The fact that a waiter can more easily recall incomplete orders than served ones is called the Zeigarnik effect, named for the Russian psychologist who did the study. A later study showed that people are 90% more likely to remember undone tasks than those they completed. However, if you tell your brain when you’ll complete a task, it will kill the worry loop.
This is why I love lists. Once I get the menu for a party on a list, map out when each course will be prepared, the day for shopping, and timing for the party, the event seems less daunting. Christmas lists work the same way. With nineteen grandkids and four greats, I have a Christmas Gift Book. I list each family, the amount of money to be spent on each adult and child then I begin to fill in ideas and purchases. I like to have the process well underway before Thanksgiving. My gift buying is now complete and my wrapping day is scheduled. I remind myself that I’m nearly done so my brain can relax and not be burdened with the undone tasks ahead.
Affirmation: Dear Brain, we got this!
Coaching question/requests: What techniques do you use to keep out of the worry loop? Remember to tell your brain when you’ll complete a task. Enjoy these last days before Christmas.