“Do not depend on your rusty memory,” my high school teacher usually says. And he’s right, most of the time. That kind of statement encourages some to take down notes to improve learning and focus. But there are situations that force us to rely on our good old brain to keep important information retained and sorted out. I’m sure there are times when you don’t have enough time to pull out a pen and paper and jot things down. Right? So if you want to improve your memory and remember more, read and apply the top 10 tricks to improve your memory listed below.
10. Take a nap. It may not look like a smart thing to do especially in school or at the office, but napping improves your memory and learning by reducing the brain’s resistance when fed with new material. The relaxed state of mind also helps you absorb and recall that new information.
9. Distract yourself. No, I don’t mean you have to start playing games right on your computer. Instead, involve yourself in smart distractions by momentarily switching to a related but slightly different task. Let’s say you’re working on CSS, try moving from one CSS function and then back. This way you’re forcing you’re brain to hold on the first thing you were focusing on. This form of distraction also helps in reducing stress which helps in your concentration.
8. Use the Palace Technique. The Palace Technique is about visually associating what you want to remember with what you see as you walk around your “palace”. That palace could be a familiar route from your office to your home, or a path from your cubicle to the coffee machine. Now associate the task that you need to do, let’s say buying a gallon of milk, with scenes of your memory palace such as the elevator. Next, imagine that elevator being filled with milk and keep that in mind for a moment. The more ridiculous the better. Finally, when you need to remember, just stroll through your palace and you should recall the gallon of milk as you start with the elevator.
7. Draw a name map. Now this is the time you need to write something down on a piece of paper. Let’s say you’re introduced to someone during a meeting, you quickly draw a simple map with their name and any identifying characteristics or seating arrangement that can help you recall it (i.e., Daniel, blue tie, glasses, loud voice, etc). This will surely help you avoid the “what was your name again?” scenario.
6. Use dramatic imagery. This one is similar to the Palace Technique as it uses visual association in order to recall certain objects or tasks. Let’s say you need to buy bacon, imagine your front door as a large fried bacon. The crazier your imagination is, the better. Now before you leave your house you should remember to buy that bacon.
5. Use patterns. This one is really helpful in remembering complex and lengthy passwords. Instead of trying to remember a sequence of numbers or letters, use patterns. For example, if you want to remember “852456″, just look at the numeric keyboard and realize that the number sequence creates a cross pattern. You won’t be able to remember the sequence quickly but the pattern can be easily recalled.
4. Repetition technique. If you want to remember someone’s name then you have to use it multiple times. I’m not saying that you have to recite Sue’s name ten times in a row, but rather use his name multiple times after you met him. For example, “Hello, Sue, it’s nice meeting you. So, Sue, what do you….” Another technique is to associate a name with a famous character. Let’s say you just met Fred, then try to imagine Fred Flintstone. Not only you get to remember his name, but you’re also having fun in the process.
3. Use mnemonics. Are you familiar with the expression, “How I wish I could calculate pi.” That statement is actually a word-length mnemonic of pi to seven decimal places (3.141592). Have you figured it out? Using mnemonics can help you remember complex things a lot easier.
2. Post-It. I’ll give in to my high-school teacher this time. Writing down notes is very effective in remembering things but if you’re not constantly reading what you’ve written then it’s virtually useless. Try writing down notes on Post-Its. Post it somewhere you can always see it, i.e., on your monitor, on the mirrors, on the front door, or on the refrigerator.
1. Diet. If you want to improve your memory then you have to watch your diet. Feed your brain the right nutrients it needs and give it a boost. Read our article about the Top 10 Foods to Enhance Your Brain.
Hopefully these techniques can help you grease up that rusty memory of yours, enabling you to remember more and forget less. If you have other techniques that you would like to share, please feel free to write it in the comments below.
“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” ~Kevin Arnold