Ways To Help You Remember
Ways To Help You Remember: Every single one of us has a limitless memory capacity. Storage isn’t the issue, as our brains can hold everything and then some. It’s recall—accessing the information in our memories—that’s the sticking point. Not only is recall difficult, but it also affects how our peers perceive us. Think about it: The person who remembers details, dates, names, specifications—we think of that person as smart, organized and someone we want to do business with. The person who constantly apologizes for never remembering a name or recalls information incorrectly—we think of that person as less smart, or at least not as desirable a work partner as the person with the great memory. Memory matters in business. A lot. If your memory could use a boost, you’re in luck. With some effort, you can improve it. Try these that are mentioned below.
Become interested in what you’re learning. We’re all better remembering what interests us. Few people, for example, have a difficult time remembering the names of people they find attractive. If you’re not intrinsically interested in what you’re learning or trying to remember, you must find a way to become so.
Find a way to leverage your visual memory. You’ll be astounded by how much more this will enable you to remember. For example, imagine you’re at a party and are introduced to five people in quick succession. How can you quickly memorize their names? Pick out a single defining visual characteristic of each person and connect it to a visual representation of their name, preferably through an action of some kind. For example, you can remember Mike who has large ears by creating a mental picture of a microphone (a “mike”) clearing those big ears of wax (gross, I know—but all the more effective because of it). It requires mental effort to do this, but if you practice you’ll be surprised how quickly you can come up with creative ways to generate these images.
Create a mental memory tree. If you’re trying to memorize a large number of facts, find a way to relate them in your mind visually with a memory tree. Construct big branches first, then leaves. Branches and leaves should carry labels that are personally meaningful to you in some way, and the organization of the facts (“leaves”) should be logical. It’s been well recognized since the 1950’s we remember “bits” of information better if we chunk them.
Associate what you’re trying to learn with what you already know. It seems the more mental connections we have to a piece of information, the more successful we’ll be in remembering it. This is why using mnemonics actually improves recall.
Write out the items to be memorized over and over and over. Among other things, this is how I learned the names of bacteria, what infections they cause, and what antibiotics treat them. Writing out facts in lists improves recall if you make yourself learn the lists actively instead of passively. In other words, don’t just copy the list of facts you’re trying to learn but actively recall each item you wish to learn and then write it down again and again and again. In doing this, you are, in effect, teaching yourself what you’re trying to learn—and as all teachers know, the best way to ensure you know something is to have to teach it.
Do most of your studying in the afternoon. Though you may identify yourself as a “morning person” or “evening person” at least one study suggests your ability to memorize isn’t influenced as much by what time of day you perceive yourself to be most alert but by the time of day you actually study—afternoon appearing to be the best.