Do you procrastinate a lot? Do you find it difficult to get yourself to work on a task? There are always a few items on the to-do list that seem to slip from one list to the next. If so, you’re not alone. We all are procrastinator in a way or other. And the effects of it has never been pleasant.
If you have a task in mind, stop reading this right here. Go reach for a blank sheet of paper and spend atleast a minute planning on how you intend to tackle the task. But make sure you come back here to continue reading. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Now that we have taken the first step, we are already halfway through.
By doing this, we seem to have activated the Zeigarnik Effect.
The Zeigarnik Effect
The constant niggling urge to complete a task from taking the first step is the outcome of Zeigarnik effect. It turns out that interrupted tasks make us more motivated to complete them. Our brain better remembers tasks we haven’t finished yet.
When we start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work continue to pop into our mind. This occurs even when we have moved on to other things. Such thoughts urge us to go back and finish the thing we had already begun.
Soap operas and drama serial take the advantage of this effect and get us addicted to their never ending episodes. Their episode may end, but the stories are unfinished. This leaves the viewers eager to know more and thanks to Zeigarnik effect, we somehow remember to tune in the next time to find what happens.
Best out of the effect
Knowing the Zeigarnik effect, you can also develop good habits. We can benefit from dividing big tasks into smaller parts so that our brain will constantly think of them until the tasks are completed. All we need to do is to just actually start with the task and that gets our ball rolling.
However, this can be put into full use when aligned with our motivation. So the next time we feel our tasks are boring and undesirable, let’s look out for something enjoyable about it that could spur us into completing it. This shouldn’t fail. But just in case this fails, we can think of the consequences we will have to face if the task isn’t complete. And use it as a motivation.
This effect observed and discovered by a Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, suggest that, one way to get away from being a procrastinator is to put Zeignarnik effect to work. This approach can not only help motivate us to finish, but it can also lead to a sense of accomplishment once we finally finish a job. Thus, letting us apply our mental energies elsewhere.
Quit being a procrastinator
Using an ellipses to replace a full stop in online marketing, advertising, or journalism, is another best application of this effect that can be recorded. This is supposed to entice us into wanting to know more about the product or to read the article.
Zeigarnik suggested that failing to complete a task creates underlying cognitive tension. This results in greater mental effort and rehearsal in order to keep the task at the forefront of awareness. Once completed, the mind is then able to let go of these efforts.
Anything we take on, we must push through the pain of procrastination and make sure we actually complete tasks to create a virtuous circle of achievement and higher self esteem. Honestly, ticking things off our newly shortened list will give us a great feeling.
Let’s find out if there any other new ways to overcome procrastination. So do write to me, how you overcome being a procrastinator and other productivity blockages.