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Productivity / Professional development

Improve your memory

How often does your memory let you down? Are your powers of recall lacking? The good news is those whose memory lets them down can learn to remember using the right techniques.

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Whether it’s names, facts, figures or anything that’s been read or learned, the average person wastes time by putting effort into learning, only to forget it later.

It’s said that around 80% of what the average person learns gets forgotten within 24 hours of having learned it. That’s shocking! This figure varies from source to source, but it’s the principle that’s important.

Convert that 80% of lost learning into 80% of lost time, money and energy spent and you’ll realise you’re pouring precious resources down the drain!

Intuitively you probably relate to this. It’s likely you have spent money on a training course or read a book, only to find that you can only recall small parts of it.

Memory techniques

Fortunately there are plenty of powerful memory techniques you can apply to memorise anything short term. What we’ll look at here is how to shift information from your short term to your long term memory so that you lock it away forever.

Decide to remember

The first step to making this work is that you have to decide that you’re going to file it away forever. Most people don’t even take this important step. If you don’t decide to remember it, it’s just not going to happen.

"It's said that around 80% of what the average person learns gets forgotten within 24 hours of having learned it."

Review what’s worth remembering

Once you’ve made this firm decision to file it away, then you can review what you want to remember one hour, one day, one week, one month, three to six months, one year, and five years after having learned it. It really is as simple as that.

These intervals are not set in stone and will differ between people, but they’re a sensible guide. They came about from the experiments of a German psychologist called Herman Ebbinghaus. He plotted a graph, known as the “curve of forgetting”, showing how his retention dropped over time. My colleagues and I have used these review periods with great effect.

Want more articles like this? Check out the professional development section.

Find out the optimal times that you should review

Experiment to find out what works best for you. if you struggle when reviewing, it’s a sign that you’ve left it too long. Note this and shorten the interval. Once you’re ready to go with these reviews,

Schedule your reviews

Get them in your diary, or set an alarm to make sure they happen. Do this, and follow through with the review, and you’ll notice a huge difference in the amount of important information you can retain long term.

Of course, you only do this for anything important to you, which will improve the quality of your life or business. Do it from this moment onwards, for information you read that’s potentially useful, to names that you hear of future potential clients.

How do you review effectively?

There is a simple and highly effective approach to reviewing, but we’ll save that for another article. It’ll make the review process highly effective and enjoyable, too. In the meantime, start reviewing when going for a stroll, or when you’re in the shower.

Now, I’m hoping you’re ahead of me here. I’m hoping you’re realising how you can use this very information to improve the quality of your life. So I’m hoping you’re already reaching for your diary and scheduling your next review of this information – for tomorrow! Don’t let this one get away!

Don’t forget to add a comment to let me and fellow soloists know how you get on.

Mark Moore

is the Director of Excelerated Performance International. He helps people to close the skills and knowledge gaps that they face, much faster, and manage themselves more effectively in order to achieve their business goals.

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