Have you ever recalled perfectly an unnamed song heard years ago but forgot about your recent project? That way of thinking is called the Zeigarnik Effect, and it can lead to some unwanted interruptions. Fortunately, you can help make your mind a lot stronger with this interesting phenomenon.

Cause And Effect

The Zeigarnik Effect was originally discovered by Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik in 1927. While at a restaurant, Zeigarnik’s professor Kurt Lewin determined that one waiter had a vast knowledge about unpaid orders. When everyone paid their part, the waiter suddenly forgot everything surrounding the orders.

Zeigarnik decided to conduct numerous experiments about this sudden memory loss. In the end, they determined completed tasks are forgotten about quicker than unfinished ones.

Influence In The Media

One inadvertent test of the Zeigarnik Effect was through jingles. Normally, these small songs on the radio tricked listeners in believing there’s an ending. Unfortunately, the songs ended as quickly as they came. This brief musical piece got stuck in the listener’s brain because they still believed there’s more to it. Being able to hear the full song would give them a sense of closure.

This mechanism is often used by several authors, including Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway. “I never come back to a blank page; I always finish about halfway through… If you stop when you are going good, as Hemingway said, then you know what you are going to say next. You make yourself stop, put your pencil down and everything, and you walk away,” Dahl said in an interview.

Slow And Steady

If you have a major task at hand, use the Zeigarnik Effect to your advantage. One major step involves jotting down your tasks on paper. “Our unconscious can’t write a plan so it pushes our conscious to think of this task more. Trying to figure out how it can be done,” writer Sarah Allen told Read Unwritten.

With your plan laid out, do it in tiny bits to give your mind a quick bookmark. As expected, you can use this method for just about anything. From exercising to reading a book, the Zeigarnik Effect can make your daily routine a bit more trouble-free.