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6 Memory Techniques to Help You Keep Things in Mind Effortlessly

6 Memory Techniques to Help You Keep Things in Mind Effortlessly

Have you found yourself missing appointments or forgetting simple tasks? Do you secretly worry that you might be losing your mind? Never fear! You and millions of others are struggling with this same issue every single day. We live in such a fast paced world, and very connected, that it is easier to forget or not retain information on a regular basis. Think about it. 30 years ago you could dial a phone number from memory and not think twice about it. Now we rely on the contacts list in our phone and never really have to memorize a number.

So what happens when we want to remember things and we feel like we can’t? We go back in time and pick up the old ways and make them new!

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Get creative and rhyme things out

One of the easiest ways to remember something is to put it into a rhyme or create a song. I can remember when I was young, I had a hard time remembering how to spell Valentine. I consistently wanted to spell it “Valentime”. So in order to learn it, I would sing a song called “will you be my Valentine” that has you spell out the word Valentine, rather than say it. And think about it, the songs and rhymes are often easiest for us to remember because of the beat of how we recite them. If you actually sat down and thought about how many songs you know by heart, you’d be pretty amazed with yourself!

Surprise, you can use mnemonic devices to memorize things too!

Mnemonic devices are a fantastic way to remember things. Everyone knows about the order of mathematics thanks to Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (aka PEMDAS). Without that mnemonic device, I would have failed math quickly!

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Always associate with something else when you get stuck with other methods

Names are a common thing many of us seem to be unable to remember, especially after we meet someone. I have been told often that when you meet someone, repeat their name and you will remember it. I can attest that it’s not true a lot of times. Especially if you are in a networking event! Associating something with the name is a much better way. In junior high school, I had to remember all the presidents and in order. This proved to be hard, until a family friend told me to create associations so that if I got stuck, the clue was the association. So if I got stuck at Garfield, I would be reminded to think of the cartoon cat. If it was Pierce, I would think about ears.

Imagine and create pictures for words

Sometimes we get bogged down with words and we forget that we don’t have to limit ourselves with just words. Using pictures to remind ourselves of information. This is extremely helpful if you already have a vivid imagination and tend to think with pictures. Simply take a situation, say turning in a report at 8 am, and create a picture of the report sitting next to a clock that says 8am. It should help you remember that task!

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Take a moment and visualize your needs before doing something

How many of us walk into a room to get something and forget why we went into that room? All of us! It is one of the more annoying occurrences in our lives and yet it’s pretty easy to reverse that situation. Simply take a moment and really think about what it is you want from that room. Let’s say you are going into the kitchen for a glass of water. Think about that before you go into the room and keep thinking about it while you go in. Don’t allow anything else to distract you!

Most importantly, pay attention to whatever information you are presented with!

I am sure you are already thinking “But I am paying attention!”. I understand completely but when I spoke with someone about this recently, we often think we are paying attention when we are not. When we forget names, it’s because we are often overwhelmed by the environment or the nervousness around meeting someone new. When we forget what we need from the kitchen, it’s because we are pulled in multiple directions at one time (you mothers know what I am talking about!). Take a moment, take a deep breath, and really pay attention to the information at hand.

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Follow these tricks, tackling one issue at a time, and you will notice a large change in your memory abilities!

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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