Guest Post by Louise Baker
We live in an increasingly complex world. Every day, it seems we are asked to remember more things – passcodes for various accounts, anniversaries and birthdays, tasks to complete, and more. While organizational tools such as day planners and PDAs can help keep track of it all, it is still important to remember much of this information. If you struggle with data recollection, you may feel like you can’t do anything to improve your situation. You may think that you were born with a bad memory, and that you are stuck with it. Fortunately, that is not the case. Memory is just like any other thinking skill – there are things that you can do to improve you ability to remember things. Below are five simple tips that you can use to improve your memory.
- Give your brain some exercise. Imagine if you did a fitness regimen that consisted of nothing but pushups all day long. You would soon have well-developed arms, chest and shoulders, but the rest of your body would look the same as it did when you started. Your brain works the same way. If you perform the same tasks over and over every day, it gets into a rut and its overall ability to function is diminished. You can exercise all of the parts of your brain by giving it new tasks – something as simple as trying to perform a task with your eyes closed can help.
- Write things down. Many people think that if they have a good memory, they don’t need to bother writing things down. In fact, the opposite is true – writing things down helps improve your memory. This is because your brain is thinking about the item for an extra amount of time as you as writing, and that extra amount of time is often enough to lock that item inside your brain.
- Understand an item completely. If someone asks you to perform a task, and their description of the task isn’t clear, it will be harder for your brain to visualize the task, and as a result you may forget it. Ask questions about the item you are being asked to remember if you do not totally understand it. Get a firm understanding of the item. If it is a physical thing, try to picture the thing. If it is a task, visualize yourself performing the task. If there are “holes” in your visualization, get more information until the visualization is clear.
- Use small lists. Phone numbers are easier to understand because they are broken into groups. 800-555-1212 is easier for the brain to remember than 8005551212.
- Live healthy. Studies have shown that people who get proper amounts of sleep remember things better than the sleep deprived, and that non-smokers have better memories than smokers.
By using these tips, you can help improve your ability to remember the important pieces of information in your life.