“11.00 pm sharp. Reema finishes packing her bags, and rushes in front of the television to switch to Star Plus. Her mother is very angry because it is quite late, and she should go to bed, because she has early morning school hours. But who cares! Reema ‘will sleep no more’ unless she has found out what has happened of Ishita in her favourite show."
These days, popular cinema is constructed based on this psychology, so that we as audience do not forget the film. When episode in a TV show or serial ends on a query; for e.g. a dialogue or a conversation which never finishes and we are proceeded to preview the next episode, which means it ends unfinished, and the human brain naturally feels an urge to know what happens next.
An unfinished work or episode or anything, often distracts the mind much more than what we are doing at present. Probably, it is in basic human nature to finish what we start; in fact, we are genetically modified to do so. Hence, if something ends at an inconclusive point, it attracts our attention; it pokes us at intervals and we are not at ease unless and until we are able to know the conclusion or solution.
Often we have dreams at night, where we view a scattered story, which may be adventurous; for e.g. a dinosaurus is following you in the middle of nowhere. You are awakened from your dream with the shock and fear of getting trampled to death, but you feel an urge to go back to sleep again, because you want to know what happens at the end; do you win or the dinosaur, isn't it?
When we do not finish what we start, we tend to remember it more; our memory preserves it, and that is often agitating to our present work which may be requires more effort.
Baumeister & Bushman, 2008 defines the Zeigarnik Effect as the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete.
The Zeigarnik effect suggests that students who suspend their study, during which they do unrelated activities (such as studying unrelated subjects or playing games), will remember material better than students who complete study sessions without a break (McKinney 1935; Zeigarnik, 1927).
The automatic system signals the conscious mind, which may be focused on new goals, that a previous activity was left incomplete. We feel a kind of dissonance if we do not have the to-do list completed checked.
There is a negative side to this.
If a person is poked with the thoughts of his previous work, which was unfinished, he will find difficult to concentrate on the present task.
Even if we complete our present work somehow, the unfinished chapters of the book, never give us a moment of peace or relaxation and that can be stressful.
Relationships can be negatively affected if people do not forget their ex girl friends or boy-friends.
How can you manage this dilemma?
- Do not keep thinking and thinking.
- Set your goals for the day, by making notes.
- If you have a plan of finishing the previous work, time management is the best policy.
- Set up a time table regularly, so that you know which time is scheduled for which task, hence you can go by it accordingly.
- Use the drawback as an inspiration.
- Zeigarnik Effect will remind you of your unfinished tasks; do not get stressed. It is good that you are still into it, hence go ahead and finish it, instead of slothing around. This will make you a man of firm personality and a conclusive nature.
- In case of personal life, do not turn over the pages of a closed chapter. Futile attempts only lead to failure. So if something is useless, do not pursue that task, go ahead with the better works.
- Mind exercise is the best way of self-control. Practise meditations to stop procrastinating.