Losing keys, forgetting plans, and doubting your own recall are just some of the regular annoyances we all experience when it comes to memory. That feeling of walking into a room and not knowing why we did is frustrating and dejecting. Moreover, as we get older these lapses inevitably become more common. However, a few simple techniques can help you have fewer daily moments of bad memory.
1. Keep Things Structured
If you’re naturally a bit disorganised than this may seem like quite a hurdle to get over, but it’s worth putting in the effort to introduce some structure to your daily life. When it comes to things like remembering appointments or doing choirs it’s difficult to retain it all when there’s so much. However, by plotting out your day in a calendar or planner it can help break down large clusters of information into smaller, more manageable segments. This will make it less likely that something will get ‘lost’ when things become busier than normal.
2. Consider the Order of Things
This is similar to using structure to assist memory. There is research to suggest that the order of things can affect how easily you remember them. In an everyday setting this could make you more likely to forget to do things in the middle of a day or task. To combat this, you could do one of two things: put emphasis on those things happening in the middle of the day or task, or, if possible, put more important or irregular things at the beginning or end. This way, even if you miss something when swamped it won’t be a disaster, or you’ll easily remember it because you do it so regularly.
3. Use Association to Expand Memory
So often we forget where we’ve put something, whether it be keys, the remote, or anything else. But by using association it can be easier to recall the locations of these items. For example, rather than just chucking your keys on the first table you see try to put them in the same place, perhaps in a pot in the kitchen. This way you’ll begin to associate the two things together. To make the connection even stronger put something distinctive nearby, like an old ornament, as this can even produce an emotional association each time you pick up the keys and see the object.
4. Use Visualisation to Make Memories More Vivid
Visualisation is a technique that has been shown to really help with retention of information. It can be beneficial in many areas. For example, if you have a full day planned visualising how you will go through that day will help you retain a clearer memory of you need to do. It can also help with finding items, much like association. When you put something away take a moment to take mental image of where it is, you can then recall this more easily than when trying to force yourself to remember its location. Alternatively, use visualisation to retrace your steps in your mind.
Although these techniques can’t help you remember everything, it may just help take some strain of your memory during everyday life. So why not give them a try?