I took a look around my room. There are pieces of a prop sword waiting to be finished on the sofa. Next to it are pieces of a lightsaber (also waiting for their turn). There is a fan waiting to be installed in my PC.
I looked at my posts drafts - all of them started but nowhere close to be finished.
There is a thing in psychology known as Zeigarnik effect. It states that we have a better recollection of unfinished things. Once we finish something, it is harder for us to recall that thing.
It's like having an open tab in our brain for every started and unfinished task. Just like in a web browser, each open tab takes up resources and stares at you, reminding about its existence.
Open too many tabs in your brain and they will eat all your brainpower. There is an easy path from there to anxiety, lack of focus and being overwhelmed by everything.
The good news is that it is possible to close open tasks. Once they are completed, they are gone, and you get back your brainpower.
How to close tabs in your brain
Make a list of incomplete tasks
The first thing is to assess the situation. Move everything that is in your head onto a piece of paper. Look around you and write down everything that asks for your attention. The goal is to have all your tabs in front of you.
Organise your tabs
Go through each item on the list and ask yourself two questions:
- Do I need to complete this ASAP or can it wait?
- Is this important?
Effectively, we are grouping our tasks into 4 groups and what to do wit them
- Urgent and important - those are your top priorities
- Urgent and not important - ask someone to do them or find a way to automate them
- Not urgent but important - schedule them for later
- Not urgent and not important - these are not worth your time and should be removed
A note about eliminating tasks - we are still completing them. They are not finished but we complete them. The goal is to complete your brain tabs, even if it means binning them.
Go cross things out
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same is with your tabs. Pick the first one from ASAP and important group and complete it. Then pick the next one, complete, and so on and on. It is that simple.
Each closed tab releases your brainpower, increases your focus and clears space in your brain. The more clear space you have in your brain, the more creative and powerful you become.
I'll go now to clean up my brain tabs.