Systems & Tips

Thursday Time Tip: The Zeigarnik Effect

Zeigarnik Effect

Here’s another tip that didn’t fit into Your Procrastination Solution but may be quite helpful to some.

As explained by Richard Wiseman in 59 Seconds, dive into a project and trick your psychology using the Zeigarnik effect.

Before and After the Check

Zeigarnik was a Russian psychologist from the early 1900’s who noticed an interesting phenomenon while dining at restaurants.

Waiters could easily remember the orders of their guests… until the check was paid. At that point, waiters had problems recalling the meal details. It was as if the waiters’ memory banks were cleared.

Zeigarnik researched this phenomenon more and discovered there was a sort of psychological anxiety that kept the waiters involved in the process until there was closure – in this case, the closure of a paid check.

Use in Procrastination

So how does this fit in with procrastination?

If you can start an activity for just a few minutes, you’ll feel an unconscious pull to finish it. The momentum will then shift, and the urge to procrastinate may fade. Next thing you know, that unpleasant task will be completed.

Photo Credit: Zoetnet (Creative Commons)

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