We usually welcome online personality assessments, and well this one might even be effective in overcoming procrastination. Experience for yourself and see the result.


• This article was written by Maria Konikova and published on July 22, 2014 as “Getting Over Procrastination” on the New Yorker website . And for the first time , it has been published under the title “Gene of Procrastination” in the special issue of the seventh issue of the Quarterly Journal of Humanities Translators and Translated by Sedamir Hossein Miraboutalebi. The translator’s website published it on 3 Khordad 1400 with the same title.
•• Maria Konnikova writes about psychology and science in The New Yorker . He is the author of the best-selling book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes . In addition to The New YorkerHe has also written for the Times, the Atlantic and the New Republic .

[1] The Procrastination Equation
[2] An approach that identifies five conditions for goal setting, and the name of this approach is derived from the initials of these terms: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time limited.