It turns out that adults remembered the interrupted tasks 90% better than the completed tasks, and that children were even more likely to recall the uncompleted tasks. In other words, uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them!
It is especially used in media and advertising. Have you ever wondered why cliffhangers work so well or why you just can’t get yourself to stop watching that series on Netflix (just one more episode)?
As writer Ernest Hemingway once said about writing a novel, “it is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.” But the Zeigarnik effect can actually be used to positively impact your work productivity.
Getting a task done means peace of mind, while the intrusive thoughts mean that you will experience anxiety when leaving a task unfinished to focus on something else. Since multi-tasking is simply diverting your attention from one task to another (basically making the new task an interruption), your brain won’t allow you to fully focus on the new task because you have left the previous one uncompleted. That is why productivity techniques such as the Pomodoro technique work so well. Of course, another key element is adapting the time spent on focused work to the task at hand; some tasks will require a longer period of focused work than others.
You’re more inclined to finish something if you start it.Start with what seems manageable in the moment. You’ll be more likely to finish the task simply because you started.