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Tools, Techniques and Tips to Improve Memory

Have you come across an embarrassing situation in which you were trying hard to recall someone’s name, but could not? If so, then it is time to work on memory power. Memory is essential to every aspect of life: professional, personal or social.

Start applying memory boosting tools and you will soon be on your way to develop razor-sharp memory.

1. Concentrate

Concentration is the fundamental to remembering things. If I have to mention only one reason we had better memory power as early as a decade back, than lack of concentration is the key reason. Many changes have occurred during past few years. There are several things to distract us. It started with TV and emails, then internet brought social media tools such as Facebook and twitter, and mobile brought further distractions with mobile social media tools such as whatsapp. On top of that, we are expected to multi-task and handle several stuffs at the same time. Concentration on important tasks suffered significantly. To improve memory, we need to go back to basics. Focus on single task at a time. That does not mean we avoid all the technology tools. It simply means if we are writing blog post, we switch off mobile and internet. Not just that, it even means if we are on facebook, we do not use Whatsapp. Single minded focus on one thing at a time is the key to remembering things.

2. Observe closely and critically

This is next thing you need to do once you start focusing on one thing at time. You need to start focusing closely. If you are meeting a person, observe everything about that person. What is the name? Is it a common name or unusual name? What does it mean? What is the person wearing? What is the colour of clothes? Look at everything closely and critically. This principle applies to everything you do whether watching a movie, or reading a book. Observe closely and critically.

3. Associate

Association is very powerful way to remember things. If you want to remember something and you can associate it with something you already know or do, you will have better chance of remembering it. Let’s say you want to remember that you have flight to catch at 1 pm tomorrow. It is difficult to remember this as standalone fact. But if you remember that the plane leaves at your lunch time and you will take lunch in the flight, it would be easy to remember.

4. Get impression through as many senses as possible

Higher the number of senses you include in your observation the more likely you are going to remember it. Did you like the dish you tried at the restaurant? How did it look? How did it taste? How was the smell? Can you include any more senses? Can you touch or even try to eat using hands? The more senses you stimulate, the better are chances you will remember something.

5. Get eye impression

Visual impression is more powerful than hearing or reading. So try to see things from your eyes, and you will remember them.

6. Repeat

Repetition is one of the key techniques to memorize stuff. Everybody who has written exams will already be familiar with the power of repetition or revision to memorize things. One thing to add here that not lot of people know, repetition with a gap is more powerful. So rather than using 5 continuous hours to repeat your next task 20 times, repeat it over 20 days with 15 mins spent each day.

7. Exercise

There is an old saying “A healthy mind lives in a healthy body”, and it stands true with many research studies backing the relationship between mind and body. So, don’t skip your exercise routine.

8. Brain exercise

While exercising body is important, exercising brain muscles is important as well. The exercises can range from mathematical puzzles to crosswords. Pick up something where mind is engaged and having fun. You can even pick up a new skill, sports, language, or a hobby. Just get your brain working with something fun and challenging.

9. Sleep

If you do not get enough and good quality sleep, both your body and brain will be working at sub optimal level. So, good sleep is essential to keeping your memory.

10. Lower stress

Stress can have extremely damaging effect on your sleep and your brain. While some amount of stress is good to keep concentration level high, a high amount of stress will be harmful to memory.

11. Structure and organize

Our brain can consume and recall structured information better and faster. So, before you starts to memorize things, it would be better to structure them in association orders. Creating Mind maps, structuring information in useful table, colour coding related information are some of the tools that can help.

12. Use Mnemonics

Mnemonics are short cut techniques to remember things. For examples -
  • Visual Image – Try to create a visual image. e.g. if you hear a name on phone, just try to create a mental image of that person.
  • Acronym – Use first letters to create an acronym (e.g. BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India, China)
  • Chunking – Split the information into smaller chunks that you can remember. This is most commonly used for numbers (for example phone numbers or credit card numbers 001-204-331-2010). But it can be used for many things including spellings, names, tough words.
You can see which ones work for you and even come up with your own Mnemonics such as rhymes, or create interesting sentence that includes information you are trying to remember.


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