Across all fields—and no matter what else is in your tool belt—memory is an incomparably valuable tool in your arsenal. And how to improve memory is a skill that will pay huge dividends. It keeps you on schedule, on track and on top of things. A sharp memory boosts efficiency and streamlines the processes that you navigate daily. Working to improve your memory is akin to organizing your workspace: essentially decluttering your mind and strengthening your ability to recall important names, dates and details that might otherwise slip between the cracks.
It’s no doubt that being able to remember things well is important, but this raises a new question: can memory be improved?
While some lucky people are born with incredibly sharp memories, others require a little effort. Yet, it’s entirely possible to boost your own recall ability. Improving memory is easier than it sounds, and there are a whole host of different strategies to explore in order to find what works best for you. There are quick tips and techniques and even various apps designed to help improve the memory.
Let’s lay out some pointers for how to improve memory so that you’re equipped with the skills you need to be a success in your workplace and day-to-day life.
10 Ways to Improve Memory
There are a number of ways to improve memory and recall. Here are ten simple memory improvement techniques that you can start incorporating into your life right now—no need to spend money on a monthly subscription or attend a seminar. These techniques to improve memory will fit seamlessly into your routine.
Start your morning strong with a brain game.
Luckily, this is no new concept! There are a myriad of daily puzzles available to you as you rise and shine. Take a crack at the daily crossword or Wordle over your morning cup of coffee. Something as quick and easy as a Sudoku puzzle helps to wake up your brain and get your memory running. They can boost your pattern recognition skills and your problem-solving—both essential in the workplace and both contributing to improving memory.
Improve your diet.
Your body is an important part of the equation for improving memory. Aiming for less caffeine, added sugar and more exercise supports your body and brain health. Exercise is incredibly healthy for the body and brain—getting blood flowing and heart pumping will lend itself to help your mind function at its best.
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Pick up a new skill in your downtime.
This could be taking a cooking class or learning a new language—practical and helpful when improving your memory. Any and all learning serves to improve neuroplasticity, which is to say: it gives your brain a workout.
Listen to music.
Believe it or not, music is a great tool in improving memory. It helps you form associations, pick up on lyrics and melody which engage multiple functions of the brain and can elevate your mood. Your motivation and focus are affected by the presence of music. Try having it on in the background while you work, or creating specialized playlists or mixes for certain tasks or environments.
Keep your physical environment organized.
Staying neat and organized can help condition your brain to mirror your environment. A clearer space reduces the load that your brain has to process at any given time. This allows you to better channel your focus and recall information with more clarity.
Foster a positive social circle.
Your relationships have a significant impact on your work life. Balance is key here. Humans are inherently social beings—making sure that you’re fostering healthy connections provides positive cognitive stimulation and creating lasting memories to improve your overall memory.
Learn new tricks.
Not everyone processes and retains information in the same manner. Figuring out what works best for you is a real lifesaver when it comes to working to improve your memory. Tricks like mnemonic devices (like using the phrase Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, for PEMDAS), visualization and chunking can optimize your processing. Applying these strategies will sharpen your intake and retrieval of information.
Use association to build on preexisting knowledge.
By nature, you already do this! Associative learning is the ability to connect new information to information you already knew. This strengthens the link between the fresh and old memory and sharpens your ability to recall both.
Find practical ways to test yourself throughout the day.
Whether this is taking a new route on your aforementioned daily run and trying to find your way back or recreating a recipe you’ve learned at a cooking class. Testing yourself strengthens your ability to recall information and reinforces what you’ve learned.
Make a conscious effort to get a good amount of sleep.
Rest is essential and the unsung hero of improving memory. Though it may seem unlikely that sleep plays such a strong role in sharpening your memory, making sure that you take the time to recharge and reset your brain is crucial. It ensures that you are at your best, down to the neuron connections that strengthen during sleep. Being well-rested means that you will be more attentive and receptive to new information.
Keeping up with it is key when it comes to how to improve working memory! Try starting your morning with a puzzle or a brain teaser. Work these techniques into your weekly routine—your Sunday trip to the grocery store or your morning run around the neighborhood. In no time at all your memory will start improving!
Apps to Improve Memory
In today’s world and the modern workplace, everything is quickly going digital—including strategies for improving your memory. Below are a handful of examples of apps created to help you sharpen your skills and stay on top of things.
Giving Your Memory Some Exercise:
The brain, like any other muscle, requires a workout to keep it sharp and in shape. If you played a team sport as a child, you would attend practices to stay fit and ready, and as a student you would study to prepare for an exam. Whether you were into athletics or academics, you understood that consistent exercise kept you confident and proficient. Improving your memory is no different, and there are an abundance of apps designed to do just that.
Some examples are brain games like Lumosity, Peak or Elevate which offer activities and puzzles specially programmed to boost your memory. There are also apps that teach new techniques that you can apply to the workplace such as Mnemonist or AnkiDroid. Regardless of what you prefer, establishing a consistent routine of using tools like these can yield long-term overall improvement of memory.
To Do Lists:
While some of these other examples have been a little bit more complicated than this next one, it’s no less valuable—a to-do list app. There are a great variety of apps designed to keep a log of your short-term and long-term tasks. Trying to keep track of your workload in your head can turn into a bit of a juggling act and the simple solution of having a place to write down important projects and deadlines and set custom reminders for each of them can be a lifesaver when it comes to improving your productivity and sharpening your memory.
Some examples of apps designed to assist you in remembering what to do and when are TickTick, Todoist, Microsoft To Do. There’s no shame in employing a helping hand when it comes to keeping all of the information you take in straight. Organizing your tasks well can serve to effectively reorganize the way your brain manages your to-dos and improve your memory and efficiency.
Memory is arguably one of the most important skills in the workplace. It makes you a much more efficient decision-maker, capable communicator and dependable performer.
Like learning or improving any skill, improving memory is a matter of consistency. Making a drastic lifestyle change seems daunting, so taking it step-by-step and technique-by-technique is the best strategy when it comes to how to improve memory.