Do you ever return from the shops and realize you forgot to buy one of the main items you were going for?
Or do you forget a loved one’s birthday, anniversary, or any other special date?
It can be very embarrassing. It can also give people the impression you don’t care as much as you do, or you’re not listening to them.
Well, our memories become a little less robust as we age. The majority of people don’t do anything to slow down this regression however.
There are things you can do however, and the sooner and more of them you do, the better the long-term effects will be.
So if you want to improve your memory and concentration, here are some tips that will help.
10 Tips to Improve Your Memory and Concentration:
Practice Paying Attention
You need to be paying attention and give a task your complete focus if you’re going to take information in and remember it. If you’re the kind of person that suddenly realizes their mind is wandering off, try harder.
Make sure you’re not overly tired. Eat well and avoid bad habits that suck on your concentration like smoking and drinking in excess. If you’re reading, switch off the TV and other distractions.
Use as Many Senses as Possible
Just listening isn’t enough. Think about when you were learning at school, ever do interacting learning? Being shown something visually, touching and working on something yourself, it all helps you remember better.
Making notes is a basic technique to help you remember something. Read your notes back to yourself after too. This is a sure way to help you concentrate and remember something better.
Everyone uses their senses differently and in different capacities. Finding out what your personality type is on the Myers-Briggs type indicator scale may help you understand how you best react to using your senses.
Apply New Learnings to Existing Knowledge
It can feel overwhelming taking in lots of new information. Try and contextualize the information, relating it to something you already know well. For example, if a salesman is bombarding you with information about a new car, think about what specs are similar or upgrades on your car.
A lot of information is just a new way of thinking about something, or a new take on an old angle. It’s not hard to compare it to something you already know if you try.
Put Information into a Structure in Your Mind
This is a technique of arranging data into a structure that’s easy to follow in your mind. There are various mind improving techniques that work on variations of this. If you have a list of ingredients to remember for example, arrange them into sub headings, then into order of use.
If you’re remembering numbers arrange longer numbers into smaller blocks. You may have noticed telephone numbers are often arranged like this. Smaller chunks are easier to remember, and your mind forms a rhythm around them.
A mnemonic is a technique that helps someone retain information. Such as using lengths of knuckles to remember the months of year, and how many days they have. If you’re not familiar with this well-known technique, it’s explained here.
See how you can tie information into visual imagery, acronyms, rhymes, or sentences. Once you have memorized a mnemonic, it’s likely to stay with you for life.
Make Sure You Understand the Information
If you do not understand the information as you’re receiving it, you’re not going to remember it. Or at least you will not remember it correctly. Ask questions, break it down, do whatever you have to. But you need a good understanding of what you’re remembering.
It’s the same principle as studying. The more you break down the information and get a better understanding
Another solid studying technique. After the first time you have absorbed some information, recite or rehearse the information again later. Everyone needs to go over information a different amount, so don’t worry if you think you’re still not getting it after a few days.
The more you study, the more you’ll remember what you’re trying to. Don’t overdo it, and don’t study when you’re tired or distracted.
Stimulate Your Mind
Meditation and mindfulness techniques are great for improving your brain power. You develop new connections in the brain when studying new and exciting things. It also has the benefit of building your resistance to brain disorders.
So pick up a new hobby. Do something mentally stimulating that you’ll enjoy and want to do. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, read a complex book, or study towards an academic qualification. Go ahead.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
There is nothing better to improve at just about every aspect of your life than living a healthy lifestyle. This means eating healthy, exercising regularly, and cutting out any bad habits. Many of us get into a rut of bad habits that we think aren’t affecting us, but they are.
Exercise releases endorphin’s and other feel-good chemicals. You stimulate your metabolism to kick start, produce other hormones, and much more. You will be more alert, your memory will improve, and you will be able to concentrate better.
Don’t Compromise on Sleep
Sleep plays an incredibly important part in functioning at your best. If you are having problems sleeping, check out how you can improve your sleeping habits. A full 6-8 hours’ sleep per night should be part of your healthy living lifestyle.
Being tired has a massive impact on your ability to concentrate, focus, and retain information. It’s a well known fact that good sleep is a habit shared by successful people. When you are well rested and think better, you can achieve more.
While some of these points may seem obvious, how many reading this are guilty of many of the above?
If you’re struggling to remember things or concentrate, take into account some of the above points and change your habits.
Being able to remember important dates, appointments, people’s names, and anything else is incredibly useful. Put in the time and effort to make sure you’re at your sharpest.
If you have any more tips to improve your memory and concentration, drop them in a comment below. Thanks.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.
6 thoughts on “10 Tips to Improve Your Memory and Concentration”
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Good advice, but I think learning technique is important.
I’ve tried all sorts of memory techniques and the best I’ve found is the active recall and distributed practice method. A fantastic resource for this is http://mem-note.com – it’s the only way I can make complex information stick in my head.
Thanks for that Tom. Looks like an interesting resource.
These are excellent tips for improving concentration and remembering things. I especially take-away the ‘no compromise on sleep’ point.
A good sleep ensures a calmer mind which is better positioned to listen, absorb and internalize what’s being said or seen. I have experienced this myself many times.
Thanks for these insights !
The physical and mental benefits to a good night sleep are endless. Thanks for stopping by.
Some great advice there Phil. I love to meditate. I have a great memory except for names. Any names, cities, movies, songs. But I can remember your details near word for word. Okay that maybe a bit of exaggeration but I remember details.
I am a firm believer, that if you want to remember something important you have to revise it several times. Thanks for the post