Tips for memory improvement

Boosting your memory has many benefits: you improve your ability to respond to problems, are perceived as smarter by others, and get more done in less time. Not to mention never again being embarrassed by forgetting someone's name, or even your mothers birthday. When I teach someone how to improve their memory, I work on a dual method approach. First I give you a drill to boost your overall memory and recall, and secondly a new memory strategy that automates recall of important events.

The drill is to be done every day. It takes no more than a few minutes when you start, and less than a minute as you get better at it. It will directly improve your memory, even through you may not think it will. If you want to improve your recall, I know of no other exercise or method that will work as well as this. If you happen to know of another that does work as well, or better, please let me know!

The drill is simply this: Remember something you did yesterday. Now remember the thing you did immediately before that thing. Repeat this four or five more times, each time remembering the thing immediately before. Once you've done that for yesterday, do the same process for the day before yesterday, then three days before, then four. Do this at least once a day, more if you are so inclined, and you'll directly boost your memory.

Next is a strategy designed to improve memory of random events. Things like picking up milk on the way home and calling someone at a specific time. It can even be used to improve recall of someone's name, but I know of a few better ones.

The strategy requires you to imagine the future event where you need to recall something in as much detail as possible. But not the event where you remember what you need to, but the events immediately before.

So, if I'm going to pick up some milk after getting off the train on the way home, I imagine my trip home at the specific part where I need to change my direction to get the milk. I then imagine myself turning right, instead of left, and going to get milk. That's all there is to it. You've now created a hook to hang the memory on. This hook will wait for you in the future, and remind you at the right time.

There is a limitation with this method though. If I don't reach that imagined event, say I catch a cab home instead of the train, then I won't run into the hook, and this method won't help me remember to get milk (though I might remember using a different strategy).

When you start using this method, it might take you 20 seconds or more to set up. With practice you can do it in under a second.


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