Yesterday, I completed three important tasks on my to-do list. I should have been content but I was constantly thinking about the tasks that remained unfinished. When I thought more about it, I realized this is not an uncommon phenomenon.
If there’s an unread email in my inbox, I constantly wonder what it might be about. If I have to reply to a client’s email, I constantly think about its content. And of course, the next episode of Money Heist.
Turns out, this phenomenon has a name. It’s called the Zeigarnik effect.
The reason our brains keep holding on to unfinished tasks is that our brains are constantly working to keep this information active in our short-term memories. Once you’re done with it, lo and behold, they disappear.
Now that you know about this effect, you can learn to use it to your advantage. How? I’ll tell you one way I use it. When I am procrastinating on a task, I start doing a small step of it. This effect will then come into play and until you finish this task, your brain will keep nudging you to remember it.
Can you think of any such hacks with this effect?