By London Incubator Center 10 February, 2024 0 Comment Focused Operations
How To Close Open Loops And Stop Thinking About Work
A term that every entrepreneur, solopreneur, and digital publisher should know about is: The Zeigarnik Effect. However, I highly suspect that you don’t know this term, and that you probably have never heard of it before! That’s a shame, seeing as understanding this concept is what can help you to gain a better separation between work and relaxation, while also being more focused and more productive.
So, what is the Zeigarnik effect?
Essentially, the Zeigarnik effect is an effect that explains why we sometimes find it hard to let something go. If you have heard of the Zeigarnik Effect, it’s probably because you’ve heard the story of how it was first discovered by psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik. Zeigarnik was, the story goes, enjoying dinner at a restaurant with her friends. She was amazed to find that the waitress serving their table was able to remember all of their names, as well as all of their orders without needing to write anything down!
But what was strangest to Zeigarnik of all, was that when she returned to the restaurant to retrieve her forgotten purse, the waitress didn’t even recognize her! How could she remember so much detail about her and her party, only to them forget everything again?
Thus, she went about describing what we now know as the Zeigarnik effect.
Essentially, when the brain is working on something actively, it keeps all of the information and ideas relating to that subject to hand. Not only that, but it also becomes much more tuned-in to that frequency: you are more likely to spot things relating to the subject you’re considering, and you’re more likely to overhear people talking about that subject.
This is sometimes referred to as an “open loop.” Once you consider that task completed though, the loop closes!
So what does all this have to with you as a digital publisher?
Well, as a publisher, you are going to be juggling a LOT of disparate tasks all at once. Chances are, that some of these tasks will stay “open” when you switch off the computer and go downstairs to be with your family.
But have you “switched off” in your mind?
If there are ideas and thoughts relating to work still lingering in your mind, then you may find that the answer is no. You may find it is very difficult to focus on downtime with family, or whatever else it is you choose to do, because your brain is still churning over and working out the problems you were struggling with during the day.
This is why many of us find it so hard to switch off from work when our day is over, and it’s the reason that many of us end up stressed and burned out as a result.
The simple solution? Find a way to symbolically “put a pin” in whatever it is that you were doing. That could mean writing things down so that they’re off your mind, or it could mean finding a way to “complete” the project.
You’ll find that there are actually a whole lot of smaller projects that will vie for your attention at any given time. Perhaps you have emails you need to answer or phonecalls you need to make. These small tasks can end up stealing your mental “bandwidth” simply by remaining in an open state. So if anything is very quick to finish, you should aim to finish it right away.
Consider subscribing to the “1 minute rule.” That is to say that any job that takes less than one minute to complete should be completed immediately upon receiving it. Join our strategic growth network for more tips and strategies on how to to close open loops and stop thinking about work.