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."
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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