How To Train and Improve Your Memory. Increase Retention. Remember More.

Adam O writes...

"My memory is really bad. I don't remember things that I should. I'm still a young guy, so I'm not suffering from Alzheimer's (yet). lol. How can I improve my memory and remember more stuff? Thanks Jeff."

Replies (15)
  • Hi Adam.

    Great question! I used to pride myself on my memory when I was younger, but over time I do notice a little bit of a drop off. It gets frustrating, especially when someone else has to remind me of something I should have, or normally would have, remembered. Ugh!

    Here are a couple of tutorials on the subject:

    Top 9 Ways To Sharpen Your Memory Fast

    How To Quickly Sharpen Your Mind Each Night Before Bed

    Below is a list of memory improving strategies and techniques. I invite members to add their own tips, advice and suggestions too.

    Learn how to improve your memory and solve your problem, click here.

    • Write It Down.

      I write everything down. I have lists by topic all over the place (but a great system of organization).

      I find it enormously helpful because what I have trouble remembering what I hear. When I write it down, I can remember seeing what I wrote on a piece of paper. It sounds strange, but that's how my brain works.

      Keep a journal if you must. When you record the happenings of your day, you’re forced to think about it again. Doing that is like rehearsing the information. And with rehearsal comes recall.

      • Even if you’re not much of a writer, you can use your journal to jot quick notes or even sketch out a drawing to remind you of what happened that day.

      • When you flip through and read your journal again, more thoughts about those events will be prompted to emerge, and you’ll remember more.
      • Remember the names of those you meet by repeating their names verbally.

        If you use person's name in the conversation just after you meet them, you are more likely to recall their name later on.

        • For example, if you were introduced to Charlie at a party, you could say something like, “Hi, Charlie, I’m very pleased to meet you.” When you repeat Charlie’s name at the party, you’re increasing your chances of remembering his name later.

        • Observe and pay attention to what’s happening around you.

          In some situations, you may find yourself getting distracted or simply not paying attention. If you can stay consciously connected to the current moment, you will solidify your memory of the event and be able to recall it later.

          Also try to find something unique or different about what's happening. It sticks in your mind much better and will help you remember everything else that was happening simultaneously.

          • Allow yourself a brief “mind rest.”

            Interestingly, some new memory research states you can boost your recall later simply by taking a break for a few minutes after learning something new.

            • Sitting quietly and relaxing your mind helps you absorb the recently-learned information.
            • Get regular exercise.

              It really is true that taking a brisk 30 minute walk or playing tennis three or four times a week ensures your brain (and memory) stays in shape.

              • When you do something to strengthen or build cells, you’re also increasing your ability to remember.
              • Get enough sleep.

                Another simple, but effective method to remember more. Our society is so sleep deprived that no wonder memory is slipping. When you’re deprived of sleep, your mind doesn’t think as well and you can easily forget things.

                • Strive for the amount of sleep you require, usually 7 or 8 hours for most people. The more rested your mind is, the more likely it is you’ll be able to absorb the next day’s events.

                 

                • Enjoy puzzles.

                  Try engaging in some kind of puzzle or brain teaser every day. When your brain is used to working, it'll continue to do so. If it spends too much time being idle, your memory skills will start to slip without you even really noticing it.

                  • Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body.
                  • Repetition.

                    Repetition transfers information in your brain from short term to long term memory. Simple, right? So why not use it more often?

                    • If you're trying to remember names, repeat the names out loud or write them down.

                    • If you need to remember information, write it on flash cards and review them periodically.
                    • Peg items to your memory.

                      Here is an easy way to remember a list of items. Even if your memory is horrible, you can easily remember a list of 20+ things with minimal effort.

                      • Think of the number one. What does it remind you of? Let’s say it reminds you of a tree or a telephone pole. If you’re trying to remember a shopping list, the first item might be milk. Picture in your mind a cow that is up in a tree being milked by a farmer. Something outrageous like that is easy to remember.

                      • A few suggestions: 2=light switch, since it has two positions, 3= stool (3 legs), 4=car (4 doors, 4 wheels), 5=glove (5 fingers), and so on. Make up your own memory pegs.
                      • Be aware of state-dependent learning.

                        We best recall information in the state in which we learned it.

                        • For example, if you learned something at home, you’ll have better recall in that same environment. If you’re taking a class, attempt to study in the same room where you’ll be tested.
                        • Space out your memorization sessions.

                          Attempting to memorize complex information in one sitting doesn’t work well for most people. It’s much more effective to review the information several times spaced out over the course of several days.

                          • Perhaps you can spend every day for a week memorizing something. Then, you can make it 2-3 days a week for the next two weeks. Eventually, you’ll only have to spend one day per week. There isn’t a hard and fast rule. The complexity of the information will dictate the schedule.
                          • Use mnemonic devices.

                            Mnemonic devices can be used to help you remember certain bits of information by relating the facts to an easy-to-remember image, word, tune, or phrase.

                            • For example, the classic sentence, "Every Good Boy Does Fine," has been used for generations to help people remember the lines of the treble clef (EGBDF) for sheet music.

                            • Relating the knowledge you want to remember to jokes or rhymes works well, too. These are fun ways to remember facts.
                            • Visualize concepts.

                              Images can be very powerful. If you're a visual person, you might find visualizing more helpful than some of the other techniques. Visual people remember better if they see what they need to remember. It will usually help you to see information in a picture, chart, or graph.

                              * This describes me as I mentioned in a post above. I found a way to explain it better here.

                              • Learn how to meditate.

                                Meditation is excellent for clearing the mind and teaching you how to concentrate. Meditation is all about maintaining your focus on a single thought or point.

                                • Begin by seeing how long you can sit and focus entirely on your breath. It probably won’t be very long at first. But when your mind wanders, simply bring it back to your breath.

                                • Meditation can be a great way to take a break. After working for an hour, take a 10-minute meditation break. Your mind will stay focused and relaxed. You’ll find that you can work longer, too.
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