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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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