The Zeigarnik effect

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Chances are high that you’ve never heard of Lithuanian-Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. I never have either, but I have heard of something called the Zeigarnik effect. This occurs when an activity you’re doing has been interrupted. This principle states that the interruption will make the activity more easily remembered. Recently it has been called the “Just a Few Minutes Rule”.  It’s probably the closest thing we have to a “game-changer” for procrastination.  Most people like to finish what they begin. Call it “human nature”.   So here’s how it works.  Work on things for “just a short time or a few minutes.”   Then, move on to another task returning to the original one. You’ll be more productive and you’ll probably accomplish more. Here’s the reasoning: “We’re more inclined to finish what we start.”   This is a great reason to “just start” a task.

Start with something small, because we also don’t like to start what we can’t finish.  If we don’t finish what we start, it tends to hang around in our minds.  The Zeigarnik effect says that we remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than the ones we complete.

Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Start doing what you know is right. Break up your task and come back to it. Even if you’re lost and don’t exactly know your way out through a difficult situation or activity right now, give it all up to God. Make a promise to him that you will see it through to the end, and he will lay a path down for you.

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