Here's a little secret that you might want to know before you begin reading this article – regardless of your age and health, you can train your brain to remember or recall even the most faded memories.
The challenge is that about 98 percent of the world's population don't have the knowledge of how to best utilise the power of the mind. While there are many who are naturally blessed with incredible mnemonic feats, others have to make special efforts to train their minds to remember things and learn better.
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If you are one of those who often struggle to remember things, even as trivial as paying bills, responding to mails and even deadlines of important tasks, perhaps it is a sign that your mind needs a little regular maintenance. With the following brain hacks you can prepare your brain to tackle any challenge, absorb new information, store better and recall anything at the right time:
Use reminder cues
There are many ways to remind ourselves about important tasks, meetings, occasions and other commitments. From apps to calendar alerts and even personal assistance, one can always rely on these tools to get notifications at the right time. But do you realise that these ‘no-sweat’ strategies are only adding to your woes of forgetting? If you don't exercise your brain and make efforts to remember things, soon your brain will be left with little ability to memorise. So what’s the fix?
New research suggests that linking important tasks, as well as not-so important ones, to distinctive cues, such as tying a knot on a pen to make an appointment, leaving a book upside down on your study table to return a call next day or putting a paper clip at a place where you’ll encounter the cue at the right time to pick up a gift for your significant other, are just a few ways that may help you remember to follow through. Be wary of your daily habits and behaviour patterns when leaving the cues around. - choose the place where you know you will see them.
Read out aloud to yourself
Want to remember the date of the investor’s meeting due next month? Planning to hold a meeting with your stakeholders? Just so you don’t forget these important things or dates, it is advised to read them aloud to feed the information in your brain. You know how this simple strategy helped you cram mathematical formulae into your head back in your school days? The same principle, when applied to everyday life, can help your brain pick up on the things that you may be missing out on. This also helps strengthen your memory. According to research, the production effect – producing a word aloud during study – as opposed to silent reading, improves explicit memory. The production effect represents a simple but quite powerful mechanism for improving memory for selected information, primarily the ones that an individual wants to recall at a specific event, the study suggests.
Try reading, listening to a podcast, watching YouTube videos, saying material out loud and writing about it by hand.
Use memory techniques
Quiz yourself, or simply try to solve acronyms and acrostics when not doing anything. Quizzing yourself on the material you’re studying is one of the oldest and most common tricks to help with memorisation and improve recall speed. The idea is to pressurise your brain to come up with solutions within the stipulated time. For example, take out a list of acronyms from the books of your choice and try to solve them without looking at the answers. If you aren’t aware of the answers already, take a quick look at the complete list with their phrases and then recall each of them. Keep a score board to track your progress. This will motivate you to score better the next time.
You can also try brain games available on Android and iPhone devices to stimulate the brain activity and enhance memory. Some popular memory games include 4 Pics 1 Word, Apensar and Snap Attack.
What tricks do you use to remember tasks? If you know more hacks to sharpen the brain, feel free to share with us.