Have you ever forgotten where you’ve left your keys or drawn a blank on someone’s name? Memory lapses can happen occasionally, but you might not want to shrug them off if they’re a frequent occurrence. Aging has long been associated with memory loss, but it is not necessarily so. The fleeting memory problems you experience as you age are a reflection of changes in the structure and function of the brain. For the not-so-aged, memory lapses might be quickly resolved by using a reminder system that sends notifications to your phone to keep track. Your system could be as simple as a calendar with daily reminders or a digital to-do-list detailing all your important tasks.
But surely, fixing your memory should go beyond a reliance on technology, right? Correct! If you’re willing to make the effort, you can take decided steps to supercharge your retention. There’s a mountain of research articles outlining various strategies that you can start using today to dramatically improve your memory and finally recall that person’s name at the dinner party and where you left your eyeglasses. Here are seven you can try.
Your brain is not designed to remember and store mundane things. It’s the reason why you forget most of the information you’re exposed to every day. Give your brain the break it needs by relieving it from storing information you can easily write down. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to remember everyone’s name in a large organization or the birthdays and anniversaries of all your relatives. In today’s digital world, you can store and access information at your fingertips – and there’s an app for just about everything. Save important dates and tasks to a planner, calendar, or notetaking app. At home or at the office, have a designated place for your keys, glasses, medication, and anything that you’re likely to forget. This one tip will help you declutter your brain and focus on the things you need to remember.
Internalizing a thought or task does not mean that it has registered in your memory. At the moment it might appear that it did, but you’ll forget it within the hour – or in a day. One way to create a stamp on your memory is to say it out loud a few times. If you just met someone and need to remember his/her name, you might use the name immediately and make a connection to someone or something familiar. If you want to remember a task you need to get done, say it out load and include a date and time by which it must be completed. Same with phone numbers and anything else you need to remember.
It may not always be convenient to record everything in writing, but wherever possible, write it down if you need to remember it. Jot it down on a piece of paper if it’s quicker. Studies have shown that the practice of putting pen to paper is as close to writing in your memory as you can get. You can then transfer your notes to a digital notetaking app to avoid the confusion and clutter of multiple paper notes. The act of writing it a second time will further reinforce the message and improve recall at a later date.
We’ve all learned the art of making connections in grade school. As you connect concepts it will become easier to remember what you need. We lose sight of this principle as adults, but we need to go back to where we started. If you establish connections between the content on your work presentation to stories you’d like to inject, you can improve the flow and remember all you need to say. Make the connection between something that’s tangible and the name of someone that you’d like to remember. Connection is everything. Relanote is a notetaking app that utilizes the value of connections, giving users the opportunity to remember more of what they save and also create new thoughts and ideas as they see visual connections.
This point is closely tied to the one above. Making connections is the first step. A visual of how one thought or memory connects to another will improve retention. While some of us are visual learners, we all benefit in one way or another by creating a visual of what we need to remember. Add an image, a video, chart, or another graphic of a single idea, or connect ideas to your notes to further cement the information in your mind. Relanote offers the option to upload graphics to your notes and generates an insightful graph view of your connecting notes.
Revisit your ideas several times to establish them in your long-term memory. Whether it’s the tasks you need to complete for a work project, a speech you need to present, or an exam you need to pass, repetition is key. Don’t try to consume all the information in one sitting. Repetition is a must for long-term retention. Review the material over several sessions to process the information. Depending on the urgency, you can review it every few hours, days, weeks, or months. Use the robust features in Relanote to create concise notes with tags for easy retrieval when you need them. Revisiting your notes also has another surprising benefit when they’re connected to other material- the ability to create new thoughts and ideas.
Just as the information stored in your memory is organized in clusters, you can get the most of the information you consume by organizing them. You can make use of categories, tags, folders, and other organizational methods to group information in a way that you can easily remember and access. There is no one way to organize information. What works for you may not be efficient for someone else. Some may organize from the top down while others work from the bottom to the top and create categories as they go along. Relanote offers both hierarchical and non-hierarchical note-taking to fit your needs. Add order to your notes using files and folders and make connect the dots with bi-directional links for greater insights and retention.
Implement these tips into your daily routine and see how much your mind can truly retain.