Monday, 3 December 2018

How to Remember Things

How to remember things
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
I have always claimed to have a fairly good memory and when it comes to things like conversations that I have had, places I have visited and stories that interest me this is true. There are times though that I have to memorize things in which I am not naturally interested and that can be much more difficult.

I also find that when there are many tasks that need doing it is easy to overlook one or two and then remember too late in the day that they have been missed. What about those times when I open a drawer and wonder why? Do you ever do that? Many people tell me that they often go to do a task and can’t remember what it was.

In order to make sure that I remember things better I have been looking at some suggestions online, some of which I already do. So following my research here are some ways that will show you how to remember things.

When it comes to learning new things, writing down key notes about the main points is useful. I have always found it helpful when learning many new things to use a mind map. The use of colours too can be helpful and to have a colour code, perhaps to place things in a group or order of importance will be advantageous too. The important thing with this method is that it must suit you and the way that you remember things and not one that is designed for someone else. It’s also suggested that we use pictures because these are easier to remember than words.

Those that enter memory competitions have a system that every object they memorise is attached to another object that they already have listed in their mind. One trick that I was taught is that if you want to remember objects is to imagine them in your own home. The trick is then mentally to visualize your home and ‘look’ at the objects you placed mentally in your home setting. It’s a good party trick but not necessarily practical for remembering facts.

Break down into memorable sections

To remember numbers particularly long ones, break the number down into sections. For example, 265,456 is much easier to remember as 265 - 456 or 26-54-56. Look at combinations that will make more sense and easier to learn for any numbers. It’s also good when memorising any names or numbers to say them out loud. When I am introduced to people for the first time I often forget their name but when I apply the ‘say their name 3 times’ rule it does work. What is this rule? It is that when introduced to someone it is best to immediately use their name and try and do so 3 times very quickly in the opening conversation.

To remember tasks that need to be done it really is best to get in the habit of writing them down. This not only makes sure that you don’t forget but gives you the opportunity to clearly plan your day. The more that you do this, in fact, the better your memory is likely to become but don’t skip the process of writing down once you feel that you can remember all the tasks for the day. A to-do list is one of the best things that I got out of a day spent on a time management course many years ago. Perhaps I will write more about time management on another occasion.

If you are reading and the publication you are reading belongs to you then using a highlighter or pencil to underline key points will help you to remember. It’s also good to stop and think about what you have read and look at it from different angles. The more you analyse what you read the more likely you are to remember it. Modern tablet computers usually have a highlighter feature built in. I usually find it more difficult to take in information from a standard vertical computer screen, perhaps that is why tablets are more popular to read from. For important information that I need to learn, I will print the document. This allows me to highlight, underline and make marginal notes. If you have the opportunity talk to others about what you are trying to remember as this can reinforce your learning and impress it more on the memory.

It’s vital to note that it is very difficult to learn new things when we are tired and so getting enough rest is important if we are going to remember things. Our brain, after all, is similar to other muscles and parts of our body that require time to recuperate. For many of us that are not in manual jobs that would make us physically tired, we can often push the boundaries too far and not get enough sleep.

Use it or lose it

One thing that I have noticed is the more we try to remember the easier it becomes. Someone once described the brain as a muscle and that if you don’t use it it will not be as effective. Modern technology can make us lazy and things like phone numbers are now stored in a phone’s memory and therefore it takes away a need to memorise. This applies in many other ways and kids are heard to say “why I should I learn this when I can simply look it up on the Internet?” Of course, the Internet is very helpful but if we don’t use our minds we lose more than just memory, we lose the ability to reason and think things through for ourselves. Perhaps that is what some elements of society would like to happen.

How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week: 50 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Memory Skills

There is much more I could write about how to remember things and maybe I will another day but in the meantime don’t forget what I have just written!

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