10 Ways to Improve Your Memory and Boost Your Business
Sometimes I wonder if all the little problems that seem to creep up on small business
owners and wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans can be attributed to malfunctions in our own personal abilities to remember things. Memory is a tricky subject because it’s difficult to lay a finger on precisely what causes lapses in memory. Without a doubt, however, improvements to human memory would have incredible effects on our efficiency, our abilities, and our productiveness.
I love The Reader’s Digest because it is always chock full of helpful tips and condensed information that is easy to absorb and simple to remember. One of the RD online authors, Patricia Curtis, recently made the process of remembering information even easier by offering a list of 20 memory tricks that are simple to remember. People complain a lot about a failing memory or the hazards that come from a memory on the blitz, but few people understand that a good memory isn’t just an inherent skill; instead, good memory is something that is learned and developed through intentional action.
If you’re struggling with memory, like I too often do, you might benefit from these ten incredible ways to improve memory and boost your business.
Identify the Underlying Problem
First, we need to discuss the root problem of a failing or struggling memory. There can be a variety of issues that cause poor memory. A diet that is low in nutrition can lead to memory lapses. Inactivity can also cause problems with information retention. Scientists have recently discovered, however, that one of the most profound contributors to memory issues is depression. The chemistry of the brain must be very precisely regulated by hormones and chemical-producing glands in order for it to operate at peak efficiency. There have been recent studies directly linking memory problems to depression. Treating the imbalances in the brain and eliminating depression symptoms may actually help to improve memory.
Think With Pictures
Another strategy that is often very effective involves using visualization and image-based thinking to remember important facts, details, and information. Our sense of sight is one of the most powerful senses in the body, and part of the reason why facts and data are so easily forgotten is that they are not rooted in a visual image. Instead of trying to remember a list of words on a grocery list, for example, you can try to picture every single item that you need to purchase. When going over your grocery list in your mind, visualize the product rather than the name of the product. You can use these same techniques when attempting to improve memory for your business. Picture the faces of your clients, the locations that you need to visit, and a pictorial representation of the tasks you need to complete.
Understand the Link Between Memory and Alcohol
There’s also an important link that needs to be understood between memory and alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the biggest causes of memory impairment. Even after the alcohol has been processed by your liver and removed from your body, residual barbiturates can have a negative impact on your ability to remember things. That said, there is some research that suggests a single alcoholic beverage may actually improve memory by eliminating distractions and allowing you to focus more fully on a single task.
Exercise and Improve Physical Health
Diet, nutrition, and physical activity are all very closely tied to the brain’s healthy function. If you are experiencing memory problems, you might consider incorporating a few minutes of physical exercise into your daily routine. Studies have shown that individuals who exercise for just twenty minutes in the morning remember tasks and information up to 50% better than those who live a sedentary lifestyle.
Memorize Data in Groups
One great strategy that can help you remember numerical data involves grouping, also known as “chunking.” Grouping strings of numbers into easily memorized chunks is the very same strategy that competitive mathematicians use to memorize thousands of digits of the numerical value, pi. If there is a telephone number that you just can’t seem to recall, divide the seven digits into groups of two and three. Create a mnemonic device that will help you remember these groups of numbers.
A lack of focus is one of the most powerful enemies of successful information retention. If you are having trouble remembering things, you might be experiencing a little “brain drift” throughout the day. When someone is communicating important information to you, practice focusing on the words they are saying. You may even try repeating the information internally to help you focus even more.
Play Some Mind and Memory Games
One of the best ways to improve memory is to play games that challenge the mind and keep it working. Word puzzles like word searches and crosswords are excellent strategies for improving memory. Numerical games like Sudoku can help improve the brain’s ability to retain long strings of numbers.
Lay Down the Electronics and Pick Up a Book
There are some studies that show an increasing reliance on electronic devices may be responsible for the increase in memory issues. Because electronic devices like smart phones, tablet computers, and desktops eliminate the need to think actively, the brain receives fewer challenges throughout the day. Replace an hour of Internet surfing with an hour of reading or game playing, and you’ll likely see dramatic memory improvements.
Another technique that many impressive memorizers use is spatial memorization. This is one of the reasons why teachers use assigned seating charts when getting to know new students. Seeing the same face in the same location every day helps a teacher learn the student’s name more quickly. You can remember a colleague’s name by focusing on the place where you met him. You can remember to pick up a package from the post office by thinking of the post office as a large cardboard box rather than a building. These spatial strategies have been proven to be very effective.
Exercise Your Brain Like a Muscle
While your brain is not considered a muscle in a technical sense, it does need regular “workouts” to continue functioning effectively. Every time you engage in a task that challenges your mind and makes you think, you improve the brains ability to retain information. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is very apt when discussing memory improvements.
These ten strategies will help you improve your ability to retain information, supercharge your memory, and give your business a much-needed boost.
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