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