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Blame Your Parents for Your Procrastinating Ways

A surprising new study finds a genetic link between procrastination and impulsivity.
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The next time someone gets mad at you for putting things off, blame Mom and Dad. Procrastination is linked to genetics, according to a surprising new study published in the journal Psychological Science, and it may even stem from impulsivity. 

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder surveyed 181 identical twin pairs and 166 fraternal twin pairs to assess their ability to set and maintain goals, as well as their tendencies toward procrastination and impulsivity. 

The study found procrastination actually derives from impulsivity, as ancestors relied on the latter for survival but evolved to have more long-term goals. Unfortunately, we humans still have some impulsive tendencies and haven't figured out how to curb them

Based on their findings so far, the researchers say they plan to explore the ways humans manage their goals and either delay or make impulsive decisions. But for now, one thing is clear: impulsivity and procrastination share the same roots, and knowing one leads to the other may help you to think more long-term when there's work to be done.

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Last updated: Apr 8, 2014

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.




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