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Unfinished work continues to exert an influence, even when we try to move on to other things.
When you start working on something but do not finish it, thoughts of the unfinished work continue to pop into your mind even when you've moved on to other things. Such thoughts urge you to go back and finish it.
Books, video games and tv-series all take advantage of this effect.
It reveals a great deal about how memory works. 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.
You can even use this psychological phenomenon to your advantage.
Take the first step, no matter how small. Once you've begun—but not finished—your work, you will find yourself thinking of the task until, at last, you finish it.
This approach can not only help motivate you to finish, but it can also lead to a sense of accomplishment once you finally finish a job and are able to apply your mental energies elsewhere.
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Once our brain receives information, it temporarily stores sensory memory (sight, hearing, smells, taste, and touch). If we pay attention to the information, it moves to our short-term memories.
If the task is incomplete, our brains can't let it go until it's done. That is why TV dramas use cliffhangers to end episodes.
It suggests that not finishing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it at the forefront of our memory.
The only thing that will relieve this tension is the closure brought ...
The phenomenon proposes that making a start on something, no matter how big or small, keeps it ticking way at the back of your mind until you reach the end.
Thus, getting the ball rolling might be a good antidote to procrastination.
Economists used to believe that people will always choose the option that maximizes their well-being. But people act against their rational self-interest all the time.
This bias addresses why we do unimportant tasks we think are time-sensitive over tasks that are not time-sensitive, even if the non-time-sensitive tasks provide greater rewards.
How to overcome this bias:
This effect describes our tendency to remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. Each unfinished task takes up some of your attention, splitting your focus. It also interferes with your sleep.
What you can do about it: