Procrastination May Have Ties to Heart Disease

Procrastinators should watch themselves; according to a recent study, putting off today what you could do tomorrow may have ties to heart disease.

Procrastinators should watch themselves; putting off today what you could do tomorrow may have ties to heart disease. Melissa Dahl from NYMag writes on the latest research that claims there's a link between the two.


The study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, doesn't go into the whys of the link, just that one may exist. Fuschia M. Sirois of Bishop's University in Quebec led the research group. Participants were made up of two groups of people, those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and those in good health.

The two groups were given the same questionnaire to measure their tendency to put things off till later. The results showed that those with heart disease were more likely to agree with statements, like, "I am continually saying I'll do it tomorrow," than the healthy folks.

While there's no conclusive evidence in this study to indicate why this link exists, as a procrastinator I feel I can provide some personal insight. It's stressful to put off work or chores — almost like there's a weight on your chest. But on the days when I do manage to wake up at 5 a.m. and get my work done before noon, I feel like a better person. Dahl provides her own suggestions, writing:

“People who are habitual procrastinators may be likely to put off dreary chores like exercising or eating healthily, and the avoidance of these can of course lead to chronic health issues, like heart disease.”

Procrastinators get into the habit of beating themselves up for not going to the gym and spending an hours on Facebook instead. But Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, says you shouldn't do that to yourself. As a man who has studied how habits form, he knows we need to put off work sometimes. In his Big Think interview, he describes willpower and focus as a muscle — one that we should exercise. So, schedule in that five-minute break for Facebook every hour. After a few weeks or a month of this, he says you eventually won't need that Facebook break:

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