Memory has very much in common with muscles.
The more you use it, the better it becomes. Like muscles, it also has a fatigue threshold. Again, just like muscles, memory can be sharpened for specific tasks.
The human brain, though, is still a mystery. Luckily, we know enough about memory to be able to help us improve it in small, significant, ways.
* It pays to pay attention: While all of us like to believe we pay attention when another person is speaking or communicating, in reality, many of us just do not. Try and pay attention consciously when someone speaks. Perhaps you’ll realize you haven’t been listening all that well. Similarly, when you are in a place, soak it in. Look around and see things that you would otherwise ignore. The success of Sherlock Holmes was based, in large part, on his ability to pay attention to the minutest details.
* Repetition is the way to success: Whatever you want to remember, repeat it over and over. This may seem like a foolish exercise, but it’s the simplest way to not forgetting. Repetition creates neural pathways; that means that it becomes easier for your brain and nervous system to recreate or to access those thoughts again. Repetition is a sure way to excel in any activity.
* More ways than just your brain: The human being remembers in many more ways than storage of information and patterns in the brain. We remember through feelings, taste, smell and touch as well. We could also remember through associations to an event. If you forget something you thought you knew, try and remember everything around it or associated with it.
* Make mnemonics: A mnemonic (pronounced ‘ni-mah-nik’) is a system such as a pattern of letters, ideas or associations which assists in remembering something; for example, an abbreviation, rhyme or acronym. VIBGYOR is a mnemonic created to remember the colours of a rainbow in the correct order (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red).
* Make storage habits: Always leave your keys, wallet, diary, phone charger, fountain pen and credit cards in the same place every day. If you’re a lazy person who puts away everything in the bag like junk, you have to change that. Chaos in the outside world often corresponds to chaos inside. Order in the outside world may help you remember a whole lot of things easily.
* Make sure you’re taking breaks: Often, people are so bogged down with work and chores that they don’t realize they’re constantly mentally fatigued. This happens when you overwork or stretch your work to all odd hours of the day. You work slowly because you’re tired and this is a vicious cycle. Keep your work and personal life separate and make sure you rest well and take appropriate breaks.
* Write stuff down: This is a no-brainer and technology now lets us do this everywhere. There’s no excuse for not putting down a list in a diary or on a smartphone.
Just the act of constantly having to remember things is an additional stress on the mind. The above habits, apart from helping you remember easily, can also free time for you to enjoy life more.