Your Mind Hates Unfinished Tasks

Finishing your tasks is important for your health.

Dirk Hooper
Nov 5 · 4 min read

Recently, I became sick for a couple of months. Unfortunately, that put me behind on everything that I do. And, I don’t know about you, but when I get behind on things I get stressed out, which makes it more difficult for me to complete all the stuff that I have on my plate.

That leads to a never-ending cycle of not getting things completed and being stressed because none of the things you’re doing are finished. Do you see where this is a never-ending cycle?

A maelstrom of uncompleted activities is going to drive you insane.

You must complete your tasks.

I’m in an unusual situation because I am a fiction and nonfiction writer. I’m a professional photographer. I do consultation and social management and coaching through Sexy Networking. I also do illustrations and artwork and I’m trying to finish comic book stuff on the side.

Needless to say, I’m busy.

What I do requires me to juggle numerous different jobs all at the same time. And I’ve learned methods to create organization, but if I don’t finish tasks, they nag me constantly.

I’m the type of guy who can be a worrier instead of being a warrior.

Maybe you’re like this too.

There’s something called The Zeigarnik Effect which is created when an interrupted task occurs. It’s the same thing that happens when a movie ends in a cliffhanger, like Avengers: Infinity War, or when your favorite show has a character shot in the season finale. It creates stress on the audience that keeps them interested until it’s resolved.

Look no further than the box office receipts for Avengers: Endgame to see how effective that is.

The Zeigarnik Effect constantly brings up tasks in your mind until you have completed them.


Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik’s research showed that the human mind hates unfinished tasks. Zeigarnik theorized that incomplete tasks incite “psychic tension” in you, which can be a persuasive impetus to complete the task. As long as you leave the task unfinished, your brain is in an uncomfortable position. Thoughts of the task serve to remind your brain of what it needs to do to get “comfortable” once again. As soon as you complete the task, this tension is alleviated, and in so doing, your brain lets the mind to release thoughts of the task from consciousness.

Simply put, uncompleted tasks cause you stress. Stress from not completing your actions can be a major factor in your health. And without health, you’re sunk.

Here are some of the long-term effects of stress on your body;

· digestive problems

· anxiety

· headaches

· depression

· sleep problems

· weight gain

· memory and concentration issues

· high blood pressure

· heart disease and stroke

A maelstrom of uncompleted activities is going to drive you insane.

My proposal on how to combat this issue is to simply complete your tasks.

Don’t “touch” things twice if they can be finished quickly.

If you open an email from someone and read it then reply to it then and be done with it.

If you have a project, then set up goals throughout the project and mark them off, to give your noggin’ a break.

And if you have jobs to do around the house, take the time to wrap them up.

Your body and mind will thank you.

There’s another option too.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to walk away from a project or task that you’re not going to get done, or if it’s causing you too much stress.

Maybe you should delegate it to someone else, or pay someone to do it, or just accept that it’s not going to get done.

Learn to say no to things that are a time-suck, or you’re not passionate about.

The point is to clear the way for the real important things in your life, so you are present and fully focused on what’s happening right now.

Those little unfinished tasks are keeping you from doing the big stuff that really matters to you.

Sweep those small things out of your brain so your mind will be at peace.

And that will protect you from stress, which is something we should all be working on.

Once your mind is clear you will be more productive and present overall.

Hello, my name is Dirk Hooper. I have a deep passion for writing that has led me to win a few awards. I’ve had work published at Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, Business Insider, Quartz, The Sporting News, and much more.

In addition to writing, I’m a professional photographer and artist, a consultant for adult marketing and branding, and an audio talent.

My love for words extends to reading as well. Let’s connect!

You’ll see stories on writing, motivation, entertainment, life, business, marketing, art, kink, and poetry on my Medium profile.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

Dirk Hooper

Written by

Professional Award-Winning Writer, Adult Branding & Marketing Consultant, Award-Winning Photographer, Artist, Audio Talent, Journalist & BDSM mentor.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

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