Recall a time when you were put under a lot of stress about finishing a task. Every day it went unfinished it would be a constant distraction in your head. This feeling of having slight (or crippling) anxiety of unfinished business is called The Zeigarnik Effect.
The PositiveSide OfThe Zeigarnik Effect
In layman’s terms, unfinishedbusiness can be summed up as “loose ends.” From Zeigarnik’s research, he pointed out that humans — specifically the mind of a human — does not like when things are inconclusive. It’s a natural phenomena and one reason people can become hooked to certain T.V. shows. Most season finales end with cliff hangers and it digs at the mind of a person for a long time before it is finished. It leaves them begging for more. It is why movies like Inception or American Psycho leave people bewildered at what actually happened. I am a sucker for these types of movies, by the way, which makes sense as to why I can rarely ever relax when my to-do list is constantly full. I like it that way, it makes my mind work. That is the attraction of having unfinished business, it lets the mind wander on its own and into areas of critical thinking and theory developing. Is Leonardo Dicarpio’s character in a dream or in reality? Is Patrick Bateman really a psychopath?
The NegativeSide OfThe Zeigarnik Effect
But, unfinished business can have a detrimental aspect to it. Like I was mentioning with my work load, it can add a lot of unnecessary stress to people’s lives, especially when it has to do with work. It’s the idea of constantly being busy and never having a moment to relax because all you are thinking about is what part of the work needs to be done. It is an added pressure to find time to make sure that deadline is met or that the endless cycles of work becomes finished and checked off.
For relationships, it also makes people feel hard to let go of ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, as your relationships with them are like unfinished business, after making so many promises and having so much imagination spending the rest of your life with them.
This is also why the death of famous people that happen without warning are so tragic. For examples; Michael Jackson, Prince and David Bowie.
How To Manage Your Unfinished Business
This one sounds lackluster and too easy to be utilized, and it really is. To do lists! Instead of having your mind go over and over everything on your plate, write it down and set time to get it done. My laptop has sticky notes all over of what things need to get done and written by what day and it’s always there as a reminder, not a detrimental hamper. I have become more used to realizing that the pressure does not have to hinder my life. I set times apart from the rest of my days to get as much done as possible. I channel the natural positivity that can come with The Zeigarnik Effect and let my creativity ride through my work, being a busy body and cranking out the things I need to when I need too. As a journalist and a writer, my life is one constant email of deadlines and setting up articles places, so these to do lists make it a bit easier to not be overwhelmed by the massive amounts of unfinished business always — and I mean always — lurking around the corner.