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5 important things to do every day to improve your memory

5 important things to do every day to improve your memory

Aren’t you forgetting something?

For the most part of my life, I have always maintained a pretty good memory.

Because I was such a planner in my younger years, it carried over into my parenting days as well.

When my three sons became active in school plays, athletic contests, and presentations, I needed a system to help me keep track of everything. Twenty-five years ago, we didn’t have notifications or online calendars to remind us of something we needed to do.

No, we did things the old fashioned way…we wrote things down on a calendar.

Every year, I would receive two — one for my desk at work and the other one I hung on the wall at home. The day after Christmas, I would update both of them with as much information as I knew at that time.

Then, I took it a step further…

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I highlighted each event with a different color highlighter. Each member of the family was assigned a color and it made it easy looking at the calendar to see who had conflicts and where my husband and I would need to “divide and conquer.”

For example, the boys played select baseball and on any given year, each boy would have at least 40-50 games a piece between April and July. Oh, and my husband coached all of them over 17 years.

We don’t choose to forget

In today’s busy world, we are bound to forget something.

My best friend has a hard time remembering things and perhaps some of you can relate.

Like you, she is always thinking.

Technology has forced our brains into “overload” with all of this information at our fingertips through the applications on our smart phones and the ever present Google.

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Some of our retention ability may stem from our never-ending stimulus that surrounds us every day.

I’ll admit it, my phone is never off — even when it is next to my bed. (However, I do choose to leave it at home on occasion.)

So why are some of us better at remembering things while others of us are not?

Some might suggest that owning your own business requires so much of you — because you have to know and do everything, you simply remember everything.

Okay…that’s not it. My best friend owns her own business,

Others might suggest that we don’t get enough sleep.

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That could be, but she is tired most of the time.

As we get older, our brains will get more and more tired.

Eventually, we will forget a few things.

However, in the meantime, let’s start doing these 5 things now!

1. Make a routine

When we keep a schedule, we have less to remember. Our bodies and minds are on “auto-pilot” and do things because of muscle memory. Maybe that routine is as simple as getting up at the same time every day. Over time, our bodies will learn to wake up at the same time and we will not feel so groggy each morning. In addition, incorporate a routine into your daily life as much as possible. Creating habits that you follow every day can be difficult at first, but eventually, you’ll need to remember less. Completing familiar tasks every day become cemented into our minds, allowing space for new information to find its way in.

2. Play memory games

Every morning, I play two games, both of which are kind of like “Where’s Waldo?”, but in a mystery type theme. Different locations become available the more I play. I move onto different levels based on the success I have in finding all of the objects in the quickest time in the early levels. Over time, not only do I recall the different information shared with me on each level, but my finding these objects increases too. The objects (their colors, shapes, past locations) become almost certain to where I will find them next in future levels. The games teach me to play them better based on my past experiences with the game, creating a learning atmosphere I otherwise would not have obtained.

3. Laugh out loud

Life can be pretty serious most days. With deadlines to meet and places to be, we are so focused on getting things done that we don’t take time to laugh out loud. It has been proven that laughter reduces our stress level and releases chemicals in our bodies that make us feel good. Simple joys and funny things happen all the time, but we miss them too often. A simple giggle (even with something you did) can immediately take our mind off of something. That may not seem like a good thing, but in the end, we will be able to get back on track with what needs done. Life should never be taken so seriously that we don’t laugh at least one a day. (Permission granted.)

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4. Write things down

Remember the calendar I mentioned earlier? Here is where that comes in along with the never-ending “to-do” lists. I am old-fashioned and believe in the power of the pen and paper (when not available, I will use my smart phone). Writing it down releases it from your mind and puts it somewhere you can see it. Writing things down can also keep your hard-earned money in your wallet as well. For example, it has been said that people who take a list with them to do their grocery shopping tend to spend less money. Side note: Choose designated areas for these “lists” so you don’t need to remember where they are…

5. Exercise

Just like laughing, doing something with our muscles is good for our body in many different ways. Whether our form of exercise is getting on a treadmill at 5 am or doing some boxing in a ring, giving our body a good workout is beneficial to our muscle growth and health maintenance. Our minds need to be challenged as much as our bodies do and staying fit allows things to work more smoothly. Even if you are not out to run a marathon or become the strongest man/woman on earth, getting a regular dose of exercise will not only keep your body fit, it will tidy up your mind as well.

So, let’s work smarter

No doubt life will just get more complicated as we move through it. With more and more information trying to vie for the amount of limited space we have in our brains, we will forget things. Some of these things will be irrelevant while others might be more important.

Life is hard enough as it is, so let’s find ways to “hack” it and become better in the process.

In the meantime, take some of these helpful hints and apply them to your everyday life.

You just might be surprised at what you remember.

I know my best friend might be too.

Featured photo credit: Priscilla via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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