As Lloyd Christmas said in Dumb and Dumber, I think … yes. I think I have an idea. Yes. It’s definitely an idea.
Stress is merely a result of thinking about things we’re not doing or things we think might happen, but haven’t happened. We don’t get stressed about a thing that actually happened because, well, it happened and we’re dealing with it. The solution to eliminating stress in our lives is …wait for it …doing things. More specifically …getting things done.
Recently I was asked to talk about an idea known as InBox Zero, introduced many years ago by Merlin Mann, and while researching the topic and looking for updates, I stumbled across and idea of the Zeigarnik Effect which is the idea you get more done when you do more. OK, it actually states humans are compelled to finish a task they’ve already started. When we don’t finish, we can’t stop thinking about it.
Duh. Seems easy. But we all know it’s not.
Television is popular because it allows us to not do things – another new theory of mine. That TV has adverse effects on us. It scrambles the Zeigarnik Effect, so to speak. For instance, you can’t worry that you haven’t talked to your mother in months or that your pipes are leaking and causing mold to grow in your crawl space when you’re laughing at Jerry Seinfeld and his predicament.
But let’s quick explore the idea (or my understanding of it) of the Zeigarnik Effect. Try a very simple thing today. Make a list and don’t go to sleep until everything on that list is done. Don’t include anything like “climb Mt. Everest” …I mean simply the mundane. Get gas. Buy drain cleaner. Call my tax guy.
Make a list and do everything. I’ll do the same. Guess what I’m checking off right now? Write a blog post.