Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik found that the human brain needs closure. This phenomenon—known as the “Zeigarnik Effect”—states that adults have a 90% chance of remembering interrupted and incomplete thoughts or actions over those that have been seen through to completion. With its tendency to seek out patterns to process meaning, the brain becomes preoccupied with missing pieces of information. Unfinished tasks vie for our attention, causing intrusive thoughts that ultimately impede productivity and increase the opportunity for error.
Most people find that their work is pushed onto them by others. When demands and obligations overload them, they are seldom afforded the opportunity to object. Management expects them to “step up to the plate.” In those instances where workers attempt push back, they can’t justify themselves because they don’t have anything authoritative to point to that shows they’re already overextended. In such situations, they need an arbitrator, a disinterested third party who can say That person is overloaded, stop pushing work onto them. In the absence of one, they’re labelled whiners or worse,...
Pull when you can, be pushed when you must.
Despite what those books, conferences, workshops, and coaches tell us, productivity should not be the ultimate measure of human potential.